Why I’ve Decided To Try Casual Dating04 / 20 / 2019
Confession: I’ve never done the “seeing multiple people at the same time and seeing what happens” thing. With the exception of a handful of dates than never went anywhere, I’ve mostly been dating like a middle schooler.. “I like you, you like me, now we go together.” 😂
In the past, as soon as I was interested in a man, he had my full undivided attention. 🥰 I was completely loyal and monogamous without any commitment on his part.
The problem was that it created an unhealthy attachment to the outcome. I’d approach every interaction with an attractive man with the attitude of “I really hope this works out” instead of “let’s just see what happens”. It created a feeling of anxiety while I waited to be “chosen” or “found”. Proverbs 18:22 translated through my church upbringing taught me that men did the finding.. and women were supposed to stay busy preparing themselves to be found. This belief made every experience with an attractive man feel like I was at an interview or audition.
If I wasn’t chosen, it confirmed my “not good enough” story. It had to be because I said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, was the wrong thing.. etc. 😞
If I was chosen, I could breathe a sigh of relief. I was finally “good enough”.
Now.. Was he the best possible fit for ME? That’s the question I SHOULD have been asking. But I’d never given myself permission to really explore and hone in on my preferences. I didn’t know that my deepest desires actually mattered. As long as he could check a few basic boxes, being chosen and treated well and that was all I needed. We could work through whatever challenges came up. I’m sure that’s fine for people who are content with a decent relationship. But I desire an AMAZING relationship.
This is what I got instead:
A month in, we’d be head-over-heels in love, rushing into a committed relationship.. A few months later, there would be signs of incompatibility. Pertinent conversations finally came up and I’d get that cringy “Uh-oh” feeling in my gut when the man would speak his truth. Sometimes there would be things that I required from a relationship that he was unable or unwilling to provide. And sometimes his personality just got on my damn nerves. Over time, I’d realize that I loved him for how he treated me, not for who he was.. and I’d start planning my exit strategy. I’ve left a string of broken hearts in the aftermath of that pattern.
So now I’d like to explore the details and nuances of a man’s personality that really light me up instead of rushing to “You’re attractive, consistent and nice to me. MUST BE LOCKED DOWN NOW”. I’m not giving out any more brownie points for the meeting the basic requirements of a relationship.
I would also love to explore what it feels like to date and actually be 100% unbothered by the outcome. How would I show up differently if I didn’t feel the need to prove myself? It’s one thing to TELL myself “This doesn’t matter.” It’s another thing to KNOW “I have another date next week, so my future doesn’t hinge upon whether or not you like me.” In that scenario, the pressure would disappear and it would feel safe to take my filter off.
This is not about “having options” or having men duke it out for my affections a la “The Bachelorette”. I don’t need any of that. It’s literally “Hey, let’s hang out and take off our masks and see if we connect and have fun together.” If we do, GREAT! Let’s keep exploring. If we don’t, GREAT! It just means that it wasn’t a great fit, and now we have more information that we can take with us in the future. Either way, it says nothing about our value as a human. I’m grateful for the experience.
And of course, when someone stands out as being an AMAZING fit.. and the feeling is mutual.. and I can maintain that same level of interest and excitement for a few months, then I’ll consciously choose to be in an exclusive relationship again.
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