Is “date” just another four letter word?

Recently it occurred to me that maybe dating isn’t always supposed to evolve into a capital R Relationship. At least not at every single* point in one’s life. For example, I’m in my mid 50s. In about five years I’ll be eligible to retire and my house will belong to me free and clear. It feels like my life is practically my own. Why would I be in any rush to take on another full time or long term commitment?

It’s not like I have a biological urge to pair up with someone and procreate while I still can. That ship has definitely sailed, friends. Honestly, beyond plants and pets, I’m not looking to be responsible for another living thing. That chapter, like the one written during my 15+ year marriage, is over.

As a woman confronted every day in the mirror by her years of life, I work hard to both stay in good physical shape and accept that my body is growing older. I refuse to feel pressured to obtain a partner before further deterioration of my physical self can occur. It’s not supposed to be about getting paired up and locking someone down before one’s boobs head further south. Grace, I think, is really more the ultimate goal for aging – solo or otherwise.

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid ever being on a dating site, you may not know that a common question confronted when composing one’s online profile is “what are you looking for?” Of the responses offered, I’ve consistently selected “I’m not sure,” even though I did so with some hesitation. Would my lack of a definitive response be perceived as flaky or insincere? How will the site’s algorithm be impacted by my noncommittal answer?  Will the apparently already narrow field of potential candidates for a guest starring role in my midlife existence be winnowed down even further?

After significant thought, I’ve concluded that “I’m not sure” is the most precise and accurate  answer to the question. I simply can not possibly offer a more certain response without actually becoming acquainted with interesting, fun and articulate people. And – how do I meet those people? Obviously by dating.

As someone who has pretty reliably found themself in a relationship without actually really considering what that means, I’m staking a claim to my own life. I’m not interested in being someone’s girlfriend or steady date. Unless I meet someone who satisfies an impressive number of my expectations, my plan is to ignore the common assumption that dating is the precursor to ultimately being paired up in a more permanent manner.

Because, maybe dating isn’t just a means to an end. Perhaps, instead,  dating is exactly the type of relationship I want.

*see what I did there?

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