Swing in and save me

Trial and Error

Morgan Robertson mug

When it comes to dating, I have no idea what I am doing.

As someone who is actually obsessed with love songs, romance novels and rom-coms, I live in my own fairytale. I am writing and rewriting in my head what could happen. I am constantly creating scenarios in which I would bump into a handsome stranger in a coffee shop. I fantasize that the guy I have been crushing on will just decide that he loves me and ask me out.

Romance movies are my favorites, but my guilty pleasures are action movies. Transformers, The Fast and the Furious, Captain America and Iron Man hold a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, these movies are by no means more realistic.

For the most part, these movies depict men as heroes. They save the day and always put others first. They do it for family or the ones they love. They are the ones who save us, the ones that take care of us, the ones who watch over us. They leave but they come back. Always.

I have seen countless action movies in which the man is the center of attention, the unrealistic hero who saves the woman in the end. This is deceptively unrealistic.

These types of movies set us up for things that most likely will never happen. I have a distorted perception of romance and love. As much as I want Spider-Man to swing in and save me when I am choking up in a presentation, he won’t. He won’t bring justice on my behalf to the guy who said something rude to me on the street.

I never had the experience of dating in high school. When I got to college, I was shocked to find out that dating was not how it seemed in the movies. I found that relationships (if I can say that I’ve been in one) are a lot more complicated than I thought.

Clearly, I love watching rom-coms and action movies, but movie dates I hate. I want to be able to look you in the eye, talk to you and connect on some human level.

(Future husband, take notes.)

I’ve found that dating is not always perfect. There is no perfect first date, no matter how many you go on. There will be things I don’t like. There will always be the nerves and the uncomfortable moments.

To anyone waiting for her superhero, the truth is there is no magical first kiss that knocks you off your feet. There is no instant realization of “Oh! He is the one!” And surprisingly, after one date,  you won’t fall completely in love.

In a world without superheroes, who will save me? How do I save myself? Sometimes, I really don’t understand how I can be so naïve. I am wishful, hopeful and up in the clouds.

I used to tie myself up in knots in the dating world. Making myself available for people who didn’t want me. I dated people who were too busy for me. I dated people who weren’t right for me. I was confused and it frustrated me to no end.

I have learned from recent experience that the perfect man isn’t going to walk into my life right when I need him. Often, he is going to bother me when I am completely overwhelmed (and not even thinking about him) until it drives me almost crazy. When I want to see him, he won’t give me the time I need. He isn’t going to pick me up when I am feeling down. And when I need him to fight for me, he won’t.

He doesn’t understand loyalty like Dominic Toretto. He doesn’t read my mind like Edward Cullen. He doesn’t serenade me like Troy Bolton.

The movies, the songs and the books, as romantic as they might be, are not true. That’s not how it works in real life. In real life, it is easy to be disappointed, to be let down and to be left. I know that firsthand.

It’s the reflecting after a relationship ends that is the most important part. Out on the other side, I know more about who I am, what I need and what I deserve. Some people jump into a new romance the second the first one ends. I am not like that. I am in the process of learning to love myself, to be happy on my own and to make sure that everyone knows it.

I am realizing that me and dating need to see other people, do other things. And I am totally okay with that.

Maybe I am still naïve in thinking that someday there will be someone perfect for me, that maybe he will be otherworldly and superhero-esque. But what can I do? I’m a girl who loves to dream.

Morgan writes the Wednesday column on risk-taking. Contact her at [email protected].

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