Ready to know more about San Diego?


Unhinged, A Dating Series: Under Pressure

When’s the right time to talk about the big stuff, like marriage and kids, when dating?
unhinged, a dating series, nicolle monico

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent some time chatting with other San Diego locals about their dating experiences. When the column first went live, Christian Lind, 38, sent me a DM to tell me he related to the frustrations I expressed in that piece about the difficulties of dating in San Diego in your 30s or 40s.

“I found your article kind of provoking, and I appreciated you writing it the way you did, because I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly how it is,’” Lind says. “Like the thing about false starts and how it can be… It’s so exhausting.”

When I asked him if he’d be up to talking more with me about what dating has looked like for him, he readily agreed. 

Lind is both a professional photographer and a roadie for bands, which means he can be away from home for up to six or eight months at a time. Since the age of 20, he’d been chasing his dreams of becoming a video director (a title he now holds).  

“When I took my foot off the occupational gas pedal [at the age of 34], I had this whole big section of my life that I hadn’t even touched, this romantic side,” says Lind. “I was just so bad at speaking the female language.”

He tells me that, since then, he’s been working on himself through therapy and learning to understand what he wants in a relationship and with a partner. His answer for the latter is pretty simple: someone he can have a good time with, a spark that develops into a deeper connection.

But what struck me during our conversation were the slight contradictions in Lind’s words. He simultaneously declared that he was ready to date and emphasized that he didn’t want to be rushed into anything more serious.

“I don’t want to put any pressure on an early relationship by absolutely saying I want this or that,” Lind says. “Unwarranted pressures on first dates are hard enough. We’re both sweaty and nervous. Let’s chill. Can we have a conversation and see if we vibe and then go from there?” 

By “unwarranted pressures,” he means the big, life-stuff conversations: learning whether your date wants to get married or have a family, talking about how they view a future with their partner. As we chat, he says he feels pretty agnostic about the potential of having children. 

“I need to see the evidence. I need to feel true love before I can feel the idea of bringing a life into this world,” Lind says. “That’s a big responsibility to me, and I don’t take that lightly. I’m not just going to have a kid to have a kid. I would have to have somebody I love and trust in order to bring them into this world.”

He’s weary of these convos when they come up early on. To him, an overeagerness to talk about kids indicates that the other person might be willing to settle just so that they can have a child. I ask him whether that might be a false assumption.

Personally, I know I want children, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to have a baby with the next willing Y chromosome just because we’re dating. 

“Right. Yeah, certainly. I think that’s very fair,” he replies. 

I’m sure Lind is not alone in his reluctance to discuss serious things early on. But what he sees as relationship-killing expectations might be valid questions that his dates are asking to determine if their hopes for the future align.

Lind, for his part, seems like a sincere guy who has taken steps to know himself better so that he can be a better man for his partner. I do think he’s looking for commitment and will work on being a good communicator once he’s in a relationship. But I can’t help but wonder if the “false starts” he’s experienced are, in part, a result of this subconscious mindset. 

And maybe understanding the way some may approach dates can help him and others put an end to that cycle. 

Being 40 factors into how I show up on dates. I’m much closer to understanding who I am and what I want my life to look like than when I was in my 20s. I’m not as willing to wait around to discuss the things that matter to me anymore, and I imagine that others like me feel the same. After all, the sooner we find our person—the right person, not just anyone—the quicker we are going to be able to achieve those dreams. 

It’s fine that Lind may not want to have those conversations on the first date. But that might mean that someone who is might not be a good fit for him—and who can blame them for wanting answers right away?

What do you think? Does Lind have a point? Does discussing your future desires early on add unnecessary pressure to the first few dates? Or could this way of thinking be hindering singles from moving past the dating stage into long-term relationships?

See you next week!

If you’re new to Unhinged, catch up on all the dating chats you’ve missed here and follow along at @monicles and @sandiegomag on Instagram to know when a new article drops each week.

Sign-up now for the Unhinged newsletter launching this April. Get exclusive content, Q&As with Nicolle, and subscriber-only meet-ups!

Unhinged Newsletter Sign-Up

By clicking Subscribe you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions

By Nicolle Monico

Nicolle Monico is an award-winning writer and the managing digital editor for San Diego Magazine with more than 15 years of experience in media including Outside Run, JustLuxe and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA