Ignore Distractions Outside Your Pool
A while back a friend and I were discussing the over-30 dating scene. She took issue with what seemed to be a faction of men in our age group, race, and educational background--our supposed dating pool--who didn't want a long-term committed relationship, especially marriage.
While I empathize with her experience, I don't share her frustration.
Understand, I'm not immune to the occasional dating irritation. As much as I believe in creating my own peace and happiness, some situations can test my zenful resolve, but someone having no interest in me ain't one of them.
He's Just Not That Into You
Over a decade ago, Author Greg Behrendt did the world a favor when he wrote the book titled with the phrase that everyone's friend would think, but would never say to their long-suffering lovesick pal: He's Just Not That Into You.
The book summarily reality-checked all delusions that someday a hoped-for romantic situation would emerge from passive interest. His book targeted women, but the message was universal across gender.
Just as it's okay for you to not be into someone, it's perfectly fine that someone not be into you. That might suck, but it's freedom-of-choice that we all enjoy, especially when we're the ones not interested.
Our Dating Pool
Our dating pool is smaller than we think.
For starters, a Dating Pool is generally defined as a group of people who are potential mates.
My definition is more precise. A Dating Pool is group of people to whom you share a MUTUAL attraction who are potential mates.
When we think about dating pools in terms of the first definition, the thought typically goes one way. It may be something like this: My dating pool is made up of men between the ages of 30 - 50, college-educated, Christian, 0-1 children, and career-focused.
Here's the critical missing piece from the initial thought: My dating pool is made up of men between the ages of 30 - 50, college-educated, Christian, 0-1 children, and career-focused who'd be interested in a woman like me (be that what it is).
Dating and attraction is a two-way street, as the second definition captures. It's not just you doing the picking. It's another human-being evaluating you, as well. And the reality is, some of us will be counted out before dating ever commences. Perhaps the object of our desire isn't interested in dating people with our level of education, our race, our height, our weight, our age, the list goes on. Or, perhaps there are just personal reasons. Reasons not meant for us to understand and have nothing to do with us.
It really doesn't matter why we're counted out. Here's the only thing that matters: knowing (having knowledge, understanding, and insight) that the individual who we want is not (and was never) in our dating pool.
But not accepting our true dating pool is where so many of us get hung up.
Truth Is Freedom
A while back I got sucked into watching a show on MTV. I don't remember the name of the program, but the premise of the show was that a celebrity would target a fan or a non-fan (see: hater) to surprise them with a face-to-face visit.
On this episode, Kim Kardashian surprised a very vocal opponent who held contempt for Kim Kardashian "stealing" black men. She strongly disliked the idea of Kim K. pulling black men out of black women's dating pool--her dating pool. As she explained to Kim (to her face) why she disliked her, it became clear that the issue was very personal for her and stemmed from past rejections.
What was also clear to me was the delusion she held onto that any of Kim Kardashian's ex's were in her dating pool to begin with or that she'd even want them there, to be clear-minded and selective.
She was spending a great deal of time and energy on people who didn't even have her on their radars--people outside of her dating pool.
There's a lot of freedom in accepting certain truths, especially when the truth seems to only exist to destroy your ego. And sometimes the truth is: just because you want someone to be in your dating pool does not mean that they are.
Once we fully welcome this, we're free to focus our attention on those who are in our pool.
Distractions Outside Our Pools
The act of lamenting about someone who isn't into us contradicts the thing we say we want: someone who wants us. If that's our goal--to be with someone who is mutually interested in us--then focusing on people who don't want us is counterproductive. Not to mention unattractive.
I see this theme repeated over and over. Just a few weeks ago my gorgeous cousin who's in her 50s talked about how men in her age group only wanted younger women. I've also seen plenty of nice guys confused over women who didn't like nice guys.
For the record, I wholeheartedly believe that there are men who'd love to date my cousin and women who'd love to be with nice, single guys. It's just that a connection hasn't happened yet.
Truthfully, our dating pools are unknown. What I mean is, we're pretty sure we know who we want in there, but we have no idea who in that group wants to be in there with us (and who in that group are who we think they are). It's only confirmed when they stay to engage with us or we see them step out, as if to say, "Sorry, I'm in the wrong pool. Peace!"
I'll say it again because it bears repeating. Just as you are free to choose, so are others. Respect their choices, just as you'd have your choices respected.
If they step out then I can assure you that their having been there in the first place was an illusion, perhaps something you hoped for. And who can blame anyone for hoping? But watching someone remove themselves from your romantic gaze is not a cue for frustration and bitterness. It's more like a realization. If there are men or women in your dating pool who don't want what you want, then they are not a part of your dating pool.
Perhaps we haven't found that special one yet, but don't get distracted by the things happening outside your pool. In other words, move towards who you want and who wants you back.
My Dear Friend
Going back to my friend mentioned in the beginning. In light of her wanting commitment, the group of men she'd described as not sharing her values seemed to be a group of men who were not relevant to her. As far as I'm concerned, she could've been talking about aliens from Jupiter. And guess what? They aren't in her dating pool either.
Photo credit: Jon Bunting via CC Flickr