"We just didn’t click." your friend says, as she tells you about her dating (mis)adventures over lunch. You can’t help but nod, we’ve all been there, after all. Some dates are stuffy. Some last forty five minutes before you both decide to bail and awkwardly hug goodbye while exchanging pleasantries, never to speak again. Some dates are great, but there’s no spark. The perfect person on paper, sure, but there’s nothing actually there.
That’s the funny thing about dating - everything may be great. Perfectly romantic. Exactly what your fifteen year old self (or current self) would want. But if there’s just nothing there, there’s just nothing there. It’s not anyone’s fault or that there’s anyone to blame, though we may certainly take rejection that way. There’s a few ways to take Mars, the possessive and passionate planet. In modern dating, it shows itself manifesting in chemistry, rejection (and how we react to it), and the competition mindset.
The apps are tough. Let’s be real. People make profiles to appear to others, and hope for their love (or hookup, or casual relationship, or summer fling) to magically fall in their laps. A side effect of this, a detrimental side effect of this, is the need to stand out. The fear of, “What if the one swipes left on me?” is all over. It takes insidious forms. Such as, trying to make your profile as interesting as possible (so that many people skydive? Am I missing out on something?) or trying to blend in so as to be more relatable (as in, my most controversial opinion is that I like pineapple on pizza).
But Mars has personality. It’s what angers us. What drives us. What pushes us forward with each step and breath. And interestingly enough, dating apps and profiles deprive us of just that. How many of us can write that they’re a quick-tempered-adventure-seeking-baking-fiend on the lookout for love? Not that many, because we have to face something that makes us very scared.
What if no one likes us? Scratch that. That’s not the problem. There’s going to be someone who likes you. There's going to be someone who loves you, all of you, just for you. Every pot has a lid. But the problem is- who says we’re very good at describing ourselves? Perhaps this is more for a Sun or Neptune post, but we are not the best judge of who we are (neither are other people, but that’s besides the point).
We are supposed to show who we are, but that’s terribly hard over a tiny little phone screen. Trying to show our multifaceted selves online is like thinking that apples are the only food in the world. That’s not all there is, and it would be terribly boring if it were.
The fear of missing out saddled with the fact that we're not terribly good judges of ourselves and others leads to a competition mindset. And just how is love supposed to form in a scarcity, competitive mindset? Once, a date told me, "The whole idea of dating apps is to create the illusion of winning something (when you match with someone). But it doesn't create real connections." And while I do disagree, I'm not sure I've ever felt like I was "winning" on a dating app, I do have to think, how is love ever supposed to bloom like that? God, even if it was "winning", what a terribly sick way to put it. They were right about the connection thing, though.
Connection is formed in the mind, in the heart, and not through text. Though the written word is certainly a way to do it. The spark has to start somewhere, but where? How? When we're making snap decisions and swiping left or right, we miss out on the one thing we crave: connection.
And then we have to face rejection. A lot of it. Ghosting happens. Breadcrumbing happens. And I really wish we'd all watch Sex and the City to learn that these aren't new problems (and maybe find some collective comfort in our dating woes.) We have to face an unprecedented level of rejection. And oh, it stings. Mars pops out again, we feel that anger, we feel that hurt, and we feel that pain.
But Mars pushes us forward. From that pain and into love. Rejection helps us take a good look at ourselves and ask how we can be better people. Sometimes out of love. Sometimes out of spite. But as long as we’re moving on, free from rejection and the sting of scorn, does it really matter how or why we’re doing it? Mars is the motivator. So maybe we'd all be a little better off if we turned from enemies into lovers and focus on what we're really here for, love.
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