Disclaimer: I am not a sports person, so please pardon my fumbling attempt at sports metaphors but … if you are injured, get off the playing field. I am not actually talking about sports, obviously, although I think it might be football season because all my guy friends have disappeared. But this is a dating column. So … the sport of DATING! It’s brutal! This weekend, one of my best friends got dumped, out-of-the-blue, by a girl she had been dating rather seriously for a couple of months. Of course, I was pissed because she’s my friend and how dare anyone dump her because she’s fabulous. But I was specifically pissed about why she was dumped.

The reason for this unexpected dumping was because “things were headed in a serious direction” and the woman she was dating “couldn’t handle anything serious right now.” BIGGEST EYE ROLL EVER.

I have heard this excuse myself. You probably have, too. Too many times. And I think we can all agree that we’re over it. It’s annoying. It’s not annoying that people are unavailable — that’s a perfectly honest, totally acceptable place to be in. We’ve all been there. But if this woman knew she was unavailable why was she dating my friend, who had been very clear about not wanting to casually date, in the first place? What did this chick think was going to happen as they continued to spend more and more time together?

I must interrupt my rant to point out that, yes, there are times in our lives when we’re up for something casual. Casual dating or sex occurs when two people agree that they absolutely don’t want anything serious with each other. Perfectly fine. I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about knowingly being unavailable and continuing to pursue dating with someone who you know wants something serious. I’m blowing the whistle on that shit. Not acceptable. While I realize that this girl might not have had any malicious intentions, I say, have a shred of self-awareness, please. Sometimes we’re too wounded to date. We might wish we were in the place for a meaningful or serious relationship, but know deep down that we are too injured to be vulnerable enough to connect with another person. Maybe we’re recovering from a bad breakup, working through personal issues, or healing from a tragedy. Whatever it may be that’s got us in an emotional wheelchair, we aren’t fit to play the dating game.

Daters,I implore you to be honest with yourself and with the person you’re dating on this front. Being fit to play, means being responsible for your actions. If you know you “can’t handle anything serious,” consider yourself obligated to communicate that clearly. Consider yourself obligated not to give “we’re headed somewhere serious” signals to the person you’re dating. That means no overnights and brunches the next day, no texting stupid shoompy crap asking “how’s your day, babe,” no introducing of friends, no romantic dinners complete with crazy, in-depth getting-to-know-you chats. None of that noise! It’s selfish and reckless and unfair. And we don’t need your type out there mucking things up.

When we are in this injured place, we owe it to ourselves and everyone else to sit the damn bench. (Hey, I just made a sports reference! Yay!) Because, if we don’t, we’re going to screw everything up. It’s inevitable. Don’t date if can’t do it without fucking everything up. Don’t get other people involved in your mess. Take some time and sort stuff out, clean stuff up. Get to a better place in your mind and heart. Heal your spirit. Have casual sex (with a willing participant) on the sidelines. Just please, stay off the field.

Why? Because a large majority of people dating are not injured. A number of people dating are ready and looking for something serious. And you, injured daters, are slowing our game down. You are wasting precious time that could be spent dating people who aren’t fumbling plays because they are on emotional crutches. So I say, do the responsible thing and sit on the sidelines until you’re fit to play again.


This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission. 

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