On rare occasions, my friends will ask me for dating advice. On even rarer occasions, I'll spout something approaching wisdom. And so that brings us to a sunny day, a plate of Tex-Mex, and a boy with girl troubles.
My advice? "Not every personal swamp is there for you to wade into."
Once you're OK with how ungrammatical and obscure I'm being, it's a pretty good point. Dating is a reductive and nerve-wracking process, and sometimes you're better off cutting your losses and staying out of the muck. There's a point where you have to look at someone, decide that your flavors of crazy match up, and go for broke. Sometimes, however, you take a look, then you take a second look, and you run like hell.
I've done my share of running, when the dealbreakers became abundantly obvious and the relationship felt more project-oriented than it ought to be. And there have been times I've looked at the swamp and plunged on regardless, miring myself in the muck of yet another man's shortcomings. I've been talked down to, abandoned, failed, cheated and bullied. But I've come back each time as a slightly better version of myself.
I like to think I've learned something. And here's what it is: We've all got our swamps. Each of us is a bundle of raw emotions, childhood hurts, petty fears and impractical hope, and we're all doing the best we can with the emotional equipment we've been given. In the best cases, we're doing the best we can with the emotional equipment we've built for ourselves.
In the end, you have choose someone who doesn't drag you into their muck, because they have the strength to meet you halfway.
In the comments, tell me your dealbreakers. Or tell me how Clash of the Titans is the most awesome movie ever.