Dating in Your 20s When You’re a Nomad

It’s no secret that dating in your 20s blows. Growing up in the age of “hookup culture” has pretty much f*cked all us up for actually settling down or getting serious. I can’t even keep up with the terminology anymore. Are we seeing each other? Hanging out? Hooking up?

If you’re like me you probably are nowhere near ready for marriage, kids, a mortgage — the whole shabang. That being said, you also don’t want to schlup around from guy to guy having meaningless flings.

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Ok so now let’s try balancing this ridiculous are we or aren’t we “together together” joke while picking up and moving every 6 months.

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I started crying on airplanes when I was 17 and haven’t since stopped. Now an experienced nomadic 20 something dater I’ve found that there are a few types that tend to repeat while on the road.

Type 1: the baby, our hearts cross oceans

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This is the guy you probably fell head over heels for during study abroad. As your friends call him, you’re novioooooo. Things heated up between the two of you quickly. His accent was so sexy. You were learning something new with him every day. You were in love with the idea of being in love with this foreigner. Soon your last days in the country were approaching and you found yourself looking up flights back to be with him. There may have been 10,000 km of distance between the two of you for a while, but you knew you could wait it out just to have the chance to be together again. The long phone calls, emails and skype sessions finally ended and you at last made it back to his country and his arms. But then you realize that the only reason you’re there is for him. Your life abroad as compared to your study abroad is not as sweet. He may be tu amor, but your surroundings are becoming toxic. The little voice says, “You can be anywhere in the world right now.” If I can offer any advice to anyone that is in this same situation right now, RUN. May I recommend a one-way ticket to Paris? Did the trick for me!

Type 2: the no strings attached, not-relationship relationship

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After having to get over the worst break-up imaginable: the nothing is wrong, except location and timing break-up, you’ve become extremely cautious in the dating world. No one is coming near your heart again. You know you aren’t staying anywhere for long, so you won’t risk falling in love again. This new guy you meet is someone you know is totally wrong for you. You see absolutely no future with him, but you’re having fun and living day to day. When balancing that fine line between together but not together gets confusing and you ask for some clarification he spills that he has no intentions on having any real relationship with you. Actually, he doesn’t want any commitment at all to you. You just got friendzoned, slor! You feel a tear well in your eye, but then nothing happens. You realize that this is more or less what you were looking for. Life is still good and you’re comforted knowing that you won’t have to deal with any messy goodbye, and yet a bit of sadness still creeps into you. When did you become so alone?

Type 3: we’ll always have Paris

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This is every nomadic 20 something’s dream. You’ve met this amazing guy who has now become your companion. A big, beautiful city is waiting for the two of you to discover. In him you find a friend and a lover. There are feelings, but they aren’t all mushy, goo goo eyed, lovey dovey. You mutually care for each other and want the best for the other. Long strolls in gardens and home cooked dinner for two are on your agenda. You both understand that at some point this will end, but you want to enjoy your time together while you have it. Your goodbye shouldn’t be a why is the world so cruel, but instead a best of luck, I hope to see you again.

*If you’re as unfortunate as me you won’t get this goodbye. My mom came for a visit and wanting to continue with the casualness of this relationship I didn’t want him to meet her. My big mistake was falling completely off the grid for two weeks. When she finally left and I called to meet up he was completely uninterested. A sour ending to such a sweet romance. Maybe I was mostly to blame, but I did get my revenge…*

Type 4: the road romance

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Sometimes when you travel a lot and your on an island in the South of Italy you’ll run into type 3’s best friend (who you’ve never met before). You may have one too many drinks at the hostel bar and sloppily hook up with him in what could be revenge or just plain old hostel fun. You may actually really like this guy and begin to ask yourself all the typical what if questions. But alas, he is on his way to one part of the island and you the other. Why ask these questions anyway, you never know who will be hanging in the common area of your next hostel…

You probably tell yourself that you’re happy being free to go wherever you want and that you’re enjoying your compromise-less exploring, but maybe (just maybe) you secretly wish that one day in the not SO distant future you’ll find someone to give you a reason to stay put…

and if not that, then someone with whom to wander the world together.

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