Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dating Strangers

There were a lot of memorable events during this past almost 4 day backpacking trip. It was the first of many I hope to come. I never thought I would consider myself the type. Camping is only a once in awhile thing for me. But many things made this experience unique. First, I had awesome gear some good friends lent me. Second, I slept in a tent by myself for the first time. I wish someone had vehemently told me about this option earlier. Dating of course it would seem rude to request your own tent. But after this experience, I will only acquiesce if I am engaged, and he doesn’t snore. Lastly, I had some experienced and heavy duty backpackers as companions.

The beauty, ruggedness and sanctuary feel to the experience was amazing. We camped out by a beautiful lake, and we were the only campers around! Sculpted walls and mountains surrounded the tranquil lakes. Pushing my limits physically and psychologically were both exhilarating and humbling. Tackling this adventure took a huge leap of faith for me, and I am glad I did it.

Along with the physical and psychological newness of the adventure came thoughts of an old adventure I have always hoped I would one day tackle..marriage. It takes many of the ingredients enlisted on this trip, with one huge extra ingredient, love. As I pondered how I might get to the goal, I recognized that the adventures I had overwhelmingly embarked on were in fact dating strangers.

The romance, the intrigue, the mystery of meeting someone new and enveloping on a whirlwind romantic adventure is exciting. Hollywood, friends and sometimes even family egg us on to the ritual of dating a stranger. Meeting through a social or church group, meeting at the grocery store, a baseball game, a dance, online or whereever can all be great beginnings to relationships if developed over time. However, it usually starts immediately with sparks and some type of marched on courtship. From a woman’s point of view, the wining and dining, the chocolates and flowers, the beach walking hand in hand, the flattering language and gifts are not only very desirable but to some degree necessary.

What comes later is not only human but a necessary ingredient for love--reality. As humans we all gifted with traits so amazing--anyone would be lucky to have us. We also possess traits that some would find challenging and others could not live with. Some of these traits can not only be handled but cherished with love. The fullness of both sides of the equation comes with time and friendship. The antithesis of romance with a stranger.

And for me specifically, it usually comes at a high price. It seems like I have dated half of the bay area strangers by now. What rarely comes for me in these short romances is love and real love from the temporary boyfriend I have, despite what he proclaims. What he is feeling is some degree of extreme attraction and liking certain superficial character traits I seem to possess. He doesn’t know me any better than I know him. We are barely scratching the surface and so how can any feeling be deep or long lasting much less truly grow into love.

So what’s the solution? Beats me..its why I am still single I guess. One thing I do know is that the initial attraction that is delayed, interrupted and developed through friendship does lead to love for me. It has only happened on rare occasions, and it is both a treat and a great risk. The treat is that the hope for love is enhanced and the risk is that you may lose the friendship, and suffer a truly broken heart. At this point in my life, I’d rather have a broken heart than date another stranger.


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