As I sit on my bed in the most un-ergonomically friendly way, sipping on Coles brand sparkling water uncouthly from the bottle, and having eaten peanut butter from the jar with a spoon for dinner… I contemplate whether I am an accomplished adult. Yes readers, this is my current conundrum and maybe even my theme for the year: Am I yet an adult?

There are a number of expectations society places upon us, or should I say that society deems we have made it successfully to adulthood if we can tick off the following things:

  • Coupled
  • Own a house
  • Own a car
  • Have children
  • Amazing career
  • Can successfully organise life in a way that can only be described as performing on all 10 stages at Glastonbury at the same time (oh hang on, that’s just adult women that need to do that)

These expectations weigh heavily on your mind, even your friends keep hassling you about ‘getting out there’ and you do… because after all to be a successful human, one must be cohabited ASAP. Next thing you are swiping pictures left and right on your phone in the quest to be re-coupled… then you are heading to dates and expecting fireworks on the first meeting, followed by a crescendo to the wedding. The expectations are not helpful.

So after 5 years I quit.

Why? Personally, I am not good with this method of dating. I have never been good at dating. If dating was a subject at school I would have ended with a great big red ‘U’ at the top of my paper, and my assignments would have ‘must conduct better research and not react with your metaphorical penis’ scribbled at the top. Half the time I am not chasing the person, I am chasing a dream… Due to the fact I get attracted to another human being about once every 2 years 3 months and 7 days, I then cling to what our life might look like together based on 3 facts I actually know about that person… because… expectations.

Not only does society place ridiculous expectations on what ‘success’ looks like, but then we plonk those expectations on the people we date. I believe William Shakespeare said:

‘Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises’

(Frequently misquoted as ‘Expectation is the root of all heartache’). People, Mr Shakespeare said this in 1603 (416 years ago to be precise) and we still don’t get it.

So it is official, dating and I are on a break. It doesn’t mean that I am accepting my fate of the crazy cat lady, quite the contrary. I believe in romance, always have done and always will do. I believe in this silly thing called love, I don’t believe in a societal construct that tells me I have to be coupled. I believe I will find love, but I will find love without those expectations. Because if I go searching for it, then I will settle for something that feels like it or I’ll keep searching because there might be something better… if I am searching on dating apps I am accepting that society wants me coupled no matter how.

I’ve decided to work on the other areas, because I would like some concrete bricks to call my own and make a home. I am working somewhere I am respected and where I am building up my skills again. I am hanging out with my friends children, while contemplating if I will ever have my own. Those areas I have much more control over currently.  When I take stock, I realise I am an adult, but not because I am working towards those things. Those things are material and a privilege.

I am an adult because I am kind, I am happy, I am honest and I am empathetic. That is a far more important definition than my relationship status, my bank account or whether I rent or own a house. I am surrounded by equally kind, honest and empathetic humans and they reflect the world I want to see. But they’re also pretty funny humans, because I like to laugh a lot too. So these connections I have are the partnerships I need at the moment, and my earth shattering romantic connection is coming. But there is no urgency and I won’t settle (I will have hours of fun and I will meet lots of nice people, but I’m not going to explore things that aren’t for me). Instead I am relationship ready and waiting to share some adventures, I might dabble in dating again but there is no hurry. Good job I’m not really in a rush, because I’ve been saying that for 5 years… but I think that kinda proves my point.

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