Life is a game. Billions of people are out there, searching for “the one,” hoping to win that perfect soulmate.
News flash: you’ll never win, because there is no such thing.
So far, I have lost the dating game. At the age when my peers are announcing their engagements on Facebook, I’m at the age where my pessimism towards love has reached a new level.
To the general public, I’m perceived as a positive person. To some extent, people are right. I attempt to focus on positivity with others, and let the pessimism boil under my skin.
However, most of my life, I have never been a love optimist. While most of the time I enjoyed feeding myself positive anecdotes about life, I was somehow a realist when it came to the outcome of relationships:
“Forever” is a word that no one understands. We do not live forever because death is kind of a thing, and the human race will die out eventually, so even as a race, we are not “forever” either.
Yet this word is thrown around just as much as “love.” The words fly out of people’s mouths, and the idea has been spread all over the world that “love” and “forever” somehow fit together.
Disney movies, Taylor Swift songs, and The Bachelor are some displays of the obsession with the idea that happily ever after equals finding a soulmate to love forever.
And we eat that shit up like Valentine’s Day chocolates.
We are all contestants in this dating game, and every day people are winning the jackpot. As more people win, some of us feel like less valuable players.
I have suffered injuries while trying to win the big money, knowing I’d lose everything I gambled. Along the way, the injuries caught up with me, and it’s time I sat on the bench.
Every day I see more people winning the dating game, and those who have lost, like myself, scramble to keep playing.
Pressure to win is high.
With online dating, blind dating, Meet Ups, reality dating shows, Facebook, and family and friends “fixing” us up with dates, we are provided with endless ways to compete. From every direction, we are poked, prodded, and sometimes even coerced into the dating game.
Other people are betting on us to win. They get into the game when they match us up with friends who they swear are “perfect” for us. “Perfect” is yet another word thrown out to create this fantasy for the dating game. “Perfect love forever.”
The odds of winning this high pressure game are not high. The likelihood of us winning are less than 50%. The actual statistics are argued about constantly, but it’s still clear that roughly half of marriages end in divorce.
That means the odds of us winding up as losers are higher than 50%. We could quit playing right now, sit on the bench, and make it a spectator sport. We could watch the other players and root for the most valuable ones to win.
During my times sitting on the bench, I have wondered, “Why play at all?” As my pessimism has reached new levels, I still ask this question.
At times it feels foolish to keep playing this game, putting my heart on the line, for something I may not even believe in. The words “perfect,” “love,” and “forever” are just words to me. I never knew what they meant, and I’m now not only more clueless, but also bruised and stitched up.
Instead of running back into the dating game or sitting on the bench, I won’t. I’m leaving the game. Maybe I’ll return like Michael Jordan, strong as ever.
But for now, I need to escape the game. My happily ever after doesn’t have to include winning a soulmate.
For me, winning big is traveling to beautiful places (and having the money to do it), writing for a living (making enough money for it to be possible), and finding peace with myself. I’m playing to win all of those things, and if I do, I’ll have hit the jackpot.