Catch + Release: Relationships and Fishing

“Fishing is like dating, it’s all catch and release until you find a keeper.”

I have been in two different “Catch and Release” relationships. One destroys and the other is a refreshing outlook on life. The one that destroys is a method of chasing, catching, and releasing because of commitment issues or insecurities. Sometimes it is easy to run away and not face underlying issues as to why one person isn’t enough as a life partner. On the other hand, you may really enjoy the chase and once the prize is won, you quickly become bored. You will eventually grow tired, and old.

I have chased before, but more often than not, I have been the one who gets released. I have always been one to lose myself in relationships. I would give up my identity because I wanted to be the trophy that is embalmed and hung on the wall. Sickening, I know; the thought of being someone’s trophy. Trading my hobbies, my values, my morals, my friends, just to stay hooked on the line. Looking back, it is disheartening to know how much of myself I gave to others who didn’t see me as the greatest catch, or even worthy of 2nd place. I don’t write this seeking pity, I write this because I deserved better, and if you are reading this thinking “that’s me”, you also deserve better.

Once I realized that fishing is an analogy best left to a body of water, and not a definition for dating, I found myself. I didn’t need to be caught, hooked, or hung. The saying is true, there are many fish in the sea, but there is only one me, and only one you. In finding myself, I found security in knowing that I am good enough and that I didn’t want to be a part of anyone’s game of catch and release.

Que the next phase in my life when I learned the true definition of catch and release. I dated a fisherman and our first date was a fishing tournament. Looking back, the irony makes me giggle. He was and is intensely serious about his sport, and to call it a hobby would not shed the correct amount of light on his expertise, his love, and his passion for being an angler. He was willing to show me the biggest part of his life on our initial meeting and honestly, it made me nervous. He was patient in teaching me and showing me the correct way to cast, reel, and sink.

We are just friends now, but since then, I look back at those fishing trips, and during those experiences, to catch and release, quite literally means to release the fish back home, back to life. I even got to witness air being released from a fish that would have otherwise floated to the surface and died. Fishing has turned that negative definition into a positive one. More than that, it taught me a valuable lesson: Fishing will never be my sport, only something I will enjoy as a reminder, but I’ve been able to release fear, enjoy the moment, learn patience, and I’ve now seen some of the most beautiful sunsets.

Relationships aren’t about giving away your identity; releasing yourself of your morals, values, hobbies, friends, YOU but to find joy in your partners interests in the same way that they should find joy in yours. Don’t be a fish in the sea, don’t be a trophy, and don’t be someone who gets released time after time; you deserve better.