In her final edition of Don’t Hate The Player, Michelle Provencher breaks her addiction to dating cold turkey.
Well, I really like you, but since I’m graduating and all, I think it’s best to do our own thing, you know? We had a good run, and I learned a lot, but I just feel like it’s time to, like, go our separate ways,” I repeated in front of my mirror, rehearsing the lines I must regurgitate to you now.
This is our last therapy session, group. I’m breaking up with you.
Having read about my frequent dating habits the past few weeks, one wouldn’t expect I spend most nights with my roommate watching romantic comedies from the couch, pining for the future husband I haven’t met yet.
I like to live vicariously through the leading ladies of Pride & Prejudice because their smart quips earn them marriage proposals from handsome, wealthy Englishmen, while mine get me pity laughs or a gin-and-tonic, at best.
Although, I did have one date act like a real gentleman: He made sure I didn’t step on any glass or drug needles on my barefoot walk home from the bar. (I’m never wearing heels again – they’re sexist tools designed by society to keep women down, but that’s an altogether different column topic.)
While I have my heart set on finding my own Mr. Darcy, I recently got some great advice from a friend of a friend, who was surprised by my eagerness to begin matrimonial bliss: You will never regret going on too many dates.
“Go on a hundred,” she said, “And then get married.”
So I did.
This past February, I came across a story in the Los Angeles Times about how being in love affects us physically called “Scientists try to measure love.” The scientists ran a bunch of tests on people who were in new relationships: They asked them specific questions about their love lives and showed them photos of their significant others, all the while studying their brain activity.
What they found is that love really is like a drug. Arthur Aron, one of the social psychologists interviewed for the article, said a complicated system in the brain is set into motion following the perfect date or even meeting someone special for the first time, and it’s basically “the same thing that happens when a person takes cocaine.”
When study participants viewed pictures of their lovers, their brains were flooded with dopamine, a chemical released when one is doing something wicked pleasurable, like having sex or doing drugs.
Group, I’ve discovered I’m just a drug addict. The profuse sweating, the insomnia, the restlessness: Suddenly, things seem so clear to me.
I’ve burned through most – if not all – the eligible bachelors Philadelphia has to offer, and I feel very lucky they were cool, respectful and fun. These dates gave me an excuse to try out new recipes I found online, an opportunity to ride a two-person bicycle, a chance to take salsa lessons, the nerve to join Netflix and most importantly, experience to share with you all. Thanks, boys.
Instead of committing to a solitary, steady relationship as I have for the past seven years, I focused my efforts to giving each a short-but-sweet shot. I’m addicted to the butterflies of a newfound love interest but quickly grow bored and move on. Turns out, I’m not a player; I just crush a lot.
My numerous dates consequently mean numerous break-ups, and I’ve gotten to be quite good at those as well. Being a soon-to-be college grad is especially helpful since I can use studying for finals, relocating for a job or being uncertain about my wants for the future as reasons it would never work out between us.
As with my suitors, my relationship with this column has been fun, too – its essence being its brevity. It was a strange and educational journey, group, but it’s time to move on to my next conquest: Hopefully a job, or a puppy (probably the latter). Marriage is on the backburner. I hope we can still be friends.
Michelle Provencher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.