I have been reading some fairly well known ''dating'' blogs lately, including
http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/ and http://www.evanmarckatz.com/blog/. Both of these are pretty much vehicles for the writers to sell their books and coaching, but both also have quite interesting blogs and forums.
The thing that completely astounds me is how many people are out there feeling ripped off by their past dating and relationship experiences. I accept that these kind of forums are where people gather, and so of course this is the main focus of the conversation. I accept that they will also then include a fair number of bitter and twisted stories - and plenty of generalisations. But even taking that into account there are some recurrent themes that seem to be emerging.
- those re-entering the dating world after a long relationship/marriage discover that things have changed dramatically in the ensuring years. heck, the word dating didn't even exist outside of Sweet Valley High books when I was young!
- the older we get the more baggage we have, and the more desperate we are to get it packed up and stowed (not always successfully)
- internet dating and it's candy-shop mentality has not helped make meeting people easier, its lulled too many people into thinking there's a world of choice and opportunity, if only they keep at it
- too many people will put up with too much rubbish in the name of wanting to be ''happy''. both men and women are guilty of this
- it's actually not that cool to admit right off the bat that you're looking for a real relationship - the implication is that you are needy/desperate/lonely. I say, since when? I thought human beings needed each other?
- by ignoring the reality that by midlife (in particular) most of us HAVE made some spectacular relationship mistakes, its all too easy to have completely unrealistic expectations of the next person
But by far and away the loudest message I hear as i read through the forums, is this:
As long as women (and men) are prepared to put up with poor behaviour, disrespect, unkindness, or a lack of integrity, nothing will change.
I believe all of us are worthy of a good, strong, healthy relationship. And too many are continuing to accept less that that.
So the lesson in all of this for me, is to decide what I will, and won't accept - and stick to it.