I once tried a wild dating experiment: I was honest about my character in an online dating profile. (Well, like, 80% honest, which by social media standards is basically the equivalent of outlining a personality profile while drugged with some FBI truth serum.)
It looked something like this: Mostly cheerful and positive, but prone to bouts of moodiness and defensive paranoia. Wide range of interests, but mostly enjoy napping and bathing. A kind and compassionate listener, but also very often self-absorbed and selfish. Great sense of humour and genuinely loving, but with a tendency towards pickiness and judgement. Loves sex, but has body issues. Has a jerk parrot that will bite you and shout at you and will probably be loved more than you.
The stuff I left out was: co-dependent as heck, will try to fix you, will struggle to control Type A tendencies, will be disappointed in your failings as a human, and will often blame you for everything that is wrong in my life.
Sigh. The interesting old days before therapy.
Nevertheless, it was one of those moments as a single person when you’re taking a good, hard look at yourself in the black mirror and you wonder: Would I date me?
And the truth was somewhat less clear-cut than I would’ve liked.
‘Hell yeah’, because those human foibles of character make us ‘us’. But also ‘hell no’, because just how extreme those foibles are can really mess up interpersonal relationships.
You must’ve seen that quote usually attributed to Marilyn Monroe: “If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
The full quote is actually: “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
It’s a very popular quote these days and I think the sentiment will become progressively popular as individualism increases and short attention spans twist perspectives on what healthy relationships require.
Because if you’re an out of control adult that needs handling, but who thinks another person is just ‘hashtag blessed’ to be with you, you don’t need a partner, you need to grow up.
When I posted that dating profile – which got far too many responses for the bit about sex – it required more of me than just honesty. It required a shift in expectation.
Someone once wrote that you should aim to be the person you want to be loved by.
Did I want to be with someone who would love me the way I knew how to love? If I couldn’t work to resolve my issues for me, for my own happiness, why did I expect someone else to be okay with being treated as poorly as I was treating myself?
Funny the kinds of big thinking a small question can spark, hey?
So. Would you date you?Follow Dorothy Black on her blog and on Twitter.