I love spending time with people who are in different life stages then I am, especially my single friends that are younger and “ready to mingle.” I feel I can offer some advice, yet feel thankful that chapter of my life is closed.
I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who had just entered the world of online dating. She shared a few dating stories and we shared a few laughs. We then went through some of the profiles she had in her arsenal. I watched as she swiped left on ones that didn’t match her ideal mate:
Wrong hair color.
Not tall enough.
Not the right “look.”
Then she stopped on one. The guy was very good looking (we both agreed on that), but his profile left a bit to be desired:
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 195 with 6-pack abs
About Me: Currently in graduate school. Come from a wealthy family. I love working out and staying active. There is definitely more than meets the eye about me (if you know what I mean). I am a real-life “McDreamy.”
We both agreed there wasn’t much that alluded to his character. I asked her, “What is it about this guy that interests you, besides the obvious physical attraction?” To which she responded, “Does it really matter? I mean look at him!”
How different my story would have been if the “McDreamy” was the only one I chose to “swipe right” on. The depth, the character, the partner willing to stand by you through thick and thin; those are the keepers. As I thought about my encounter with my younger friend, I wondered how many good ones she would swipe by if their profile actually read how life could pan out:
Weight: Abs for days (But when I hit age 35 and we have had a couple kids, they may be hard to find).
About Me: I will cry hard when we get married (really hard). While I’ll almost faint at the birth of our children, I will stand by your side through it all. We will argue often about life, finances, parenting, friends, and family, but I will never walk away from you. If we meet and you have a child already, I will love her like my own. I will often annoy you, I will not communicate very well (actually I can be really horrible at it), but at the end of every day I will love you. I will love our kids, and I will always show up.
My 34-year-old self would “swipe right” so fast it’s not even funny! When we are young, we often look for someone we’re sexually attracted to; nothing else really matters. We are not thinking ahead to 10, 15, or 20 years down the road. Weight gain, babies, stress, financial issues, showing up to date nights with boogers on your shirt or poop on your sleeve are not things we think about at that age. But if I had to do it all over again, I could only pray that I find a partner like I have now.
Married life and deep, adult relationships are hard. There aren’t always fancy date nights, and if there are they come few and far between and you are probably wearing Spanx. Date nights really do consist of “Netflix and Chill” (except it really means binge-watching a Netflix series way too late, not the kind of “Netflix and Chill” the young kids mean).
But even though you are knee-deep in diapers, bottles, and kids who need something all the time, you know you wouldn’t have it any other way. When you find that person, date nights don’t need to be anything but simple; everything is just right because you are with the right person. When you have found the one with depth, they are willing to go through the trenches with you. You are one unit, you never have to worry about going through anything alone because no matter how hard or how messy it gets, you have each other.
So to my young friends still trying to figure it out, date a few McDreamys along the way. When you are ready to settle down, look for the truth in the profile; it may not read how things will really pan out, but you may find some hints in there.
It will be worth it!