Have you ever thought to yourself: Is dating worth it? Is the effort, the pain, the heartache, the ups and downs, is any of it worth it? Let’s say you never, ever, want to settle down and only want to have casual dalliances, what is dating worth to you? Let’s say your end result is on the other far end of the spectrum and you only want to be married, and it doesn’t matter to who or if you love them, what is dating worth to you? What about less extreme examples?
I ask this because more and more I’ve come across people who question the value of dating. Maybe it’s because the ease with which we can date has devalued the dating process in the modern daters mind. Consider the Victorian courtship process which required a whole slew of rules to learn and actions to take to go from acquaintances to lovers. Now, the average dater need only swipe right, match with someone, and be on a date within a week without ever knowing their date’s last name. If you think of dating as a thing you pay for indirectly with time and money, and realize that the barrier to date is low and low-cost and continues to decrease (Looking at you, Netflix and Chill enthusiasts), you can see why people often think that dating isn’t worth it. Whether these people abstain from dating and do the friends-with-benefits-who-eventually-are-in-a-relationship thing, or they begrudgingly date to expedite ending up in a relationship, I think you’d be safe saying that a vast number of daters don’t think dating is worth it.
I think dating is worth it. Plain and simple. Yes, there comes a point where, depending on your perspective, dating isn’t worth it, but I’d probably debate you in most cases. There are certainly times where the way you date makes dating worthless, but I think that overall, dating is worth. When I say this, I want to be clear, I mean that all types of dating are worth it, regardless of your end goal. Want to get married at some point? Dating is worth it. Want to have kids? Dating is worth it. Want to be single and dating for the rest of your life? Worth it. We sometimes fall into the trap of assigning value to things that are ephemeral like feelings, or experiences, but I think you just can’t do that and expect anything that isn’t a good or service to have “worth”. Dating is about experiencing something new, like traveling, or riding a rollercoaster, or seeing stars for the first time. It isn’t about the cost it took to get to that new experience, because the experience is priceless. It isn’t about the cost, it’s the experience the cost gets you.
Think of the money you’ve spent on dates that went nowhere, or the time you took prepping for those dates. You’ll never get that time or money back, but your experiences from those dates are priceless. For me, dating is invaluable because the experience it provides not only helps me write this blog (and podcast, seriously do me a solid and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play) but it is also invaluable to my dating life. The dates I went on when I was 20 years old helped inform how I date at 30 years old. That experience is invaluable, and well worth the time and money it took to earn it.
Even if you aren’t a writer, the experiences that dating provides are worth it. Dating can help you learn your likes, dislikes, dealbreakers, and what you’re looking for in life. Dating can bring you lifelong friends, a family, a spouse, a partner, and a lifetime of happiness. It can also bring you pleasure, joy, laughter, awkward moments, hilarious stories, and a feeling of completeness. On the otherhand, it can also bring you pain, tears, heartbreak, overwhelming emotions, and frustration that will not end. Even the worst that dating has to offer is formative, and to me, worth it. So yes, dating sucks, but it can also be sublime, and both are learning experiences. It’s worth it whether you meet your ultimate dating goals or not, because experience is priceless.
Do you remember the first time, probably as a baby, that you touched something hot and realized “this hurts, I should not do this again”? You might not, but you do carry that lesson with you to this day. The same could be said for the time you dated that one Ex who taught you about heartbreak and loss, or how good a kiss feels, or how sweet a simple “hello” from someone you love can feel. What you put into dating, whether it’s time, money, emotions, or effort, is rewarded with experiences you cannot replace, for good or ill.
That’s what makes dating worth it.
Good Luck Out There.