I realized that I’ve posted some bad date stories but to be fair and to also (maybe) inspire some sense of optimism in my seemingly string of endless romantic bad luck I’ll write about a good date that I’ve had. I moved to a new place and I updated one of my social media accounts to show my new location. But let me take a few steps back. I’m a big fan of not having public social media pages. I like to be able to choose who sees what I post. There was a guy that I added for the very simple reason that he was cute and what he posted had substance. So for the past few years we didn’t interact but followed each other on social media. Fast forward to me coming to the new place. He commented on my post that he lived nearby and that we should hang out sometime. So a few weeks later we messaged and decided on a time and location. I was excited but had no idea what to expect. It was a public place but honestly you never know when you’re meeting someone in person for the first time. He was a good looking guy but for some reason I imagined that he was shorter than average because of the angles of the pictures he posted. Nothing wrong with that. So I arrived at the restaurant early and proceeded to order food and a drink. I didn’t know if he would decide to show up and I didn’t want to wait forever, plus I was hungry. But I picked a seat that faced the door so I would see him if he decided to come through. I’m enjoying my food and I see him walk past the windows and into the front door. Up to this point I had only swooned over a guy twice or so. Once when I walked past Brian McKnight in college and once when I was in Paris. This was the third time. I saw him and felt the air leave my lungs. I immediately felt my ears getting warm and I think my jaw literally dropped. Dude was fine. Not regularly fine where you can glance, smile, and keep it moving. The kind where you stop in your tracks and and stare while trying to decide if it’s worth it to take a picture to document the moment. He spotted me and came over to say hi and give me a hug before we moved to a different part of the restaurant. He ordered drinks and we started chatting. Great conversation that didn’t have those awkward silences. Found out that we had some things in common. I’m also mentally checking off things on my unofficial checklist of what I’d ideally like. Dude is passing with FLYING colors. Corporate with a twinge of bad boy? Check. Well read and well spoken? Check. Has a passport and travels? Check. Goals and ambition? Check. So I’m just enjoying the moment and focusing on the present. Another unaccompanied woman comes into the restaurant and sits close to us. She orders a complicated drink and frustrates the already swamped bartender. Then she starts to low key flirt with my guy. I’ll admit that I started to feel some twinges of annoyance and possessiveness but he shuts her down effortlessly. Bonus points for him. It was a good evening. We chatted for about 5 hours about anything and everything under the sun. It was never officially stated as a date and I was fully prepared to pay for my food and drinks and as the evening went on he started ordering drinks as we continued to talk. The bill came and he paid for it without complaint despite me half heartedly offering to pay for my portion. I’ve heard that if a guy pays than it should be considered a date. The bill was close to $200 bucks so I guess it officially counted as a date. He walked me to my car and walked on the outside curb. Great guy, good time, no complaints.
Relationships can be tricky things. There isn’t a “one size fits all” formula that will work everyone. People want someone who will complement them because opposites tend to attract and it’s hard to have a good discussion when someone agrees with you ALL the time. But sometimes a relationship can develop into something like a hostage situation. You’ve seen it. There’s the couple who are always fighting and are constantly breaking up and getting back together again. One partner is always trying to distance themselves but they can’t stay away. The other person knows exactly what buttons to push and what to say in order to have the other partner cave in and stay with them as an emotional hostage. It’s a cycle of dysfunction that has become comfortable. While some people can end a relationship and remain friends, the best way to end an emotional hostage type of relationship is to stop having any contact with the person. Change your number, find a new hobby, move somewhere else, etc. It can absolutely be done but it takes effort, determination, and action to move on with your life and leave the dysfunction behind.
This past week I had a chance to do one of my favorite things in the world–vacation. I honestly don’t know how people live life without taking a break from everything and recharging. There’s nothing like it in the world and as someone who tends to internalize everything, it’s good to take a break. For the first time in my life I took a cruise and it was amazing. There’s absolutely nothing that compares to sleeping to the rocking of the ship and the sounds of the waves from your open balcony. From the unlimited drinks to the cute guy I met, to swimming with dolphins, to snorkeling for the first time, the trip was a raging success. I’ll definitely be cruising somewhere again soon. I don’t usually post pictures but I’ll make an exception. Best trip of 2016!
Getting to know someone takes time. It’s not something that happens overnight or without some sort of effort. As a hopeless romantic of sorts,I love the idea of a whirlwind romance. But as a therapist, I’ve worked with couples who got together without taking the time to get to know each other. Relationships aren’t always easy to maintain and I think that distance tends to make them more complicated. Of course with modern technology you can communicate and see the other person on a frequent basis but it’s not the same as having the person be physically present. It takes a lot of time and energy to be in a relationship with someone that you don’t see often. I remember reading an article somewhere that said long distance relationships can work when they are for a specified period of time. They become harder to maintain when the time apart (weeks or months) is undetermined. I think that it’s especially hard if the relationship started online because you don’t have the experience of the initial chemistry in person and the process of building trust with someone you’ve never seen in real life is difficult. It’s not hard to feel alone in a long distance relationship and find yourself seeking out companionship that lives locally. I read a quote that said,”if you aren’t with the one you love, you’ll end up loving the one you’re with.” I think that’s a great example of how some relationships meet their demise. Absence can make the heart grow fonder but it doesn’t happen all the time.
I have a small rant tonight. Like many people, I tend to become annoyed when there is something that I don’t fully understand. I had something happen a few months back that annoyed but also puzzled me. Guess I should start from the beginning. So about 4 years ago when I decided to give online dating a real chance, I met this guy. I was using one of the more popular sites and his profile popped up. He messaged and we talked for bit. Nothing serious. He lived across the country and we chatted about our world views. We skyped once for a few minutes because I wanted to verify who he was. We had some very marked differences in perspectives but got along fairly well. For the next few years we messaged each other occasionally. He always started the conversations and we would chat about different things. Again, nothing serious. He was pretty much cemented into the friendzone and seemed ok. Earlier this year he started messaging me more. Again, non-serious conversations. Surface stuff about his current job and how he’s trying to finish up his last few classes in college. He mentioned driving over and hanging out for the weekend. We compared schedules and picked a weekend. Living the life that I live, I had a very strong hunch that he wasn’t really serious. So the weekend came and he cancelled last minute saying “something came up.” I wasn’t upset because I already had stuff planned based on the assumption that he would flake. Crisis averted. So he kept messaging me with small talk. Then out the blue the guy asked me when we would actually meet in person. I have to admit that it caught me a little off guard since the last attempt had been a bust. But I asked specifically why we needed to meet in person. He replied that we would find out if we had chemistry. At this point, I knew I had to be pretty clear. I pointed out the fact that we had been in contact for the past 3 years and he had never actually had a phone conversation with me. We skyped for a few minutes but for the most part our interactions were all online. At that point it seemed clear to me that we didn’t have any chemistry. I’m just not a fan of wasting my time—especially when it involves 3 hours of driving and gas. But I guess it was a blow he could not recover from and he immediately blocked and deleted me on social media. I thought it was a childlike action but we all deal with disappointment in different ways. Maybe he had been trying to get up the courage to make a move for a while and then I just shut him down. But the truth is that it is better to be honest initially than to go back and explain that you did something because you didn’t want his feelings to get hurt. I hate crushing hopes and dreams but you need to make an actual move in a time period of 3 years. What ever happened to men actually putting some effort into something instead of just assuming that you wanted to spend time with them? Oh well.. another one bites the dust.
My brother suggested that I watch this and must say that I agree with almost everything. There are so many times that people ignore red flags and they pay the price later. This one is more of a warning for guys. It’s a bit on the long side but kept my attention. We all know someone who fits the criteria for at least one red flag. I found myself watching and thinking of some of the people I know whose actions are portrayed at some point in the video. Emotional maturity isn’t always the easiest to find these days.
Like most unmarried young adults in my age bracket, I have a list of the things that I want in a significant other. Over the years this list has evolved from a paragraph to four pages single spaced in Times New Roman font. The list has been influenced by many things including past experiences, the observation of relationships and marriages, and the couples I’ve seen in therapy. It’s updated each year and undergoes a makeover with new details and ideas of what would be best. The thing about growing older is that it’s easier to become more set in your ways. As a result of this, the list of things you don’t want to put up with becomes longer and longer. There’s less room for flexibility because you feel like you’re on a countdown and you don’t want to have to try it multiple times to get it right. There’s less patience and a more purposeful intent. So the list sits there. Collecting dust on the hard drive of my computer. The funny thing is that while I rarely take the time to refer back to it, I still know and remember what it contains. The challenge with making such a list is that you have to leave room for reality. No one is going to be perfect and that’s something that I’ve always taken into consideration. Rules that were absolutes have not become preferences instead of deal breakers. Of course there’s the basics; love, respect, won’t beat me black and blue, and can be assertive. But then there are other things that would just make life easier in the long run. Everyone doesn’t come from a traditional two parent home and while that might make life a bit easier, it’s not something that I expect. The great thing about the list is that it lets you make decisions about people pretty easily. You can cut out a lot of unnecessary drama and save yourself heartbreak and time because you cut them off at the beginning because they didn’t meet criteria. One double edged sword in my case is that I’ve met my list. An individual who embodies all four pages single spaced of expectations, criteria, and preferences. Which, by the way, is not an easy feat. While I would never go as far to say that this person is the embodiment of perfection, I will say that they have some core character traits that align perfectly with the list. It’s been one thing to meet the list and another thing to interact with the list and have conversations. Does The List know that they are the list? No. And the jury is still out on whether or not they’ll ever get that information. However, maybe that’s the nature of the list. The fear of messing up a perfect fantasy with an imperfect reality that results in the admiration from a distance without action.