I have this friend (I really do) who’s always singing a song about being a “challenge” and how mystery is the key to seduction. I haven’t written in a while, did you expect I’d come back talking about anything else but my constant curiosity about what works and what does not in dating and relationships? Clearly, my confusion has ceased to dissipate but I’m more comfortable about where I am headed these days.
I have a schedule that allows me little time for fun even less time for dating. There is a level of participation to assure someone that you’re interested and I sometimes find myself unable to cater to that need. Sometimes though, I’ll meet a person that makes it easier or find that maybe they’re worth shifting my schedule around for because I really dig them. I like when this happens because it reminds that though entirely jaded there’s part of me that truly wants to settle down one day, and do that whole monogamy thing again. Maybe. The more I date, the more I see myself becoming comfortable with bending the rules a bit and embracing change from my behavioral norms like making time. According to above friend though, showing too much interest may be the wrong approach. There’s nothing more confusing than the male mind but in the spirit of trying new things I took her advice.
Eagerness may potentially frighten because women and men think and feel at an entirely different pace, have different triggers and convey emotions in two completely different ways. Too much, too soon has never worked for me though I watch these movies like “He’s Just Not that Into You” and read books where the last page is always a happy ending despite the female’s irrational behavior throughout. The reality is that nothing about dating is so black and white. I’ve noticed when I playfully adapted “mystery” that I wasn’t alone in my eagerness. The level of interest is noticeably different when you’re a bit of a challenge to reach and I personally felt like the playing field was leveled. So you see, sometimes change is good but is it really an approach per say? I think it’s more of a tactic than anything.
There’s nothing wrong with testing new tactics from time to time. If the end result of anything does not equate to your own personal happiness then yes, something has to change. Which is why I decided to listen to a friend’s advice for once. I look at a lot of relationships and it’s more than clear that some people are just afraid to be alone, maybe even me. Which is why often we settle. I think saying, “I’m just trying to make it work” in the early stages of any relationship is never a good sign. In the beginning, it should be easy and fun. You should be just trying to keep your hands off of one another and trying to not be too distracted by thinking about each other so often. You make it work when you’re years in, maybe even married and maybe even have children. That is when the dynamic of the relationship changes and when things truly become harder, when it’s not just about you. I’ve been down the “making it work” path in dating. A path that is paved with unconscionable compromises and uncontrollable loss of one’s self. A path I am not interested in traveling down again. Change your tactics without changing who you truly are. That is the trick.
Letting go of Labels.
I think realizing the level of control we actually have in terms of how things end up is largely how we eventually find exactly what we want. For a bulk of my life, I’ve looked at the relationships around me and the relationships I’ve been in as being the only examples of true happiness. We’re living in a different age, singles don’t need separate sections at restaurants like smokers and we’re not that uncommon. There’s no written rule about settling down by a certain age either, though at times our families, friends. our faith and even this society push “happiness” labels on us. Happiness comes in all forms and though the dogs may bark, I’m finding less of a desire to satisfy the masses and more of a desire to satisfy myself however I want to and without any regret. After all, it’s my own happiness that matters most.
I used eagerness merely as an example of how we tend to pick ourselves apart and think, “what did I do wrong” when a relationship ends or someone we’re dating loses interest. Some things just aren’t meant to be and it’s really that simple. We are made up of layers, created over time by our experiences in life. Our pain, our joys our love and our loss of love all play a part in who we eventually become as a person. Yes, there is a great deal of games in dating. Is it mystery or being a challenge that does it? Is it eagerness and making time? No. I believe it’s just being you. The right person will come along and like you exactly the way you are. New tactics and thinking differently is important for self awareness and growth, but never forget or change who you are for anyone. That I am certain, is the wrong approach. If asked by anyone what does it, my answer is now confidence.
Be you, whether it’s extraordinary one day and irrational another, just be you and make no apology.