During a spare moment in chem class, I did a few simple equations and discovered that I spent roughly two-thirds of the '00s in relationships. The percentage surprised me a bit, and I started wondering whether a higher single-to-coupled ratio would be healthier.
Like other people I've known over the years, including some of the women I've dated, I prefer not to be single. But maybe deciding to be single for a while would be a good thing. I know someone who strung together five two-year relationships (= 10 years of being somebody's girlfriend) from the middle of high school until well after college, starting a new one whenever an old one ended, like a chain smoker. Finally, after boyfriend #5 fizzled out, she went on a relationship "fast," and the experience was positive. She realized she could survive on her own.
The yearning to find a partner is, of course, a natural one, especially for someone who's almost 31. But the "why" of that yearning -- to escape loneliness, to feel desired and therefore desirable, to bolster flagging self-esteem -- is where the problem often lies. My determination to get regular exercise and lose weight is partly about wanting to feel comfortable in my own body, and thus confident enough to enter a relationship for the right reasons -- or at least fewer wrong ones. It might also make dating a little less nervewracking.