I was 11. My Mom and I have always been best friends, but our ever deepening relationship really began when she shared with me this brutally honest advice. “Soon your friends are going to be dating.” Sure I knew they already were, but I also knew what she meant. Any 11 year old can tell you that REAL dating was still somewhere off in the distant future.

“Next year in school they will start pairing up in couples. They might start spending less time with their girl friends so that they can meet boys. Watch them closely. Don’t be too anxious to rush out and do the same thing.” I heard the underlying message already, This isn’t where True Love is to be found. “These relationships won’t last long. Maybe one week, maybe three months and then your friends will be back.” Outside, I was trying to look chill; I’m old enough to hear this. Inside, I was listening attentively, on the edge of my seat. “Don’t write off your friends during this time,” she continued, “In fact, when they come back, they’ll need you more than ever. So be there for them.” Why will they need me more? “Heartbreak.”

This is when I realized there was an inherent problem with the “dating system” as we know it. What could be more flawed than sending 11 year-olds out into the world to find the boy who looks the cutest in photos and filling her heart with aspirations of holding his hand. All the while knowing that this will only provide joy for 2.5 weeks or until he finds another girl who looks more cute in photos. If this is the only source of joy you can offer this little 11 year old, then please don’t bother. She doesn’t need your joy, she’ll find her own.

Heartbreak. In this series A New Paradigm I will endeavor to provide advice and anticdotes of a heartbreak-free lifestyle. Challenge me, prove me wrong if you can.

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