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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Dating Sucks... or Does It?

Dating sucks. I get it. The great epiphany! No, I’m not trying to be discouraging. I know there are a lot of troopers out there who are doing their thing and I commend you and keep at it, because the world needs people to date. But it’s exhausting, and it got me thinking, who came up with this idea?

I mean, we’ve talked a little bit about the evolution of marriage with arranged marriages, but in the olden—really olden days—it was like, girl meets boy, and voila, they are married! Maybe they’d go for a walk around the castle or something, but as soon as they were done, there was the ceremony and 9 months later, welcome baby!

Or your parents were friends with The Grimsleys and, “they have a son your age and quite appropriate for you with a decent wage and upbringing, who you’d be just fine for. Don’t protest dear, this is the way it is.” What if that were the way it was? We just shack up with the neighbors and do as our parents say. I meet young Mr. Grimsley and am forced into a marriage I might not be happy with, but, well, he did have a decent upbringing and a good wage. He’ll make a good husband.

What’s worse, today’s demands of dating or yesterday’s ill-fated non-romances?

It’s difficult versus miserable, so I should quite whining.

But it is interesting to see where the change came…if you’re a history geek like me. When America was first becoming its own country, there was much work and hard labor to be done. Parental involvement in marriages was not seen as much necessary as quickly marrying the children off. So as long as the man could support a family, he would take a wife, and they would build their lives together. Parents were still engaged in the relationship, they just were not coordinating it so much. So the organization of arranging a couple dwindled, and there was a bit more freedom in “courting someone.”

About 100 years ago, in the early 1900’s, is when a change occurred. Courtship would center around a woman’s home but only if the man desired marriage with her. However, the lower and middle class could not provide such space and hospitality for a suitor, so they began to court in public. The wealthy saw this and found it to be more exhilarating than sitting around sipping tea, so they too went about town with their new man, and so began the game of “dating.” They realized, it was less private, as the public could observe their personal moments, but it was a new and exciting way of engaging in relationships.

And so while they were frolicking along and having a good time, little did they know that they have set us all up for many frustrating times of cursing dating. Yes, it’s wonderful when it’s wonderful, but it’s annoying when it’s annoying. You get one person asking about your last failed attempt, but why it was good that you cut it off, another saying to just wait and he will come to me when it’s time, and in the middle of it all, I still get hit on by really old men. Why is that? I’m starting to think I should just go for it.

So basically, as much as I, and I think many of you, can say that “dating sucks,” when it comes down to it, we know it doesn’t. It’s just that certain parts of dating sucks. The waiting, the wondering, the bad times, the worse times, and when it ends—even if you wanted it to.

But apart from all the bad times, are the really, really good times: when you first meet, then remembering when you first met, when you told him you peed your pants when you were probably too old to and he helped you laugh at it, even though you used to be ashamed, and when he didn’t break up with you, even though he should have.

Dating believes in second chances. You should too. So whenever you get in that “dating sucks” mood, just remember all the things that counteract that. Because though it might take a while to find that “right” one, you will have good, and bad, experiences along the way, you’ll learn a lot, but when you reach him, you’ll be that much happier that you did. And that you didn’t need your parents to send you on a walk with him and then marry you off. Who needs the good ol’ days? Today can be better.

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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