Dating from Scratch

Katie Holmes Dawson's Creek

All the serious relationships that I have been in were with people that I knew for a long time before we actually started to date. My first serious boyfriend was a guy that I went to school with for five years.  I don’t know what changed, but when we switched from close friends to dating, it was amazing. We were already comfortable with each other. We didn’t have to change much about our thoughts or our lives to become more intimate. We just spent more time alone together, enjoying conversation or silence and easy intimacy just thrust itself upon us. The lessening physical and emotional distance between us came naturally.

This is how my serious relationships have gone, the love of friendship somehow shifting into romantic love. Recently, I took a class on close relationships and learned that science supports my belief that this sort of romance is ideal. We learned that there are many love attitudes and I scored highest for the one called Storge (they all have weird latin names) which means, “prefers friendships that gradually grow into lasting commitments” (Miller, 2012, pg. 262). This made total sense to me.

However, I feel the confirmation of this label also doomed me. I am about to graduate and everything is changing from my social group to the city I live in. It has been a really long time since I have been in a stable relationship, that fact paired with my fear that my social group might start to diminish as more people get jobs farther away has lead me to a sort of dating spree. From guys I have met in bars to set ups made by friends and even as far as the occasional online dating meet up, my love life seems to be in full swing. Except it isn’t, because I just can’t date from scratch.

I cannot say why for sure, but the actual act of “dating”, or perhaps “courting” is a more fitting word, is simply impossible for me. To be fair, I love dating. I love job interviews too, both combining a rush of adrenaline with getting to talk about myself without being accused of narcissism (whether that be a fitting accusation or not). I go on tons of first dates, plenty of second ones; I often don’t lose interest until past the third. Still, I can’t get too far in before I inevitably give up because I can’t see any real intimacy developing.

The problem with dating from scratch is that the word “dating”, going on “dates”, seems to imply that something deeper than friendships needs to be in the works. Because of this, it is like the friendship part gets skipped over, and that form of intimacy gets lost somewhere along the way.

So, as much as I might want to be at that serious emotional relationship level with someone, I need to realize that while skipping long unrequited friendship might work for some people, it isn’t for me. Not only must I work on my friendships so that maybe one day I will find that relationship I want, I have to do so while banishing that desire for the change altogether, appreciating my friends just as friends instead of anticipating what could be in the future.  Time to go update my okcupid; “Looking for friendship”.  Better yet, it’s probably time to delete it altogether.


Contributor: Erin Bouwma
Erin Bouwma: Loves friends, family, reading, karaoke, bad television, peanut m&m’s, and writing. More or less in that order. Never be embarrassed of your Tinder, we all have one.