A Desperado asks:

How does American culture encourage desperately dating and how do we resist?

American culture definitely pushes coupledom. Just look at movies, tv shows, social media – being part of a couple is definitely the goal we are told we should all want. Consequently, we feel inferior when we don’t have it. And that’s a very uncomfortable feeling! So we start desperately dating to find ourselves a partner and get right with what society wants for us so we don’t keep feeling shitty about ourselves.

We also want what we want and we want it now. Instant gratification. Whatever happened to good things come to those who wait? Yeah, that’s way out of date. No surprise people tend to approach love and dating the same way. With impatience. Which can lead to imprudence (fancy word for bad decisions, I just like the alliteration).

Americans also tend to be scrappy, goal-oriented individuals. “Hard work pays off”, “good things come to those who hustle”, “if you really want it, go out and get it” – sound familiar? This kind of programming tells us that we can find a partner if we just work hard enough. Sadly, love is a bit more elusive. It’s like when you plant seeds; you can’t make the flower bloom faster just because you want it too. You have to tend the soil, provide water and hope for enough sun but not too much, and then…wait. Similarly, you’ve got to do your part to set yourself up for dating success by getting healthy in yourself and making yourself available to meet people, but then be ok with loosening your grip and letting things happen (or not).

A highly goal-oriented approach to dating just doesn’t work. This is also known as desperately dating. For a deep, soul satisfying relationship you gotta go deep inside yourself to really identify who you are, fix your own broken parts and then turn clear eyes toward figuring out what YOU want in a partner and relationship. Once you have that figured out, you need to take the time to find it. It’s a process that can’t be rushed. Be prepared however, that when you really get honest with yourself you may discover that your desired future does not look like the traditional image of a partnership. Or even like anyone else’s. And that is ok! If you are happier on your own or with temporary company now and then or married but living in 2 houses or whatever other approach to living your life, you get to decide what is right for you. People may judge, but fuck them. They don’t have to live in your shoes every day.  If you do decide you want to couple up (or triple up or whatever, trying to be the most inclusive here), then my best piece of advice for you is to hold out for great. Remember that being alone will never cause as much loneliness as being in the wrong relationship. So be patient and choose what makes sense for YOU.