February 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
In an effort to keep me going, and to stop writing half ranty posts that embarrass me too much to publish, my darling roomie has written a guest post for this blog. From now on she’ll be Roomie A, since Mr. B and I now have three roommates, because DC is expensive. So without further ado, Roomie A:
I am almost 30 years old and I have no idea how to date. It’s not for lack of trying, though by that I definitively do not mean that I’ve never dated anyone. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. In the 10 years following my very first date ever, I had six long-term relationships. The collective time that I spent single during that decade was 18 months. The shortest period of time I’ve ever been single between LTRs was 12 hours. Yeah. That’s a thing that happened.
So I have a really good therapist.
I say that in jest because all I want in life is to make people laugh, but it’s also true. I developed an extremely unhealthy approach to dating relationships very early in life, and it’s taken pretty intense therapy to kick me of the habit. Without getting into the psycho-babble of why this happened, suffice it to say that my M.O. was to integrate myself into every aspect of my SigO’s life as immediately and completely as I could, spending as much time with them as humanly possible (and as they would allow), to the point that usually within a month or two, I was practically living at their house/they were staying at mine.
Don’t worry, I would warn them that this was going to happen. I wasn’t unaware that it was my thing. I just didn’t see anything wrong with it.
Well there was a lot wrong with it, starting with the fact that immediately and completely integrating yourself into someone else’s life often means giving up important aspects of your own person in order to make your life fit into theirs. This became such an integral part of my dating process that I ended up sacrificing more and more of my individuality and independence with each relationship, until finally by the last one, there wasn’t much left of me that was actually me. Or at least I didn’t know where I stopped and my SigO’s influences took over. I literally had no idea what my life looked like if I wasn’t building it around the man I was dating.
Once I discovered this, I did what every self-respecting 27 year old does – I freaked the fuck out, turned into kind of a selfish asshole for a while, and ruined one relationship and at least one friendship in my quest for self-reliance and independent maturity and self-awareness.
Fast forward two years… and I’m a lot better! I know myself far more intimately. I have my own independent life. I’m aware of my destructive habits and am working on identifying when I’m falling into old traps so that I can make better decisions. It’s pretty great. I like it.
And I finally got to a place where I felt comfortable getting back out into the dating world. The first two guys that I dated post-quarter life crisis fizzled out pretty quickly and never really settled into proper relationships. But then about six weeks ago I met M. (On the Interwebz, no less!) And he’s great. We really clicked and things are going really well so far. And almost more importantly, things are going really NORMALLY so far.
And I’ll be damned if I’m not completely floundering sometimes. I don’t know how normal adult-world dating works! B and I were discussing it during roomie time recently, and I reminded her that the old me would be practically living with the guy at this point. New me has wayyy too much going on to commit to that kind of chicanery. Plus, you know… it’s only been six weeks. We started out pretty slowly, I think. One date a week. Some texting in between. Maybe a phone call. In the past few weeks, things have picked up some. Some weeks we have two dates. Phone calls are more frequent. We’re slowly starting to meet each other’s friends.
I know that this is fairly standard. But still, sometimes I just sit and wonder, “Is this just how it goes?” Do we keep seeing each other once or twice a week until we either get engaged or break up? Is there a ‘ramp it up’ timetable? If we’re not seeing each other every day (because I’m being normal and not insinuating myself into his living situation), how does communication end up working? Is there a phone call expectation or protocol? FOR SERIOUS, GUYS. HOW DOES DATING WORK?
And then of course, I know the answer. The answer is that there is no answer. Or alternately, that there are as many answers as there are people in this universe. There is no “right” way to date. There’s just the way to date that makes you healthy and happy.
BUT THAT’S NOT REALLY HELPFUL RIGHT NOW.
Fortunately, the past few years have taught me the supreme importance of communication (in all things, not just in my relationships), so when I have questions about how things are or should be proceeding with M, I just ask him.
But I’m an adult. I feel like I should have a better grasp of this by now.