By Carolyn Hax
Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I find myself in another futureless relationship, just passing the time until being single seems more enticing than dating this person. At which point, we'll break up. A month or two later, I'll start the cycle again. Yuck. Is this what dating has become? How do I get off the Dating Hamster Wheel of Despair (DHWD)?

Passing Time

This is what dating has become for you. Making it a universal problem is a quick way to make it seem too vast to repair.

So, as just one hamster on just one wheel, you have just one question to answer: Why do you keep getting back on? Thinking like a hamster, I'd have to guess you're bored with your cage.

In other words, if relationship catatonia is more enticing than being single, you need to make being single more enticing. Get off the wheel (now, please) and commit yourself to a ruthless inventory of your day-to-day life. Pull out everything for examination, from the reflexive minor decisions to the big reasoned ones, and shake out all underlying assumptions. Keep an eye out for the P's -- passion, purpose, point -- because no other person can reliably be these things for you. Give CPR to your curiosity.

It's longer and more difficult than a mediocre date, obviously. Not so obviously, no matter how hard it is to face what you find, it's still a lot easier than looking back on the lifetime you burned on those dates. Take the time, do it honestly, do it well.

Dear Carolyn:

A group of friends, some couples, one single, were planning to have elegant (read: costly) dinner parties once a month on a rotation from home to home.

The single person feels he is being taken advantage of, as every dinner will serve seven people but the rotation will be every fourth time, meaning he will provide three extra dinners every fourth month. When we go to restaurants, we divide the bill by 7, not 4.

The couples say this is not the same, as usually only one member cooks.

What is your take -- is anyone being foolish, taken advantage of, or what?

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