I’ve had a hard time writing this post–writer’s block I guess you could say. I’m not lacking for horrific dating stories; I have plenty of those. But I wanted to take this week to talk about something you can read and say to yourself “I’m so glad it’s not just me. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way and has had this experience.”
So, I’m shelving a story I was going to write about a douche named Walker to instead explore a phenomenon we’ve all experienced at some time or another.
Do I actually like this person or do I just like the attention?
Just yesterday I was chatting with one of my coworkers who’s been dating a guy for a little over three months now. This is basically her inner dialogue:
“Do I have definite feelings for this guy, enough to keep dating him, or am I holding myself back from meeting someone I’d actually want to end up marrying? If I’m questioning it so much does that mean it’s not right? Or am I just not giving the relationship a chance? Am I dating him because we have a connection or because I like having a boy to talk to?”
Ask these questions as many times as you want, but each time you shake the magic 8 ball it’s going to say a different answer.
This particular debate–The Debate–can apply across the entire dating spectrum. Maybe you’re like me and you’re not dating a guy, but talk to one all the time, or like my coworker who’s dating a guy, but not sure if it’s serious, or even if you’re someone who’s been with their boyfriend for five years, but have the nagging voice in the back of your head questioning if he’s actually the one or if you’re just comfortable.
There are different ways to cope with The Debate. Some count on the fates to decide. This girl pays attention to her horoscope and thinks it’s a sign when her SO’s apartment number is her lucky number. Some take things completely into their own hands. This girl takes a step back from her SO to reevaluate her feelings on her own terms. Some open up The Debate to their SO to make it a mutual discussion. This girl writes a pros and cons list and sends a text novel explaining her feelings. Still others yet are a mix of all of the above or something else entirely.
So is there a solution, one correct answer, to this inner turmoil?
No. But there are certain guidelines you should follow, at least in my opinion.
1. Don’t be a dick. If you know in your heart of hearts that you’re just talking to him because you like the attention, tread lightly and put yourself in his shoes.
2. Don’t rush to conclusions. It may not be love at first sight. Do you act like your real, true self the first time you meet someone? Probably not. So don’t jump to conclusions about him either.
3. On the flip side, trust your gut instinct. If you don’t feel a connection, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what’s missing, don’t force it just because you feel guilty and obligated.
4. Find the good in your situation no matter where you are in the dating world. Single? Appreciate the fact that you can flirt with anyone you want to at the bar. Casually dating? Enjoy collecting the stories and dressing up for first dates. In a relationship? Find comfort in having a consistent big spoon and back scratcher.
5. Do something to make you feel like you have some measure of control over your life. All of these things seem so contradictory and the gray area is overwhelming. Go on a walk and listen to a new podcast, or pick up painting, or start a new workout… Just do something that you have control over so you can calm down and not feel like it’s all just impossible. Cut yourself some slack, you can’t have everything figured out all the time.
Lilith/she who needs constant attention