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Is It Bad to Date Your Ex? Dialing From the Little Black Book...

by Lisa K. Stephenson

There comes a time in our lives when we, as men and women, reach a point of, well, desperation, settling in a relationship. We’re in our mid-thirties, life is together, and all the fun we could have, we’ve had it. It's now time to settle down. What does it mean to settle down?

Can settling down be just as simple as it sounds, settling? As we grow older, we are less fastidious, therefore less likely to turn away a potential lover due to minor annoyances. But when does settling down become an option, and with whom does it become an option? Let’s segue into dialing desperation or dialing from “The Little Black Book” as I would call it.

Picture this: you’re in your mid-thirties, have a career and a car, own a home and, of course, you have benefits (we can’t forget the benefits people!) Even with all of this, life is still simply passing you by. As you come to the sudden realization that everyone around you is either married with children, simply with children while residing with a life partner, or living a life of cohabitation. You then begin to ask yourself, when will my turn come?

When will I start a family, live with a potential mate, and live the life of happily ever after? During our early, mid, and late twenties, we never quite ponder this; we spend much of our time living our lives, fighting for survivorship, and dating. It is during this tender time in our lives that men and women are far more disposable and easily replaceable; after all, we are at the peak of our sexuality and masculinity, unconsciously telling ourselves, you are still young, you still have time.

But when does time seem to begin running out, that hourglass on procreation and love, and what do we do when we turn to our little mirror on the wall and we are no longer the fairest of them all? Shameful, shameful, shameful, we turn to that handy-dandy little black book compiled with a list of the men and women we were so quick to dispose of due to their minor flaws which in our twenties we refused to overlook.

Pesky, isn’t it, that little voice in the back of your mind, find a mate, procreate, time is running out! I have always wondered what it meant to settle down; I mean, the phrase itself is quite intriguing. Let’s begin by defining the term settle: to adopt a steadier or more secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home (i.e. one day I will settle down and raise a family). Thank you,

When we settle, we find complacency, but is this truly a bad thing? Do we settle out of desperation and reach for our little black book in fear of growing old alone? I wonder, what if we never settled and continued to carry on about our lives until we finally met the person of our dreams, our prince and princess charming. The men and women we have truly longed for, the one to whom our heart truly desires, would we still consider it settling?

Science explains that once a woman enters her mid-thirties she will undoubtedly experience complications with her pregnancy when she manages to get pregnant; this risk is far higher than that of a woman in her early to late twenties. Knowing this may very well catalyze one's decision to dive right into the dialing phase, skip dating, and head straight into cohabitation. But, is this a mistake? Should we blame science for our long-term unhappiness, our need to rush into relationships and marriages all because we don’t want to miss that window of opportunity to start a family and be like the rest of society who all seem quite happy after settling?

I have not yet reached my dialing phase, but as a friend of mine politely reminded me by stating, “We’re only getting older, let’s overlook those minor flaws and get into the mindset of starting a family.” But, am I truly ready to overlook those flaws, and can I depend on my partner to overlook mine as a means to not settle but truly be happy in our union? I find myself at a crossroad, not wanting to grow old alone, but also not wanting to overlook potential red flags all because science says I should have a baby before the age of thirty-five.

Then there is separate togetherness, I look around and I wonder where has the time gone? We are to lead separate lives before settling down but when do we get the time to do so? By the time we enter a career and individually find the means to afford our own cost of living, it is time to begin the procreation phase: a conundrum, no? Ah, the little black book, how we rely on you so. Give the cheating ex a second chance, become a step-parent, lie to ourselves stating that the relationship didn’t work prior because we were simply too young, relocate, meet the family, and do the inevitable; settle.


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