Dating vs in a relationship

Dating vs in a relationship used to care about how serious a relationship was until I realized this. When was your last serious relationship?

I took a gulp of wine and gave what I saw as the honest answer — a little over three years. That was a long time ago. I proceeded to word-vomit all over him. I’ve dated guys, you know? For like a few months here and there. I still count them as relationships. He looked at me like I had 16 heads.

I’m discussing my romantic past. The amount of time I spent with these guys, when you add all the relationships together, only equals about two and a half years out of the decade I’ve been dating. So for the rest of that time, I’ve considered myself single. But like I told the asshole with the Amstel Light, that doesn’t mean that I’ve been alone — not by a long shot.

I’ve been in relationships — just not what I’d qualify as serious ones. After our date, though, I went home, poured myself a glass of wine, and started comparing my so-called “serious” relationships to the ones I wouldn’t dare label as such. Facebook before finally asking me out. But aside from virginity loss, that relationship was about as meaningful as a high school relationship could be. He taught me that it’s important leave a relationship that’s tanking, especially if the partner in question is emotionally manipulative. I knew in high school, but didn’t date until I was 23. He taught me that just because a guy is seemingly nice, it doesn’t mean that you’re meant to be together.

The not-so-serious relationships are also the relationships that forced me to recognize that, even if I didn’t find love, I’d probably be okay. I was actually looking for. I thought of Will, Jude, Rob, and the dozens of other men who have come through my life. There was the whiskey distiller who slept on an air mattress in a crawl space, the lawyer who picked me up on the subway, and the person who I was messaging on Bumble who wound up standing next to me in line at Whole Foods.