It’s so easy to get caught up in the politics of dating.
Is it too soon for this? What do they want? Should I say this? Should I leave it? How much is too much? Should I be angry or cool about this? Is he being an arsehole? Is this normal? WHY IS THIS NORMAL? SHOULD I BE ASKING SO MANY QUESTIONS AND STRESSING ABOUT THIS WHEN IT’S MEANT TO BE FUN? WHAT’S A QUESTION? I’VE FORGOTTEN.
Just… fuck that. Genuinely fuck that.
I’ve dated almost solidly for 18 months now (say what you want, but in big cities like London the dating scene is particularly brutal. 18 months is a long time on a brutal scene). I’ve grown tired of all the questions and debates that come with it. And as a sufferer of anxiety and one or two other related issues, I’ve resolutely made up my mind about things I will and won’t do or be. I can’t keep putting myself through the bad stuff.
Recently, an ex called me out of the blue five months after being short with me and not bothering to rearrange the dates he cancelled. He’d been a bit of a tosspot, as we are all guilty of now and then. I gave him three chances not to be a bellend, and after the third I deleted his number and didn’t respond to him – even when I knew it was him drunk texting some weeks on, or sending stupid ambiguous apologies. I resigned myself to the fact that there were simply nicer people to see and that this behaviour was not what I’d stand for. I imposed my own rules (and they, obviously, will be different to yours. This is about what YOU will and won’t endure). Cue my surprise when he asked to meet and talk. Without boring you with detail, I’d been on his mind, he tried to explain why he couldn’t explain the freakout and consequential dickhead-ery. And I learnt a lot about why I’m really ok about being true to myself and what I want from a relationship one day.
Why force it?
Whenever I’ve tried adapting my approach to what I think will suit someone’s temperament, I soon learn that there’s just no hard and fast rule. Nothing is certain, nothing is sure to work. The best you can do is put out there what you “need” from someone, and look out for the ones who get that.
If I had changed my behaviour to make him feel comfortable (see more below), we may well have stayed together instead of having this five month gap. But then I would be different. I’d know how to keep him interested, but if I’ve spent all my energy focussed on him and not on what I can give to enhance the relationship, I’ll end up spent. And when I’m spent, I’m not great to be around. No one is.
I will not act like a player just to keep you interested
The cause of the weird behaviour, it transpired, was my lack of being a “challenge”. This is not the first time I’ve heard this. I have an uncanny knack for slipping into people’s lives like I’ve always been there – I don’t really do awkwardness. And so it freaks boys out sometimes. Fair enough – I get that.
Will I change this though? Will I fuck. I don’t say this to be temperamental or to make an outstanding point. I probably would be more successful at dating if I took on more of a playaaaa mentality. But I won’t. Because when the tables are turned, a “bad boy” is exciting for two weeks before it really impacts me. I don’t like feeling as if I have to compete with a lineup. I don’t enjoy cryptic communication. I don’t like having to play games and feel on edge all the time.
That kind of dating makes me tired, anxious and sad. If it works for you that is grand – keep at it and have all the fun. But I’m not going to put out there what I’m not willing to get back from someone I like. And if someone else doesn’t get that, they’re missing out on my good bits (lolz).
Disagreements allow for thinking time
Hit a bit of a wall of silence? Let it happen. I will never pretend to understand how anyone else’s mind works, but I have learnt that I’m rarely forgettable. I’d like to think that that’s because there’s only one girl like me, and I stay true to myself. And that lingers.
Being true to yourself yields greater admiration than you think
Continuing on from the above point, someone who doesn’t give in to expectations that they can’t or don’t want to adhere to can be mightily frustrating and truly admirable. Lots of them will come back to tell you as such, whether they work out in the long term or not. Don’t change yourself because things got tough. If you can’t both work through it, you weren’t meant for the long term anyway. If you are, you’ll have a lot more respect for each other when you come out the other side.
I’m not saying “never compromise” or “if he’s not perfect, ditch him”. Neither of these things are sensible suggestions to anyone about anything. But don’t lose sight of who you are and what you want. Stay true to yourself – it’s always going to work out for the best in the end. Do you think this is the way to go?
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