Emotional Detachment

I’ve been working a lot lately on detachment and not allowing myself to be ruled by my emotions. I hate letting other people have so much power over me and how I’m feeling at any given time. What other people say and do says so much about them and says practically nothing about me, so why would I let it affect me so deeply?

The other night I was at a bar with a friend whom I’ve had a very complicated relationship with. She assumed I was going to watch her dog while she was away on vacation and when I said I didn’t want to do it (because she wanted me to stay at her place in the deep valley, which is 45 minutes away from my work, friends, and life) she called me a “selfish asshole.”

I’ve never watched her dog in the history of our years long friendship so I had no idea why she assumed I would suddenly be up for the job. Not only that, but to stay 45 minutes out of my way for free was a tall order to ask of anyone. So I had no idea why she reacted that way. It definitely received a, “woah” response out of me, but it ended there. I didn’t let it affect me and I continued on drinking with her for a couple more hours.

I was really proud of myself for having let that comment slide so effortlessly when in the past I would’ve responded much more angrily and I probably would’ve changed my whole attitude for the rest of the night. But I just brushed it off and let it go.

I know my friend wouldn’t want me to say yes to that favor just to ease her stress and yet feel resentful and angry for being made to stay out so far away from my apartment. And I didn’t want to agree to something that would make me feel unhappy just because my friend wanted to save a couple bucks.

So I learned a double lesson in that moment. When you ask someone for a favor, you should never tie any expectations to the response. And when you disappoint someone and they call you a name, remember that it says so much more about them than it does about you.

However, after I had patted myself on the back several times for that interaction I wondered how I could translate that to my romantic relationship. In friendships it’s so much easier to feel less attached to outcomes because you aren’t intimately involved with those people. Detachment tends to become a much bigger challenge when you are opening your heart so fully to someone spiritually, emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically.

I started to wonder if it could be possible to interact with my boyfriend in the same way I had interacted with my friend. Could I have zero expectation when I ask him to do things? If I want to hang out with him and I ask to see if he’s free and he says no, sometimes it sends me into a deep spiral of fear and distress. Partly from past stuff and partly because I allow the fact that he isn’t available to suggest that I’m not a priority because he isn’t ready to drop everything for me like I usually am for him.

And as I type it here now it seems so pathetic and sad. When he is out of town for work and he doesn’t have the opportunity to say no to me I am happy as a lark. So in essence what I’m upset about is the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t do everything that I say and want whenever I say that I want it. My desire to control him and his actions is terrifying and will do nothing but upset me every time.

Sometimes there are larger things that I ask of him, such as coming home with me for Christmas, that when he says no make me think that he doesn’t value our relationship or see a future. I mean, can’t he just sacrifice a couple fucking days simply to make me happy? But see what the problem is here? I’m allowing his actions to either make me happy or not happy. What will happen if I go home to see my family and I’m by myself? I’ll have an absolute blast playing 19 rounds of card games with my brothers and sisters in law. Would I miss and feel his absence? Definitely. But I don’t have to allow his non-presence there affect the entire relationship or suggest that he isn’t invested in me.

And the danger of implying those things is that he will want to get further and further away from me. Because he feels as though he is walking on eggshells and that everything he says and does affects my happiness. That is too much pressure for anyone to handle and the only natural thing to do is to pull away as to not constantly give someone so much disappointment caused by you and only you.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight but it’s one that I’m willing and ready to accept and work on. I alone am responsible for how I feel. I can blame it on him all I want but the only thing I can change is myself. So if I am committed to him and this relationship, which I am, then I need to zen the fuck out and be happy regardless of his actions.

The Tinder Generation

I think that the birth of Tinder and its quick rise in popularity can tell you everything you need to know about my generation and its attitude toward sex and dating. And the fact that it has become the norm and an accepted form of online dating has created a ripple effect into dating as a whole.

You must be hot. You must be easy. You must be game.

If you’re not, I can just open up my phone, swipe right and meet up with someone else.

Just like anything else that has been made easier with advancements in technology, why would you want to try and meet people the old school way when you can just shop for people online.

And that is what Tinder is. It’s online shopping for people. There are so many options that aren’t even offered in the store! You don’t even have to interact with someone if you don’t want to! You just swipe, text, and meet! It’s so awesome!

It cheapens dating and makes people seem disposable.

I can’t believe that so many people I know use it and think it isn’t at least somewhat problematic. You can call me a prude, you can call me judgmental, and you can say I’m not hip to the future of dating. But in my experience, the people I know that use Tinder are fresh out of a breakup, need to get laid, or are bored. File all those people collectively under a bold headline that reads: Lonely and Desperate. In the moments when I’ve been lonely and desperate I’ve actually considered downloading it.

If you are lonely and desperate and don’t use Tinder, you will probably find some other similarly impersonal method for getting your rocks off. You might go to a bar and pursue the prettiest, drunkest chick in the room. However, at least you have to exercise some sort of effort and have a decent amount of game. Tinder makes everyone the laziest version of themselves. Guys send out pick up lines to 20 different girls and go with the one that responds. With a never ending arsenal of supply and demand, you will probably never strike out.

I was on Reddit the other night at around 3am, as I tend to do when I can’t sleep, and I came across a sub-Reddit entitled “Showerthoughts.” Someone posted this thought: “The worst part of Tinder is that it only helps you meet people who are at a place in their lives where using Tinder seems like a good idea.”

Many people who commented argued that it’s about being “sexually open-minded” and knowing what you’re getting and keeping your expectations low. In my opinion, it’s bad enough that we are called the “hook-up generation” now we are going to be called the “hook-up with total fucking strangers without any real-life interaction beforehand generation.” We might as well be Joaquin Phoenix in the movie “Her.” Let’s just skip even being with real people and have phone sex with operating systems!

One guy on the comment thread told this story: “a buddy of mine who is about my age – late 30s – met a girl on tinder who is 21, a law student at NYU, from a rich family, and smoking hot.
she came over to his place on a friday night for their first date. they smoked and talked for a bit before she asked him if he wanted a blow job. he obliged. she obliged. now this 21 year old beautiful overachiever comes over on the odd weekend, blows him and leaves.
as a married dude with children i find tinder more awe-inspiring than the northern lights.”

There have always been girls who are like this since the beginning of sex. However, my fear for my generation and especially for the generation behind me, is that in order for girls to compete we feel we must dole out blow jobs and smiles and pretend not to care. Because if not, you’re getting replaced by someone who will.

It may not be that serious of a problem. Maybe Tinder simply amplifies problems for you that are already there. And maybe I really am a prude and way too judgmental. But social media in general makes dating very challenging as it is. I don’t want to have to compete with the 75 strangers’ photos on your phone if I don’t impress you. And I especially don’t want to have to feel like I’m too challenging because 15 out of those 75 girls are DTF RIGHT NOW.

There was an “article” on playboy.com that several of my male friends were reposting on Facebook entitled, “16 Tinder Girls Who Totally Get It” and featured beautiful young women with bios that read like this: “I am the perfect booty call boyzz! I play lots of softball so don’t worry I know how to stroke a bat and play with balls but I mostly like them in my mouth!” This bio was from a 19 year old.

Another one reads: “Kind of girl you would take home to your mom but would blow you on the way there.” This is just a hunch, but she probably gets lots of right swipes.

Sex sells, as it always has. But don’t those make you just a little sad? Because Tinder is based solely on how hot your picture is and how witty and/or sexy your bio is, it’s showing women that it’s the only way men will be into them. It’s like selfies. If you aren’t validated by a bunch of strangers liking your photo it’s probably doing some damage to your self-esteem. It’s their choice to be involved, of course, but how could that not trickle into how they handle themselves in real life?

Just like all online dating in general, I get that it’s an easier way to meet people. But somehow society has managed to meet people and date and get married before there was the advent of the internet so I don’t know why we find it so challenging now. Oh wait yes I do. It’s because, Tinder. People would rather have their noses stuck in their phones swiping left and right then look up and around at all the people they meet on a daily basis.

People will argue that Tinder is only supposed to be used for hook-ups. But so many others will argue that they know someone who met their current boyfriend/fiance/wife on Tinder. Maybe they are true stories, maybe they are just urban myths to make people feel better about themselves for using the app. Or maybe that’s just what we have to accept about our generation. That the sexual relationship comes first now and then comes the real relationship.

Obviously my personal opinion isn’t going to stop people from using Tinder or make it go away. I guess my real fear is that I will be forced to join Tinder just to keep up.