& How I Met Your Mother

My first serious relationship went on and off for a few years shy of a decade. We were the definition of “It’s complicated” before it was a relationship title. But we also came from the generation where at one point text messaging was costly and calls had to happen after seven. Technology wise it was not so complicated, we’d talk and we’d talk until there was nothing to talk about.

Junior high me fell in love with a guy she had never seen but when he approached me in the cafeteria and asked me out he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Even so he wouldn’t be able to hear me over the “say yes,” chant from my peers. It was like a movie.

Even though over the years this relationship became a prime example of Murphy’s Law, he set the bar as far as romance.

After being single for a while, here and there I’ll dip my toe in dating pool and lately it’s made me question what happened to dating while I was away planning my happily ever after with Prince Toad? And what’s up with hookup culture?

It seems that hook up culture took over. We don’t “go out,” we “chill” and as far as I’m concerned unless the word “date,” is mentioned it can’t be labeled as such. Friends with Benefits is now more than a movie and it seems just as realistic as the movie’s ending.

Recently, I questioned what happens at the end of friends with benefits in real life? Do you remain friends? Who decides when the benefits expire? Who’s benefiting? How does any of this work?

The only way such an arrangement can truly comfortably work is if you’re detached emotionally but how can you be someone’s friend be detached at the same time? It’s a balancing act. It sounds like two consenting adults setting themselves up for confusion and slight failure. Some might say “Sometimes that turns into a relationship or its just a free trial.” You know what’s a trial where I come from? Dating!

27 year old me thinks friends with benefits doesn’t end like the movie or the romance novels and settling for such is selling yourself short unless you can be emotionally mature enough to know said arrangement has an expiration date.

Settling for such has made the dating pool a bit shallower. People have too many options and refuse to settle in fear of missing out on someone better. I think we also have technology to thank for swimmer’s laziness. Why put any effort into courtship when you can swipe left or right and filter out all the characteristics as if it was build a boy or girl workshop?

What happened to romance? Not second date “I’m planning our life and kids,” romance but show up and surprise you for Christmas romance. (Both have happened to me and both have received opposite reactions. Never propose kids on a second date. You won’t get a third.)

I was laughing with a friend once and I told them you shouldn’t be able to find a mate the same way you can shop for your next pair of shoes. It’s not organic enough for me. I can only imagine the stories the next generation will get when they ask, “How did you meet my mom?”

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