text I love me in a heart-shaped sign

Several years ago in a Facebook post my friend, Courtenay, said, "I'm in a relationship with myself. So far it's going pretty well."  

That got me thinking about the advantages of self-dating. Romantic relationships with another person are so...so...complicated. 

Usually when you hear someone say, “I’m dating myself,” they’re about to make a comment which exposes their age. For example: “I’m dating myself here but I always thought Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeanie was smokin’ hot!” OR “I know I’m dating myself when I say this but I actually liked cassette tapes."

It seems to me that being in an exclusive relationship with yourself certainly has its upsides. For one thing, there’s a good chance that you’re going to like a lot of the same things. “You like TexMex and Bruce Springsteen? That’s amazing, so do I!” The relationship begins to grow and then soar as you discover compatible values and opinions, common interests, and shared beliefs. The feelings you have for one another are mutual. There’s none of that awkwardness seen in many relationships where one partner is stomping the accelerator and the other is pressing the brake. And none of those dreaded DTR (Define This Relationship) conversations.

When you’re in a close relationship with yourself you know each other so well you can finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes, I swear, it’s like you can read each other’s mind. In normal relationships it’s annoying when someone finishes your sentences and being able to read your partner’s mind would soon make you beg for mental illiteracy.

Being on a date with yourself is easier. No need to change your outfit four times and obsess over whether you should leave that button undone because after all it is a first date and you don’t want him to think that…but on the other hand, you don’t want to be buttoned up like an Amish school teacher.

And the great thing is your date always thinks you look fantastic, does NOT think that dress makes your butt look fat, and always makes great plans that are exactly what you wanted to do! “You wanna go shoe shopping and then to the Cheesecake Factory? OMG, we were made for each other!”

However, self-dating’s romance can begin to fade. Oh sure, it’s great now. But soon you’ll start to leave the toilet seat up, stop opening the car door for yourself, and you’ll only get flowers after a big fight.

And speaking of big fights, that leads to the inevitable question. How do you break up with yourself? What if one of you decides she wants to start seeing other people? How do you respond when you can tell you’re about to get the “It’s-not –you; it’s-me” speech? Along with the “you deserve someone better” line. Actually, you will discover when that time comes you’ll both be ready to see other people.

Courtenay shared some serious thoughts with me about this relationship stage in her life. 

“I used to be a serial dater. I would get out of one relationship and hop right into another. I am finally learning, after a divorce and a broken engagement, that I need time to be alone and focus on myself. I have also learned that focusing on yourself isn't one bit selfish and is actually a necessary part of growing up."

And Courtenay has a thought about Valentine’s Day: “It sucks! Not because I am a woman pining for a man to send me overpriced red roses or take me to dinner at a restaurant that assumes you want to share your dessert. It sucks because every day should be filled with love. And a whole dessert. And flowers of your choice. I don't need to be reminded by a fat baby in a diaper with a bow and arrow that I should tell someone I love them. I do that daily, starting with myself.”

Courtenay knows that in due time her heart will be ready for love again. But in the meantime, don’t feel sorry for Courtenay that she doesn’t have a date for Valentine’s Day with a special someone. She does … with friends, her daughter, and with one remarkable lady who was once a stranger to her but who is now a wiser and trusted friend.

Ramon Presson

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) the author of multiple books, and a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He can be reached at [email protected].

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