This Monday is dedicated to the one meme I’ve seen flash across my timeline the most…
“Dating in your 20’s: Do they like me? Will they call? Dating in your 30’s: Are we doing this or not? I got shit to do.”
After seeing this what feels like dozens of times, I felt the urge to do some research. I asked my single friends in their forties and fifties if the aforementioned statement was valid or not. Every last one of them called bullshit as well.
Why? The most secure of men and women want to be liked, appreciated, and loved. We are wired that way and weren’t designed to be alone. Everyone also has insecurities that stem from putting one’s self out there and the feelings not being reciprocated. We are all seeking validation in the form of appreciation from those that we care about.
In the present day, we are a product of our unique experiences. Our outlook on life is shaped by what we have been through. Some of them are great experiences; others hurt like hell and it takes a very long time to heal those wounds. When things end, it feels like the end of the world; but at one point or another, we try again. We want to experience those highs again, with more appreciation for them because of the lows. Your brain literally collects all of the data and locks away most of the hurt into our unconscious memory for the sake of us not dwelling on them.
Nonetheless, those painful and traumatic experiences still show up in how we interact with others. We meet someone new and put up the best representation of ourselves. Even the most cynical of people (read: me) go into the next time around hoping things turn out differently as we put our best foot forward.
Usually in this beginning phase, there is the euphoric feeling that makes meeting a new person exciting. It’s virtually all optimism. After telling your closest friends and confidantes “I met this girl/guy,” we get to thinking. The old shit seeps from the back of our minds and it comes out. Hell, it’s all there in the beginning, as well. Your biggest emotional insecurity might as well be tattooed on your forehead. It is part of the reason why we attract the kinds of people that we do. If you have a “type,” that’s who winds up biting because we are subliminally throwing bait to a certain kind of person. At first, neither we or our counterparts paying attention to the proverbial adornment above our eyebrows because they too, are experiencing said euphoria.
Time ensues and we establish trust. Or we want to; but we aren’t quite sure if the person is worthy of it. Or they are, and we are afraid to because of our pasts. Walls get put up and sometimes we run. The person who stands out is generally the one who chisels through the wall without getting tired because they are continuously being encouraged and appreciated for doing so. It establishes a bond rooted in trust.
No matter how old we are, men and women still have that awkward teenager in them that needs to be catered to. Sometimes that itch gets scratched by hanging with our friends in an immature fashion that in no way, shape, or form should happen but does. It manifests itself in many ways.
Many of the “situationships” we find ourselves getting into are because of this. There’s the people-usually men-who were rejected by that one girl in high school and sleeps around until they find someone worthwhile, leaving a trail of tears behind them. There’s the person who fills their voids and fears of loneliness by getting themselves into temporary circumstances-hoping they aren’t but in retrospect, look back and knew that’s exactly what they were doing-because nobody likes being alone. There is the person who wants the courtship process to develop organically and be friends first, not realizing that what they want is an ideal and not at all how men or women operate. All of this perpetuating the myth of “I got shit to do;” but really there’s a virtually impenetrable wall put up.
Time-tested relationships go from “I wonder if they like me” to “I wonder if they still like me.” No matter how confident a person is, they know that there is someone out there who is better than them. The mindset is “I may not be perfect; but am I still perfect enough for you?” Husbands and wives accidentally reject their partners all of the time…and the fears can cause the other to act out in a manner that is rather childish.
To be a little personal, I definitely have a “type.” In a few relationships, I have been reminded that I do. One girlfriend felt as if she was just the next in line, was she just the one who bit on my bait; and even if I think she’s the most amazing girl that there are prettier girls with less hangups and more in common. No matter how many times I told her otherwise, I still would have to prove it through actions. Even if I thought it was ridiculous, I understood. There have been others who didn’t quite fit the “type” and it seemed as if they were constantly searching to see if I found them desirable. Someone I dated on and off for years was a dramatic train wreck and knew it; but in all honesty, that was something I loved about her.
With some of those same women mentioned above, I wondered whether or not I was enough. I like to think I’m good looking and pretend as if I have my shit together; but I have wondered whether or not I made enough money, was established enough, if I could provide for them, and many other little things.
This is my personal solution. I recognize you got “shit to do.” I personally try to treat those I’m into is “You and I are both fine enough to have many other options…so I’m gonna do my best to make sure I remain the one you choose.” Sometimes it works out and others, it doesn’t.
Ps: We all have a petty side. That in itself is acting like a teenager.