I’ve been thinking about why my relationships go from zero to 60 and then crash and burn in such a short time period, and I think I’ve come up with a valid theory. I think what I’m looking for out of dating and what the men (I use the term loosely) I date are expecting out of the experience is not the same thing. Dating sites tend to have a section where you answer questions about that, to help you find someone who is looking for the same thing you are, or avoid the ones who are not.
But I don’t really have much luck on those either… Mostly because I’m a little old fashioned and prefer actually meeting in public. Even sites like HowAboutWe.com where it is supposed to be focused on the date itself to get you meeting IRL seem to stall out because maybe I don’t look quite right, or I don’t know how to present myself as anything other than the opinionated bitch I am.
I mean that in the most badass way possible. I’m embracing the word “bitch” the same way gay men have embraced that horrible f-word that I dislike so much, or the way some African Americans throw that offensive n-word around. There’s this idea that by embracing something negative you take the power away from those who would use the word to hurt you. I guess that’s what I’m doing.
However you take the word, it’s true: I am very opinionated! I like to discuss, even debate my ideas. I like a man who isn’t threatened by me having an opinion, but is also willing to respect that opinion enough to not laugh at me and discount it the way some have done in the past.
Back to the point…
To me dating is about the process of finding the person with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. If you’ve made it past date one, that is my end goal. Doesn’t mean I’ve chosen you as my future husband, but it means I see potential in you to be that.
Can we have fun while I figure out if you’re the one? Sure. And if I decide you’re not the one, but I enjoy your company, I might want to continue having fun with you… Take that however you want to, because I mean that in most ways you can take the phrase “have fun.”
If you kept up with this blog at all, you’ve learned that I’m not exactly a prude when it comes to romance. But I’m certainly not easy either! I like a challenge, and I like to be challenging.
And I am exceptionally picky when it comes to who I will actually take that particular step with. Where it gets hinky is that once I’ve taken a relationship to the bedroom stage, I don’t like it to just end. I’m choosy for a reason. I usually don’t let it get to that stage unless I’m relatively certain that we’re going to explore that stage fully, and often.
In order to even get to that step, you have to be able to keep my attention in a discussion that lasts at least an hour or more. I expect you to meet my qualifications for an Intellectual Alpha Male. This includes being able to have a discussion with me that shows that you respect me and can have a debate without being purposefully demeaning. I don’t take it well when people assume that I’m just emotional because I’m a woman. Or worse, that I’m incapable of intellectual thought.
So, let’s say you make it past the “conversation test,” and we’ve gone on a few dates to get to know each other, and even taken it to the bedroom stage. Does that mean I’m planning our wedding?
For the love of whatever you deem holy, NO, it does not!
It means you’ve made it one step closer to me thinking that’s a possibility. And that’s IT. Nothing more, nothing less.
When I was younger (like first attempt at college younger), I was quick to jump to that stage. But my mother got married at 17, and by the time I was a junior in college, half of the girls I knew from high school were married or in serious, long term, marriage track type relationships, so it’s how I thought it was done.
I wanted to be married and working towards kids. I wanted really badly to be genetically related to someone, to look like someone so that people didn’t question whether or not we belonged to one another, like people so often do when they see me with my short, blonde haired, green eyed adoptive mother.
But I’ve grown out of that. After being proposed to at least twice, and actually saying yes to at least one of them…even though we didn’t go through with it…I’ve learned to be more sure of what I want.
Right now, what I want is someone who sees me as a priority. Someone who thinks of me and lets me know he’s thinking of me without having to be prompted.
And not only for sex!
And not to fix me.
I want to feel appreciated, wanted, cared for. I want that feeling I had when the Boy went offshore the first time and we flirted and he wrote stories to keep me thinking of him and he let me know he couldn’t wait to see me when he got back, because the thought of me excited him.
I want someone who thinks to get me a little gift for no reason. Not something expensive, but something with sentimental value, even if it’s just a free bookmark from someplace he happened upon while on a business trip that he thought I’d enjoy. Or better yet, a coaster from a place he’d think I’d like on the same business trip.
I want someone who thinks about me.
Not all the time… that’s obsessive… but I want to know that I matter to someone. That I have a purpose in someone’s life, and that if I suddenly disappeared, they would miss me… Is that so much to ask?
I’ve never really had that. Not in a healthy way. Both the guys who proposed were a teensy bit abusive, and mildly obsessive. The one who proposed on Valentine’s Day, he called me 5 times a day when he was stationed away from me. That’s obsessive. The other one, wouldn’t let me out of his sight unless I was with people whom he trusted to keep an eye on me. Again, not healthy but obsessive.
That’s the reason both of them failed to keep me.
See? Even when I think marriage is definitely the next step, I still need space.
But I’m still looking for that person who I want to spend forever with. And if I date you, that means you’re basically auditioning for the part.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to push you to move faster than you’re comfortable with. And if that’s what you think is happening, call me on it! I may think we’re at a different stage than you. I’m okay with pulling back… just don’t ask me to completely go backwards all the way to the beginning.
The Boy did that, and even though I keep thinking I’ve done so, my feelings are still a little tender where he’s concerned. I still get that feeling of being slighted, which technically shouldn’t happen if we’re just friends.
Then again, when you say you’re going to do something and you don’t, it sets me off, no matter who you are! I watched my parents struggle with that very thing, and I’m fairly certain they hate each other now… though, they are trying to work it out (with my help).
So how do I find a guy who is willing to date, knowing that the end goal is marriage, but who can also understand that I’m not in a hurry and thus not going to push for that? Because I understand that marriage requires both parties to be ready to take that step for it to work…
Ugh! I’m frustrated with the male of the species in general today, so I am probably not going to find any answers any time soon. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on the subject from other people (even the Boy chimed in). If you have a different view on dating, please share! I’d love some questions, comments, or advice.
“If you are dating IMO is both to have fun with each other and possibly find the one. To me when I was dating…if I went on more than three dates with you, I feel like I had saw enough in you to have potential.”
“I’m looking for chemistry and compatibility.”
“If I’m dating it’s with the intention of finding someone to share my life with. That’s not to say I haven’t dated just to date but I kind of feel like I’ve outgrown it (personally, I mean, I know everyone is different!) I’m much more intentional about who and how I invest my time and heart now.”
“Companionship. For companions you have the option of being romantic with.”
“The reason we have the desire for sex is procreation. For a man to date around increases his number of offspring. For a woman, ‘finding a man’ and holding on to him increases the odds of her offspring being provided for.”
“Dating is just like taking a sample at the grocery store. You’re not going to buy anything new unless you’ve had a taste.”
“In high school it certainly felt like a desperate search for the one. However I’m slightly less dramatic now and for the last few years it’s been more about enjoying each other’s company, having someone to confide in, and it’s a bonus when they can console you with kisses or, sure, other physical relations.”
“Even with the very first “girlfriend” I had in second grade, I always thought I was going to marry her. That wasn’t encouraged or discouraged by my parents. The couple (literally twice) times I dated a girl I didn’t see a future with, it ended very badly and we were both unhappy with the outcome.”
“For me it’s always been to find the one. Even in college and early twenties, when I wasn’t looking to get married, I still wanted to date someone whom I could have a future with when the time was right.”
“It’s to meet people who may share the same life path. If that be casual sex or marriage and something in between. The hope is to find someone compatible with your path.”