I was 24 when my best friend got married. I was her maid of honor and, seeing that I was in a serious relationship at the time, I assumed she would return the favor by the time we both reached our quarter-life crises. I’m still waiting. This means I’ve had to listen to the same dating questions, advice, and mantras — all tinged with vague smugness — since Bridget Jones was a singleton. My other married friends have since joined in. I know you all have good intentions, so I say this with love: Enough!!!!! It’s time to immediately retire these conversation killers:
1. “Are you dating anyone?”
Trust me. If the answer is yes, I will give you unsolicited details before the bread basket is served. Otherwise, this seemingly harmless — and awfully loaded — inquiry is an emotional dagger to the heart. Dating after 40 is a prickly subject and one that I’d rather not delve into so casually. Maybe I’m dealing with a rough patch or a prolonged dry spell or worse. It’s all personal business. And, frankly, the Q just as intrusive as asking you, “Hey, how’s the marriage going?”
2. “You’ve got nothing to lose!”
A friend recently trotted out this chestnut when I was on the fence about going on a date with a guy who asked me out online. I replied, “What about my valuable time?” I cringe at the implication that just because I’m not preoccupied with a family doesn’t mean that I’m sitting home alone watching Netflix 24/7 and waiting to be courted by any random dude with a pulse. Still, it’s good for me to explore. So when I’m calling you for motivation, please be more specific. For example: “He loves ’80s pop music too!”
3. “Let me ask my husband.”
The only thing more annoying than messaging your significant other to see if it’s OK to stay out another hour is seeking his relationship wisdom. I respect him, but I reaaaalllly don’t need him to be privy to the delicacies of my private life. It makes me feel self-conscious and inferior. Two against one does not a good dynamic make. Besides, even though he’s a guy, he’s not Dr. Phil, you know?
4. “When I was single …”
Whatever you say at the end of this sentence, I’m here to report that it will come off as patronizing and pretentious. Like, you might as well be riding a literal high horse to my little pony. You were single before the swipe-right era, but surely you recall that the dating scene is a frustrating crap-shoot. And, ahem, it’s only become more complicated. Spin the tales for your kids, thanks!
Otherwise known as “This will pass” or “Time heals.” If I’m in the throes of heartbreak — even if it’s been only a handful of dates — all I want is comfort, sympathy and a plate of fluffy french toast. Please don’t Band-Aid my aches with a dismissive cliché about drying my tears and moving on. These words simply cheapen my hard-earned emotions. Though, um, the sentiment is indeed true.
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
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