Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I'm Not Dating

1. When I work out at the gym, both the muscular guys and the not-so-muscular guys either ignore me altogether or take one look at me and immediately avert their gaze to the girls with bigger boobs, flatter stomachs, and tighter clothes that accentuate their bigger boobs and flatter stomachs.

2. I thought about joining Tinder, since apparently that's the new dating app that everyone keeps talking about these days, and I've already tried, eharmony,, and okcupid. But in order to join Tinder you have to join Facebook, which I never joined.

My parents are on Facebook, and they still don't know that I have a blog/a Twitter page/haven't voted Republican in the last three elections. I can't even set the alarm clock on my cell phone correctly half the time, which is why I keep running around shrieking, "I'm LATE! I'm LATE! There is NOT ENOUGH coffee to wake me up right now!" in the morning. So I doubt I have the patience to figure out how to use those privacy settings that would "parent-proof" my Facebook page.

3. I mentioned in a previous blog post how I recently became closer to a guy that I liked, who liked me back. Like I said before, I had my reasons for not describing in detail what happened with him on this blog. What I will say is that the person I thought he was turned out to be very different from the person that he actually is.

It felt like we were both trying to get each other to change a little too much. It's one thing to address your flaws and change bad habits, but it's another thing altogether to try to change who you are entirely. He and I are just very different. Although I've now accepted that it never would have worked between him and me in the long run, that realization was a letdown, especially because it's been a long time since I let myself feel anything real for anyone. I still want to meet someone special, but there is a part of me that is afraid I'll experience yet another letdown, and I'm already stressed out enough for the following reasons.

4. I've been applying for teaching jobs, and although I will not get an offer for a tenure-track job this year (you have to have gotten a request for an interview at the MLA conference that already took place in January), I am still hopeful that I will land a full-time position as a lecturer at a four-year college or a community college. The thing about the academic job market, especially for an English Ph.D., is that I have to go where the work is. I have no idea if I'm still going to be in Chicago next year or if I'm going to be halfway across the country in some college town. I don't think it's a good idea for me to start something new with some guy when there's the possibility that I might not even be here next year.

5. I took a leave of absence from teaching this year in order to focus on my dissertation and applying for teaching jobs, both of which have taken up a lot more time and a lot more caffeine than I expected. After tearing apart my most recent draft, my advisor told me that I could always defend next year if this year doesn't work out. But I have to finish and defend my dissertation this year, because I won't be able to get any more graduate funding after this year; I'm not willing to take on another student loan. The longer it takes me to earn my doctorate, the more difficult it will be for me to get a tenure-track job (and the reality is that many PhDs never become tenured). I'm ashamed that I'm behind many of my classmates, who finished a year earlier than I did (though their student loan debt is more than twice the size of mine, since they didn't work additional part-time jobs like I did) and already have tenure-track jobs.

I'm anxious to prove to the people who told me that my work isn't good enough (which, as a workaholic, made me feel like I wasn't good enough) that even though I will never be an academic superstar, at the same time I am intelligent and my work and experience do make me worthy of a full-time teaching job at a good college. I've been spending almost all my time holed up in my apartment, at the library, or in coffee shops, writing, reading, and caffeinating myself in order to stay awake long enough to get more writing and reading done.

Basically, I'm in full-on workaholic mode, and I'm so focused on my academic and professional goals that I have little time, energy, or interest in perusing more online dating profiles that say nothing but "If you want to know anything about me, just e-mail me"; to get "winks" from guys who are twenty years older than me; to get e-mails from guys my age that say, "I don't live in Chicago, but I'll be in the city for a couple days pretty soon. Want to meet up?" (That's code for: I'm looking for a one-night stand. Interested? My response to those guys is always a polite "no," but what I'd like to say is "Sure, I'd be happy to meet up with HELL!")

On one of the rare occasions I let myself take a break to spend time with a friend, that particular friend told me, "You know that this is what you have to do to get your PhD." And I do know. But I can't help thinking of how I spent the majority of my twenties (years I'll never get back) earning my master's degree, teaching full-time, working in retail. In addition to the last years of my twenties, I spent almost half my thirties pursuing this PhD. Sometimes I regret that I didn't let myself take a break from working and enjoy my youth more often, and I worry that I'll wake up one day in my forties and realize that I worked my thirties away too. 

What about you? Have you ever had to severely limit your social life in order to focus on other responsibilities, like work, school, or family? How did you deal with the consequences of that decision?


  1. Dating can be over rated anyway. ;-) And yes, my social life is totally on hold due to small kids. But, to be fair, I never had much of a social life to begin with. (And am fine with that. Not a social person!) Lol.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Although I don't have kids, I can definitely understand how being a mom often means that you have to put your social life on hold; friends can wait, but kids cannot. Most of my married friends who have kids are rarely able to socialize now.
      And I agree that dating is overrated, especially when I think back to all the dates I went on. :)

  2. Since I've known you, you've been very focussed on your career, so it's no shock to hear the dating side isn't working out - your energies are elsewhere. I'm sure everything will work out with your dissertation :-)

    1. Hi Annalisa,
      I hope everything works out with my dissertation too; I'm so anxious that my advisor won't let me defend it this year or that the rest of the committee won't approve it even if I do. So like you said, my energies are definitely elsewhere; I keep obsessing over my work that I don't have enough time to obsess over dates too.

  3. Since I've known you, you've been very focussed on your career, so it's no shock to hear the dating side isn't working out - your energies are elsewhere. I'm sure everything will work out with your dissertation :-)

  4. I think you are making such a wise choice. What if you had spent all this time on your social life, chasing after the elusive dream of finding the one, and at the end of it, you were still chasing only without the educational and career goals you set for yourself? When the time is right, it will come to you, probably when you're busy doing something else. I don't blame you for not dating right now, because you have other things happening in your life that need to take precedence.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your encouragement; it always helps. :) When my girl friends went out to meet guys, they had to practically drag me away from my work to get me to accompany them; I usually said no because I was so busy. I'm just afraid that even after all this time pursuing the PhD I still won't get the degree or the job I want. I know I'll never be a tenured professor at an Ivy League university, but I at least want my doctorate and a full-time teaching job at a good school. I'm afraid that all this hard work won't be enough to get me those things, but I am going to keep trying anyway, at least for now.

  5. Oof. Not easy stuff to consider. I think there will always be regret over the avenues you didn't explore, especially when it would have involved less work.

    I think you stayed true to yourself, but most of us wish we had taken slightly different routes.

    With my fatigue, just handling my job and household stuff is enough to pretty much kill a social life. So I've been in hermit mode for years now.

    1. Hi Abigail,
      A job and household responsibilities are a lot to handle, and it's even more difficult when you have health problems; that's why it's understandable that you're not able to go out too often.
      I chose not to pursue a more lucrative career because if I had, I wouldn't have been true to myself. Sometimes, though, I wish that I had chosen something more lucrative, so I wouldn't have to worry about money so much and might even have more time for other interests outside of work.

  6. Having bigger boobs or sexy figure doesn't mean they are of good nature also. It is totally a shit thinking

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    1. Hi Sukhmeet,
      Thank you for the advice, and I'll check out your blog later. I wish I could offer some advice and reviews for your blog, but as I stated in my blog post above, I'm really busy with my dissertation and job search. Best of luck with blogging, though!

  7. I know you can rock out your dissertation this year. You accomplish all goals you set your mind too. Of course you had so much on your mind, so dating had to be put on the back-burner. I still think it will happen for you, when you are ready, or when you least expect it. That is usually what others tell me. But I really hope you meet someone that will add fun to your life and make you feel loved. Have a great week.

    1. Hi Murees,
      Thank you for your encouragement! I hope that you meet someone special too.
      I'm in a constant state of anxiety because I'm not only trying to finish my dissertation, I'm also trying to convince my advisor to let me defend it to the rest of the committee so that I can finally earn my PhD before the end of the summer. But it's an uphill battle, though I haven't stopped fighting yet.