Dating – Wanderlust Life

Sporting the new haircut in front of Surfers Bay Beach Bar

I know multiple people here in Barbados using the Tinder dating app to meet others. I feel like I still meet new people all the time, so do not need to suffer through this again.

Note that the pictures in this post have nothing to do with the subject matter. There is no way I am sharing photos of the unsuccessful dating I have done on the island!]

It can be transient in Barbados, with people coming and going from what is usually a popular vacation spot. This year the flow has been mainly off the island due to various lockdowns, and now people returning to loosened COVID restrictions and summer in their home countries. Some will come back to Barbados in November to escape winter again.

I have a friend from home that keeps reminding me that this type of transient environment attracts a type of person that wants to move around and not commit. However, my attempts to date in Ottawa felt remarkably similar, and believe me when I say that Ottawa is probably the most stable place that I have ever lived! If I couldn’t date in Ottawa and find people who wanted to be in a relationship, chances are it is more about the dating environment and less about where the dating is taking place.

Dating – Wanderlust Life

Dinner with Jamie (Irish) and his flat mate Parker (Canadian)

As humans, we have a deep desire for connection. As a society, we have largely translated that need into finding a romantic partner. There are people, such as me, who are genuinely interested in finding a partner to explore life and spend time with. There are others, I believe, who are dating based on societal messages and programming, not really wanting to date but feeling pressure to do so. What they are really looking for is validation, rather than a connection. They want to be invited to the party but have no intention of attending.

I am a very literal person, to the point where I assume that the words people use are the words that they mean. I get confused in a business context when people say “we should go for coffee” or “set up a Zoom call” but then they do not respond when I reach out. I get equally confused when I am told “I would love to get together” but then am provided with a litany of excuses as to why they cannot.

Dating – Wanderlust Life

Lorena and I caught on Conrad's Go Pro at Freights Bay

I wrote in an earlier blog about sex tourism. I have not walked along the boardwalk by myself for months since the ash cloud. I was tired of being approached (read: harassed) by local men. In explaining this conundrum to someone from here, their advice was this: You just need to be clear. Come right out and say that you will not be giving them your number. You will say hi when you see them but will not be making plans to meet them after.

My biggest fear was that I would seem unfriendly doing this. I was assured that this would not be the case. Best to be clear.

It is quite possible that dating misunderstandings have the same root problem. We are so worried about hurting the other person’s feelings that we skirt around the issue…of not wanting to spend time with them, of not wanting the same things, of not even wanting to date. Or we disappear and nothing is said.

This egocentric viewpoint preserves our image of ourselves as a nice friendly person. It avoids a messy situation where the other person may become sad or angry when they hear the truth. Yet, avoiding the real conversation that needs to take place ends up making us appear aloof, or worse yet, the asshole. The very opposite of how we want others to see us.

I continue to have this unsupported and unshakeable faith that I will meet someone. I can’t influence how others date; all I can do is be clear: My intention is to meet someone kind and funny, with a sense of curiosity and adventure. Someone who values personal growth and a connection to their true selves and to others.

Society keeps telling me that I need to get out there and date to find someone that meets this description. The thing is, I already have many people in my life that fit this bill and I am not dating any of them! Adding a central person to the mix is going to be a bonus, AND not a necessity to continue to live this blessed life I have created in Barbados.

Dating – Wanderlust Life

The gratuitous SUP yoga headstand shot with Sarah in the foreground, Lorena and I standing on our heads, and Kate in the background doing a shoulder stand at Port St. Charles