These days, the world of dating seems impossible to navigate. More so than ever, being single has turned from a commodity into a de facto state of things, with gorgeous women and men still seeking love and appreciating the beauty of commitment. The overall feeling is that we’ve collectively gone detached, emotionless and cold with people almost fearing any sort of human connection but, at the same time, needing it desperately. Ah, what a funny world to be alive in – everyone is running away from everybody while hoping to run into somebody that would cherish their heart. Blasphemy!

Options for Schizophrenia

So, what happened?

With the surge of social media that’s promoting (even advocating) closeness under false pretense, no wonder we’re feeling lonely. Dating online through Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and whatever online dating site the masses are trying has replaced the old meet-me-for-coffee-I’ll-kiss-you-if-you-let-me type of thing. Online, everyone can be anyone and we’re made to believe a touch (aka like) with no actual physical contact is better than the real deal. On the internet, everything seems to be at your immediate reach – your favorite food, additional material for that business proposal, your loved one. And it’s all fine, and it’s all good until you are to replace your online affection for human touch. Reality hits and you can’t disconnect. Then what? The warmth of human touch starts feeling almost uncomfortable and the communication that’s unlimited to a number of characters – unusual. We’ve become cyborgs without even realizing it; our kind has managed to grow a metal heart.

Still, it’s comforting to know that there are still people like you and me – people seeking real affection, risking what’s left of their human nature for another human being, watching movies while holding hands and stealing that last fry from their partner’s plate. Yes, we are the minority, but a good one.

We’re struggling and we’ll take all the help we can get.

New-age love

When I first discovered the profession (if I may loosely call it that) called dating coach, I laughed. I honestly did laugh. The irony of it got to me real bad; I thought to myself – are we so fu*ked up that we’ve turned love into a business? Could it be that we need a third party to make a two-party item work? People everywhere are lonely and desperate for love and someone’s turned that desperation in essence into a business? Eeeek! But then again – that’s capitalism right there. Obviously, you need to pay to learn something that’s already inherently given. So sad.

Since I was single at the time, I got into one of those movie-like, clichéd situations. Out of spite and anger, I’d decided I’d go for the dating coach thing – I figured, what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll either find a date or laugh it out to the coach’s face. Either way, it was meant to be fun.

The fateful meet

I’ve met up with the guy and we went through a few coffees, two cakes and a dinner. He was pleasant, had a good sense of humor, easy to talk to… and… he was surprisingly human. Time went by very fast and we talked about my expectations, about life, about why I was single. And the thing about people like him, the coach-type of people is that, for some reason, you instantly let your guard down without even realizing it. I liked it. No, no – I loved it. Still, it’s a tricky business – exposed and vulnerable, you are susceptible to all kinds of advice, theories, opinions and judgments and you are running the risk of convincing yourself you are more f-ed up more than you actually are. Just as I’d predicted – he tried to fix me and make me “fit for dating”. Digging through potential daddy and mommy issues, problematic childhoods, confidence crisis, destructive patterns, etc. – he got nothing. I was raised in a perfectly healthy family (my parents are celebrating their Gold Anniversary in the fall), had long and nice relationships, have no addictions and know how to keep my temper under control. Maybe my fault was that I was too normal?

The idea with these love coaches and matchmakers (we all loved Steven Ward, didn’t we?) is that they are out there to fix something. The advice and dating tips they so self-assuredly and assertively hand out relate to people who’ve got commitment issues, fears or phobias of being abandoned, unhealthy behavioral patterns and can’t find the peace within. I already knew all my battles begin and end on the inside. What I was looking for – was another person to accept them and cheer them to victory for me.

Two years after, I’ve met my match. Yet another, too-normal a human. My parents are getting a grandson as their anniversary gift. All this love needed was patience to be found. I am happy I’ve had it. As for you, my darling – try the coach. He/she might have something good for you. But even if they don’t – learn to first be you, and love you. All good things will follow.