The Passionate and the Passion-less


Being a thirty year old single male nowadays makes dating – at least in my view – unnecessarily difficult.  I want to be clear that I do not by any means think that I am an easy person to deal with.  We all have our quirks, but I take this to an extreme level.  My readers have heard me describe in great detail my struggles with social anxiety, depression, and Asperger’s syndrome.  Lately, I’ve been feeling more and more agoraphobic, which tends to happen when I don’t have a passion project to distract me.  It struck me that I almost always do have a passion project that I’m working on, which is great because it allows me to bury myself in my work, but I finished my screenplay in under two weeks, finished editing our footage for our documentary and now find myself in no man’s land.  I thought about all the areas of my life that I could improve and identified a couple areas where I’d like to improve.  One area in particular stood out to me and when I started meditating on this topic it actually made me very anxious.  Social interactions have been my Achilles’ heal since I was in first grade.  I’ve struggled to keep and maintain friends, I’ve always struggled with dating mainly because I never understood how it worked, and now I feel like a rudderless boat crashing up against the shore.

One of the areas that I turned to for relief is a place that a lot of people my age are turning to: online dating.  If I had to choose between approaching someone online and cold approaching someone during the middle of the day I’d probably pick the cold approach.  Here’s why: in online dating it’s not hard for someone like me with an actual personality to attract people’s interest.  I’d say I have at least 5-7 strong conversations with women online each week.  We usually exchange around one hundred messages, which for them is a lot, but for me is pretty much where my normal is.  After one hundred messages or so you’ve got to ask that other person out, right?  I mean there’s only so many things that I can do through an online conversation.  I mean, let’s at least move it to a phone call or something so I can gauge inflection or something, being restrained to the site itself is tortuous.  There is a very real fear though among women and it’s a fear that’s totally legitimate and justified in my view, but it’s one of many things that stops the encounter from moving forward and that is that most women don’t want to give out their personal information.  This is concealed mainly for safety purposes and it makes sense when you think about it.  The actual advice given to my college class at orientation was: “don’t get raped.”  There was no message for men that hey, maybe we shouldn’t be doing the raping, but instead they focused on the women in my class and simply advised that they don’t get raped.  Safety, needless to say, is a very real concern to the modern day woman.

What confuses me a great deal however is why women will be into you to the point that they can’t stop messaging you one day and then pretty much refuse to talk to you the next.  I had this happen three or four times last week.  This is commonly referred to as “flaking.”  The whole thing is strange to me because believe it or not I’ve never really encountered this problem before.  Someone suggested that it might have to do with the quality of woman that I’m going after.  There may be some truth to that.  Lately, I’ve become much more stringent in my standards of what is or isn’t acceptable.  I can’t deal with someone who doesn’t have a college education, if you’re not in grad school or in a job you’re passionate about that’s a dealbreaker.  Obviously I don’t want to date women who’ve been married or have kids nor am I all that interested in people who love small talk.  Dating, to me, is about getting to know someone on a deeper level to see if this is a person who I’d want to build a life with.  Talking about small things is just a distraction.  I mean, sure I have an opinion about Donald Trump, but is that really going to give you a better insight into who I am as a person?  It’s just fodder.  Another parameter that I’ve introduced into my filtering system is passion.  If you don’t mention something, heck anything you’re passionate about I’m not interested.  Everyone has a passion even if it’s knitting, cooking, sports, going out to new restaurants, the list is endless really.  The point is that I have a lot of things that I’m passionate about and you should too.  I don’t think I’m setting the bar all that high here.

I did a search on two different dating sites to see how tough it would be to find people who fell within my parameters and what I found was absolutely terrifying.  Of the women within twenty-five miles of me only twenty people have something they’re passionate about.  Of those twenty people most were passionate about things that they weren’t actively pursuing in their life like travel outside the United States.  Why have passions if you’re just going to ignore them?  I understand the money element.  I understand you can’t just pack up and leave, but you can make plans.  Making plans is surprisingly easy to do.  One of my readers suggested that I fly out to LA and take part in some live coaching to help me get over my long-standing social issues.  It took about two months of looking into it before I decided that yeah, that’s something that probably would really help me.  It would cost about ten thousand dollars and require a full seven days of my time.  Would it be worth it?  Probably, but I’m trying to raise money for my upcoming film right now, it’s not exactly the best time to try and find a way to come up with that kind of cash.  My point is that I’m picking between my passions here.  Ultimately, I’m going to do both of these things.  I’ll finance my film and I’ll go and get the live coaching I need to overcome all of my serious social issues.  I don’t know how I’ll do it, but the how is unimportant, my will to do these things is what matters.  I know that pursuing both of these things is part of my life’s mission therefore I will pursue them with everything I have.  What concerns me is that there are only a very select few people who have passions on par with mine and of those select few even fewer are actively pursuing them.  That is truly worrisome indeed.

12 thoughts on “The Passionate and the Passion-less

  1. Your life at 30 sounds very similar to mine at 30. Of course I’m now over 30 (won’t tell you how much though) and fortunately dating someone regularly, so I don’t have to worry about that whole scene. I have OK Cupid nightmares.

  2. Maybe you are looking to hard. I know you have your dealbreakers but maybe when you set such a hardcore list you don’t get to know the potential women who have something different to offer. My partner and I are chalk and cheese but we discovered we share the same sense of humour. He loves my passion, my drive. I think in a relationship we discover so much about a person and sometimes you can only find out about a persons passions is by getting to know them in a real setting. I had one friend whose deal breaker were ‘horrible’ shoes. I feel she is missing out on so much. Lose the list and embrace finding out about what makes another person tick. That is far sexier.

  3. It is much easier to meet someone who is passionate about something when you join a group. Being friends first can lead to wonderful romances. Sometimes love hits you when you least expect and are relaxed.

  4. I may be off the mark, but I would give it up. In fact I did give it up. I really did. I decided it just wasn’t going to happen, that I was now really too old anyway. I had a life full of passions and thinking about finding a lifepartner was making me less happy. I chose life and happiness, and gave up completely on the pursuit of a soul mate. I had women friends that I could rely on for partnering to weddings and events. It was such a relief! I changed a few other things to support my reshaped outlook, and in no time at all I was in pretty good shape, not giving it another thought.
    Now, roll on a bit, today I am married with children! How did that happen? I have no idea other than to think it is because I had give it up. Perhaps I gave out less stress hormones, maybe I seemed more fun and passionate and less desperate and needy.
    Now to the girl I married- I met her through work. A big age difference, and we simply liked each other enough to keep in touch. There was – eventually – a couple of courage-gathering key points. Of course there were, there had to be, how else to get it through the friend-ceiling? Those are the risky, scary points, especially as you are going against your decision to give it all up. Maybe it could have failed, but then, back to the plan. No biggie. What made me push past my fear? The girl – she was worth it. Mutual passions, too many coincidences, and, like you say, fundamental things, not merely an opinion. We still sit and talk for hours, we share silly internet stuff instead of spacing out in front of TV. Life is different. Passions have changed, but they are not withered or dead. Luck is probably the big factor, and as we all know, the best way to deal with fortune and fate is to flow with it, stop trying to master it, give up seeking to find. Best of luck my friend!

    • I disagree with you pretty vehemently about giving up. I’ve written previously about points in my life where giving up would probably have seemed like a smart strategy. In your case, I would venture to say that you didn’t give up. If you had truly given up you would have said no to ever getting a girlfriend let alone getting married. I can’t speak to what you did that brought that special person into your life, but I’m glad you found someone I really am. I don’t think you’re ever too old to find something new and good in your life and whether you believe it or not your actions are consistent with someone who – on some level – agrees with that as well. As I said, you wouldn’t be married if you had given up on love, it really is that simple. I also don’t think that the best way to deal with fortune or fate is to flow with it. You’ve got to fight it and in many ways you do have to master it. Science tends to back up this view as well if you’ve ever read Malcolm Gladwell or Robert Greene.

      • Oh well, let’s agree to disagree. I am sorry my suggestion was off the mark after all; I was trying to help. I have read Gladwell, but not Greene, so it would seem that we have interpreted the same thing differently! It is perhaps moot, but nevertheless my point that I wanted (x) I searched for (x), I tried and failed regarding (x), so I gave up and found (x). Giving up is not defeat. Giving up is giving up trying. Females sense trying. Trying is the problem. You trying is not you being your true self. Give up trying and be your true self. I am no good at communicating this nuance, for which I deeply apologise. I know that you will continue to pursue your line in the way that you see fit, irrespective of my tip, and I hope you are lucky. I am very lucky indeed; I have always been lucky. Life is easy and good for me, and your post triggered something in me that wanted to share. No worries! Peace!

  5. I don’t have much social anxiety. I can deal with people as I do on a daily basis, but dating is extremely difficult and it gets more difficult as you get older. Passionless people are the norm however. If they aren’t tweeting about miley cyrus or checking their Facebook every three seconds, they are buried in some trivial mediocrity. I don’t have a college education so I wouldn’t fit in your criteria, but I have been homeless, helpless and built a rewarding career with grit gumption and hard work. So I wouldn’t count us non collegiates just yet. Just food for thought. I do however have passion, in everything and anything I do. The key is to engage with conversations with women with substance to avoid the miley tweeters. The only way to find them I am afraid is through trial and error. Like with anything you get what you put into it. So good luck to you in your future endeavors. That life coaching thing does sound awesome by the way.

    • There are exceptions to every rule and I think you make a good point about your own trials and tribulations. The larger point that I think is worth discussing is the true value of a college education or whether such a thing is even worthwhile. I know for me personally it was absolutely necessary in order to get my own life in order as well as to further my own pursuit of knowledge. I do know others who have gone on to do noteworthy things without a college degree. I don’t think there is as much correlation between intelligence and collegiate achievement as we have placed there as a society, but I do know that it’s tough to find your passion if you’re not exposed to it and I think college helps people do that. I would be interested in hearing your viewpoint on that however as someone who did find their passion without going through the college experience.

      • Well for me it is quite simple. College is important to some but not to others. I found my passion through hard work and dedication as I previously stated. Value is based on perception and on how you perceive your acheivements not based on what others think or what they may or may not judge you on. I talk to EVERYONE from all walks of life. I battle with demons and things that are deep ridden in me so talking and getting to know people from all walks of life with different backgrounds broadens my chances of finding someone. I also don’t limit myself on whether or not they have children. I understand that’s a personal choice but as we get older you will find that the window gets smaller and smaller to find someone without a child. I personally do not have children but wouldn’t be opposed to dating someone who has. Again its all perception. An individual is unique and beautiful in all forms. I am a bipolar alcoholic mess with so many ways I am fucked up mentally physically and emotionally that it is nearly impossible to get a date with me yet I have an incredible amunt to offer especially on an intellectual level. I am not saying lower your standards by any means, but open your mind to possibilities. Ms Right could be a non college graduate with great passion and a child but you would never know because you missed it based on narrow parameters. My suggestion is keep a very open mind when approaching this dating thing that’s all. You never know who you may meet.

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