Dating in your 30s is a contact sport. The incentive for both parties lies in the early detection of a relationship that doesn’t have long-term viability, and to prune it with extreme prejudice. The stakes are high and the ticking clock of mortality reminds us that there’s no time to waste. Every failed cycle may be a disappointment, but ending each promptly keeps the playing field open for future opportunity.
However, even those of us who are hardboiled veterans who have seen a hundred battles and whose eyes have long ago lost that starry-eyed innocence of our youth should ask ourselves whether we really know as much about love as we think we do. We can convince ourselves that our minds and intuition are telling us to do the right thing, but by definition we’re the ones that don’t know what a successful relationship looks like, and in reality it may involve functions that don’t have much romantic appeal like a heavy dose of daily familiarity compounded over an extended period of time. A relationship that’s allowed to hobble its way to a slow demise is costly, but a false negative tripped by an overdeveloped internal cynic might be even more so.
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