About a year ago I started to consider dating. I was still very much heartbroken and a mess but I feared that if I didn’t “get out there” immediately that I would become a homebody and start collecting cats, just as the sad single girl stereotype goes.
I have dated quite a bit since then. It has been a process… an evolution. 16 different guys, approximately 50 dates, and uncountable lessons. Fortunately, I have had mostly positive, normal experiences. I have heard stories of people getting completely shit faced on a first date, people being stood up, or someone walking out in the middle of the date. I, luckily, have only had to deal with awkward moments and one or two guys getting a little too “handsy” on the first date.
Dating in the current day and age is extremely easy and extremely difficult at the same time. When I first started dating I was still crying over my ex-boyfriend numerous times a day so I made sure to communicate to potential suitors that I was not ready for anything serious. This, I have learned, always seems to backfire. Every time I told a guy that I wasn’t ready for a relationship he would immediately emotionally invest himself into the non-existent relationship. Very recently, I was on the other side of this conversation. And I have to say, I had the same reaction.
About a month ago I was working at my second job, a bar. From time to time I will get hit on while working there, most of the time it is extremely annoying because they are usually tipsy or drunk, solely operating on liquid courage and their attempts at compliments come out sleazy and disrespectful. I’ve developed a very cold shoulder while working behind the bar. On this particular day it was extremely busy and it seemed that everyone we were serving was rude as fuck. Then this guy came up. We made eye contact and he smiled. At that point, I knew what was coming. At first, I planned to avoid him and give him the cold shoulder but then I decided to feel out the situation a little when he returned to the bar to order again and he very patiently waited for me to have a moment to serve him. We ended up chatting a little and he slipped me a note with his number when he left. To be honest, the main reason why I considered entertaining his efforts was this exact end result. I really only wanted to get his number for bragging rights, and to add to our giant book of numbers. (Yes, we keep a binder full of notes and phone numbers that customers have left for us on napkins, receipts, coasters, etc. And then we brag.)
Normally, I would have cast the slip of paper away to fade into the background of the binder of phone numbers. This time, I decided to keep the number. There was something about the interaction, something about the note, and his name that interested me and grabbed my attention and curiosity. I texted him and he immediately texted me back. He asked me out that same night and we set something up. The more I learned about him the more interested I was. He was traveling for about a week so we didn’t talk and I was completely ok with that. I was even prepared to never hear from him again… because that is how dating these days goes sometimes. You might hit it off initially but it is just as likely to fizzle out without any reason as well. So, I hoped for the best but prepared to never him from him again as well.
He returned, and we went on our date as planned. It went very well. We joked and laughed a lot. There was definitely a connection and we talked and laughed for hours. It was really great. We parted ways at the end of the night and I was on my way home when I got a text from him asking to take me out again… I smiled and a couple days later we made a plan to see each other again.
In between seeing each other we kept in touch. Everything seemed to be going really well. He rescheduled on me for our date but only by one day so I figured it was no big deal. We met up to grab drinks and were having a great time. When we were about to wrap up the night he initiated a conversation that I felt came out of left field. It was the I’m Not Ready For Anything Serious conversation. I wasn’t expecting it, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to be as hurt and disappointed so suddenly. I just kind of sat there and felt uncomfortable and couldn’t decide if I should just walk away in that moment and say forget about it or if I should latch on. In the moment I decided not to do anything. I listened to him, his reasons, and his apologies. He asked that I just sort of step back and reconsider… to kind of readjust and forget about any expectations I might have had in regards to us and a future we might have together. Even though he was being extremely fair and honest and considerate all I felt was rejection. It’s really hard to hear, especially when you were riding a high because you FINALLY like someone, and you FINALLY want someone to be in your life… even if it is two dates in. He told me that the ball was in my court. He wants to keep seeing me but understands if I don’t want to “waste my time”. I told him that I need time to think and to process what he just said to me, I couldn’t answer him in the moment. Which, I have to say, I am pretty damned pleased with myself.
It’s been three days and I am still debating how to move forward from here. The day after the conversation I tried to keep my emotions at bay and then my friend excitedly asked me how things went on our date. That set me off. I went through the whole conversation then proceeded to analyze every interaction we ever had. But then I realized that none of it really matters, does it? I thought about all the times I told people I was not ready for a relationship as a warning to them… the warning was mostly for them not to rush me. Which, of course, they did. And look at how well that turned out for them; I don’t talk to any of those guys anymore. I dislike the notion that I am playing a game or feeding into the bullshit rules and regulations around modern dating. But, at the same time, I now understand both sides of this scenario and I think the best thing for me to do is to step back, reassess, and then slowly move forward and see where things go from there.
It’s funny because I clearly have feelings invested at this point. And from everything I just wrote you would assume that I was solely focused on this guy, wouldn’t you? I’m not. I’m seeing another guy on a regular basis and there is a third suitor in the mix as well. And guess what, if either of them tried to lock me down I would fucking panic but being on the other side of this conversation sent me into a panic of a different sort. I was really upset the following day. I needed someone to physically comfort me… so I invited the other guy over. But first, I went home, I cried, showered, got into my most comfortable yoga pants and cracked open a bottle of wine. The other guy came over, we drank wine, we had a few laughs and we cuddled and it was exactly what I needed and made me realize that there is no reason to rush things with either of them… I’m really lucky actually. They are both really great and neither of them are rushing me. I think that after being hurt and let down in the ways that I have been I just have a hard time getting past this stage of a relationship. All of my fears and anxiety creep up and I find a reason to end the relationship. I have to say, it is usually very easy for me to find a reason to run… but not this time. I’m at a slightly different stage with each guy yet none of them have given me a valid reason to end things. Even with the one that said he doesn’t want anything serious right now… that actually isn’t a valid reason for me to stop seeing him because I don’t even know if I am actually ready to be serious right now and it is somewhat possible we could end up being ready at the same time but for right now why not keep seeing each other? We have fun, we are attracted to one another, we respect each other, we have a great line of communication.
The purpose of this post (and all of my posts) is that writing these things out help me process my feelings and emotions and help me to make a better more thought out decision. I also want other people out there that are going through things similar to me to know that they aren’t alone and they aren’t crazy for feeling the way that they do. Life is hard and navigating modern dating culture can be confusing, frustrating and disheartening… It’s like having a second job (or third, if you are like me).
So in a year I feel that I’ve gotten absolutely nowhere in my romantic life, and truthfully, I really haven’t. But that’s ok. I overcame depression and anxiety in a big way and I am close to feeling like that little scrappy bad ass hopeless romantic that I used to be and I’m still trying to figure out what I want in a partner. My sister told me the other day that my standards are very high and that’s why I am still single. This isn’t a bad thing. My standards are as high as they should be. I might not be impressive on paper but I know that I am a phenomenal partner and plan to have a beautiful life individually and with a partner and most likely raise some awesome and well rounded children some day. I have so much love to give and some day I will find someone that will love me equally but until then I’m ok. I don’t need to go on anymore dead end dates.
I’ve deleted all my dating apps. I’m going to take a break from dating and focus on myself completely. I’ll repeat date the guys mentioned above but I’m not going to go out of my way to make time for them. I have other things I want to devote my time to.
Until next time – keep ya head up and ya heart open.