01-03-08One of the hard things about dating as a way to find your mate is that people are such phonies for the first year. I don't mean they necessarilly even intentionally lie, but everyone tries to show their good side when they're dating, you hide your insecurity and your baggage and your criticism and just try to impress the other person and get along and do things together. Of course it goes well, you're going out to restaurants, you're travelling, it's so easy to get along and like each other in that mode. It's not for perhaps a year when you move in together and start seeing all of each others' sides that you know what a person would be like to marry. Now if you find you don't really like them, you've put a year in to find that out.
Many people get around this by just hurrying up and getting married during the initial easy phase. Then after marriage they find out what they're really like to live with and either make it work or get divorced. That's not a horrible way to go about it. I've always been in the "trying living together and make sure you like it first" camp, but I think people in that camp basically just never get married.
Of course I'm one of the worst about this. When I'm dating I can be charming, talkative, social, I go out and do things and all that. Eventually that just becomes too exhausting for me and I give up and go back to being a grouchy hermit, and my girlfriends are left wondering what happened to the man they fell in love with. It's not even that I'm trying to fool them, it's more that I'm trying to fool myself. Each new relationship I tell myself is a chance to start fresh and be a better person; that this new girl doesn't know what a dork I am and I can just play a new role and live a new kind of life.