I have garnered a lot of advice from friends over the years on dating. I’ve absorbed it, dissected it, analyzed it, shared a lot of it with all of you, and incorporated some of it into my life. I can give good advice to others but when it comes to myself, I’m just as lost as the next gal.
I did some soul searching for about fifteen minutes the other day because, well that is all the time you need. Right? Okay, not really. I realized something. Even though my life appears to be social, thank you social media, I often times feel like an outsider from my peers especially compared to those who have long-lasting partnerships.
A man I dated told me that he feared that I would always think and be two steps ahead of him and he wasn’t sure he could keep up with me. I did not feel that way. I felt we were on the same page and building something great. I was wrong. I guess that I unknowingly intimate some men. Or maybe men get a hold of my blog and assume I will see right through them. Either way, it is the furthest thing from the truth. I happen to enjoy writing, learning from others, and sharing some of my and their experiences. It’s cathartic. I don’t always take my advice. So if men feel intimated by me, tough cookies!
I recently heard a short comedy bit by comedian Patrick O’Neil that drove me to write this post. It is a fishing analogy on dating women. Let me preface this by saying this is one guy’s opinion. Okay, it’s probably the opinion of a lot of guys. He starts off by saying all men are like sports fishermen. Men like to fish. When a man catches one that he is proud of, he wants to show it off to his friends to show them he can catch an amazing, beautiful and seductive creature. I embellished a bit with some adjectives. Stay with me. The man then takes a picture with the fish to have concrete proof that he was able to catch such an amazing (again, adjective threw in for effect) specimen. Once the novelty has worn off, and he is done with it, he then releases it back into the water. However, a pesky fish may jump back on the boat and flap around to get his attention. Is that what we women have become? Fish so desperate that we throw ourselves back on the boat gasping for air in hopes a fisherman will pick us, filet us and eat us for dinner? Hmmm, the water does not look so bad, does it? Swim, little fish, swim!
So that got me thinking. What should I do so that I don’t become just another fish in that big, cold ocean looking for a random fisherman? Here are five things to remember when trying to keep your scales intact:
1. You are my first.
If you are someone’s first online dating experience, you may want to hold onto to your hat, purse, and undies. When you are the first in anything, know that you may not be the last.
I find that for some men, men and online dating apps is the equivalent to kids in a candy store. “Do you mean all I have to do is swipe my index finger right, connect with a woman, banter a bit, take them on one date and they are mine? Wahahahahaha.” Okay, it’s not that sinister, I know. But to prove my point, you have to admit dating apps work for the master player who wants to “date” a load of women. My inquisitive nature goes immediately to questioning and logistics. How do they afford it? Do they have a dating budget? Do they only want a string of hookups? Do they have a fancy spreadsheet to keep track or a rating system? For the shy guys or guys without game, it may be a little different, but they too can feel like a player on these apps.
For women like me, the appeal of dating apps is losing its luster. I’m just tired of putting forth energy into people who have no intention of getting to know me. I am a good sport. I’m an easygoing gal, and I try to have a fresh perspective each time I meet someone new. I realize it’s all part of it but it’s exhausting. Not to sound like a cheesy advertisement but this is what I think of online dating lately:
You too can date someone all wrong for you by just swiping right. And wait there is more! Are you tired of meeting people and having them court you in a way you’ve been accustomed? Are you tired of really getting to know someone? Are you tired of having someone NOT ghost you and make an effort? Are you tired of building a meaningful relationship? Try this new dating app — Everything you could ever imagine in the palm of your hand. Literally.
Oh sure it’s easy to browse and select someone you are attracted to, but does the convenience make us somewhat complacent? The days of, “you will never meet someone sitting at home on your couch” are long gone. It’s easy with dating apps to do just that. That’s not to say you won’t meet the same types in a bar, just now you can drink less doing it and weed out the folks sitting or standing in between you. I am considering going the old fashioned route and have my parents prepare my dowry and make an arrangement.
2. Don’t sleep with him too soon.
No one wants to feel used or discarded. It’s not good for anyone’s psyche. I hear two different rules of thought when it comes to having sex with someone you are newly dating. The first is that, after a certain age, no one cares as long as it’s consensual. The second is the more traditional approach that he will lose all respect for you if you sleep with him too soon. Men like a challenge, and if you make it too easy for them, you set the stage. I heard this line recently; a man knows you are into him if you sleep with him right away. Really? That is some line. I was unaware that was the only measurement these days.
When you are attracted to a man, it may be difficult to resist him once you are lost in the moment. But moments are fleeting. Following his lead may not align with how you want things to go on a deeper level. Since the beginning of time, most if not all men have an agenda to get women into “bed.” Once they do, some jump ship because the mystery is gone. The hunt is over. The kill is… you get my point. As one of my male friends will tell you, if that is all a man wants from you, it doesn’t matter if it’s on date three or date thirty. Plus take into account if you aren’t ready, feel at all uncomfortable or have doubts, it will probably be a less passionate and non-idyllic situation for both of you. Women, you don’t have to say yes because you don’t want to lose him. No matter how tempting he may be to you, you have to do things in your own time. If it does happen and he walks away, don’t beat yourself up, learn from it, move on and make sure you do and get what you want the next time.
3. Don’t get too attached so quickly.
I have played hard to get, and I regretfully admit I have been the overzealous one. I’m not good at playing the damsel in distress. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to cook me dinner, help me redesign my patio, move my furniture, wash my car, untie me from a railroad track, I’m not opposed to any of that. One thing I know about me is when I like someone, I tend to go all in. Which I’ve learned by falling on my face countless times, is not ideal. It’s not desperation it’s hopefulness that this time it’s going to be different. Maybe this time he is a good one. Maybe this time I got it right. Why is the song “This Time” from the Broadway show, Cabaret playing in my head right now?
Just to drill that home, when I meet someone I like, which is rare these days, and he reciprocates, I tend to want to explore the possibilities and give him a shot. I’m not a fan of dating multiple people at one time because I’m not good at that balancing act. So, the problem is once I enjoy someone’s company and want to get to know him, it’s difficult not to want to learn more and spend time with him. I’ve learned that you have to live your life and not put too much of your energy into that person. More than likely he is not producing the same level of interest. It’s best not to get too attached and just flow with it. Otherwise, you are in a constant flux of starts and endings.
It’s not a crazy thought to say that maybe we women need to stop putting so much energy into a man until he proves he deserves it.
4. It’s okay to feel disappointed.
Get over it. He isn’t right for you. You are an amazing catch. His loss. Sound familiar? These lines tend to be some of the standard language friends use to boost you up when a guy disappears on you or breaks it off. Assuming I’m not alone, it’s okay to feel hurt when someone you like drops you like a hot potato or moves on without so much as a phone call. You are not made of stone. It can be tough, and it is perfectly acceptable to feel hurt and discouraged for a brief time. Then put your big girl panties on and move on princess.
If you are like me, you want to react and ask questions. But in the big scheme of things, what good does that do? Other than open yourself up to ridicule or more hurt feelings? It’s frustrating when you like someone, and he writes you off, toys with your emotions or tries to play you. Not to sound like the friend posse, but he is not worth it. You don’t want a man who leads you on, no longer has feelings for you, or is so selfish that he does not consider your feelings.
We sometimes try one last ditch effort to hold on or try again. But if one of you is done, you are done. Holding onto the past or trying again, doesn’t usually work out. It’s right, or it’s not. If he broke it off with you, he may regret it one day but he may not. He actually did you a favor.
When rejection happens, it can be heartbreaking, hurtful and disappointing. It can also play with your ego and make you doubt your attractiveness and value. It’s so important not to take rejection to heart and understand that there is a reason it did not work. You may never know the real reason, but know there is one and it probably has very little to do with you. Don’t hold onto resentment because that only hurts you.
5. Don’t rush.
There is no rulebook. It’s so hard to keep up with what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior these days especially for people ages thirty plus. I think the older you get, the trickier it gets. Maybe that is more of an issue for women than men. What are people looking for and what do they want out of a relationship these days? Any opinions? Do people even want a relationship?
With online dating, it’s a whole new world. It’s not your parents Match.com anymore. Too soon? Match did launch in 1995. Wow! And now with the countless dating apps, dating has evolved into a free for all, and it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the players from those looking for a loving relationship. Couple that to life moving at lightning speed, no wonder people expect relationships to develop at a rapid pace and let them fizzle just as fast.
I’m learning that it’s okay to take a step back, slow things down and take the time to build something substantial. Otherwise, all bets are off. Don’t feel pressure to move things along. Certainly, don’t feel pressure from a man to move too fast and don’t pressure a man to give you a commitment right out of the gate. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are or how much chemistry you share, if one of you is not ready, forces it, or wants it more than the other, issues will surface sooner or later. There is no need to rush due to the fear of ending up alone. If you rush into the wrong situation, someone is bound to get hurt and that someone is probably you.
All in all, the only thing you can do is to be yourself, mistakes and all. The right person will understand and let things evolve the way they are supposed to evolve. Give yourself the time you need and just keep swimming until the right fisherman comes along.
By | Gina C.