By Howard Rudnick
Dating is awful.
There, I said it. You probably agree and now we can finally make peace with the fact that dating is the least fun thing to do.
Unfortunately, dating is how we determine whether we want to spend the rest of our lives with someone (in a progressive modern culture). At this point, I’d gladly be set up for an arranged marriage if it meant no more awkward conversations and experiences my friends and I laugh about immediately afterwards.
On the flip side, our innermost struggle comes from needing another human being to love us.
To say the least, I’ve realized that both in my bachelorhood and that of my male friends, after a long-term relationship we’re usually not as quick to rush into new relationships.
To be clear, casual sex or hookups are different than an emotional, committed relationship.
In my own personal experiences, leaving one relationship was overwhelming and I did not want to put all my focus and attention into another relationship again.
I wanted to experience being single, going out with my friends, participating in miserable social experiences like picking up someone at the bar, or swiping for the sake of swiping.
Men are not jumping into relationships quickly after previous ones because we enjoy the chase. That fresh feeling of the unknown. We also don’t want to feel completely vulnerable, let our guards down, or be the one to catch feelings first.
I once saw a quote on Instagram that stuck with me, essentially saying, “Those who jump from relationship to relationship have a problem being alone. Those who choose to be alone are the ones that are secure.” I think about this quote each and every day.
Being content with what I have and the relationships I’m already engaging in, whether it be professional, familial or peer, I’m not void of happiness or the need to be completed emotionally and romantically by someone else.
While I’m sure that there are many guys who truly suffer from Peter Pan syndrome, act like total scum, and give the gender a bad rap, truly, we’re not all the worst. There are many men out there who are kind, sweet and genuinely want to connect. But, on our own terms.
We don’t like ultimatums, feeling pressured to define the relationship, or have forced, unnatural conversations that we both know aren’t enjoyable.
The idea of being in a relationship isn’t scary to us and we’re not afraid of commitment. However, we’re hesitant about entering something new with the wrong person.
Why start another relationship when in the back of our minds failure is looming? At times the glass is half empty and this is a way for us to protect ourselves.
Given the notion that it is okay for men to be “emotional” or “vulnerable,” we prefer not to be. It’s unfortunately part of our code and it takes a special person to change that.
I also believe that guys aren’t jumping headfirst into new relationships because we’re trying to shake off the baggage and connection we have with our exes.
The saying, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone new,” is not always accurate. Aside from the very real possibility of calling out someone else’s name in the bedroom, we’re not fully invested.
The loss of a relationship, especially a long-term one, is like losing a loved one. It’s a mourning process, and only you can decide when to rise out of the ashes of it.
Once we’ve reconciled our feelings from the previous relationship and filed them away internally, we’re back on the path to be with someone new.
My advice to those reading this and think they’ve not had great luck with the male species, it’s us, not you (for the most part).
We’re complex creatures with simple needs. Show us patience, allow us to let you in on our terms and keep an open mind.
Finding the right relationship is tricky and requires a lot of trial and error, but in the end it may all be worth it. Don’t give up on love if you’re falling for someone who isn’t quite ready. Your Prince Charming is out there!
Howard Rudnick is a former contributing author to Unwritten and podcast host of Rudnick Rants. Visit his author profile on Unwritten for more.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.