Sunday, July 05, 2009

You Live, You Learn

Well after 4 relationships that didn’t work out in the last year (I have a couple of months to go…so maybe I could hit 5 or 6 failed relationship by then and you didn’t think I had a relationship goal, did you?). I can safely say I have learned some things about dating and I made a list of what those things are…many of these I was aware of before my latest tour down relationship lane and they served me well. I thought I would share them. They are not a definitive study and I am (clearly) not a relationship expert, but I am sharing them none the less.

It had been 17 years since I dated, until last year. Dating has changed in some very basic ways that you should be aware of, the first of which is that you cannot assume the person you date is only seeing you. By that same token, they should not assume that you are only seeing them. You both have to have an up-front discussion about dating other people at the same time or being exclusive (and in at least one of my relationships, hope like hell they are honest about whether or not they are dating other people/reconnecting with one of their previous girlfriends).

Here are the things I observed over the past year:

1) Be honest with the person (or persons) you are dating. This does not mean that you have to disclose everything that you have done in the last 30 odd years of your life. It is perfectly acceptable to state that you don’t feel like you are in a point in your relationship where you feel comfortable answering the question.

2) Men approach dating and relationships in a fundamentally different way and timeline than women. Men often jump into a relationship with both feet (and both heads), they get excited, they say things too soon and most likely, will scare the hell out of you with their exuberance. I have come to believe they can’t help it. So, keep that in mind when they are making statements that seem premature for where you are in a relationship. For most men, the thrill of the chase is the best part of the relationship. Women seem to take more time to assess the relationship and where they want to go, so about the time you get comfortable with things…he starts to lose interest, because you have been “caught” and the excitement begins to wane. If a long-term relationship is in the cards for the both of you, this can be worked through, but don’t be surprised when the guy suddenly loses interest and breaks it off at this point.

3) If you aren’t happy or getting what you want out of the relationship, especially early on, you need to assess if you really want to continue dating this person. Female intuition is still something that is often scarily accurate.

4) This one, I will say, I fell down on so badly, it’s pathetic, but I finally got it. When a guy starts backing off and not calling or texting as often (I am not saying that you won’t hear from them, but there is a definite cooling off from his side), doesn’t find reasons to see you as often (without a good reason, such as they had to do an emergency rescue in Antarctica and the are really out of cell phone range for a few days)….they are done with you. Trust me on this one, they have found someone else or turned their dating profile back on or thinking being alone wasn’t so bad…D-O-N-E! (Don’t believe me? Go see ‘He’s Just Not That into You’.)

5) More often than not, as people in this politically correct age, we only state out loud, what we like about someone and keep the rest to ourselves. Men really tend to do this, when dating. They will tell you only the things they like about you and your relationship. They will rarely state, at least early on in the dating process, if there is something they don’t like (again, this is where your intuition comes in handy). You have to look for non-verbal cues to supplement how things are going. And don’t ever hesitate to have a good conversation with your partner about what they think or how things are going.

6) Make sure they are over their ex. Getting over any long-term, deeply committed relationship is difficult for everyone. Make sure the person you are dating is ready to be in a relationship with someone else (in this case, you). So, for example, if they are telling their ex’s parents that they still love their daughter, while making plans to go out with you…I would call this a major red flag. Run, don’t walk to the nearest exit.

If things don’t work out when dating, here are a few things to keep in mind…

I fell down hard on this one too, but learn from me on this, make a clean break (especially if you have not been dating for a long period of time). Get rid of their phone numbers, emails, Facebook, MySpace, address, mementos….whatever you have of the relationship and if you can’t bring yourself to actually permanently get rid of the stuff, dump it in a box somewhere and put it in a place where you can’t easily get to it. Reliving and rehashing and keeping in contact with the person, is only going to draw out the break-up process and make things more painful.

Most of all be happy with yourself, know your worth, remember the good and always learn something about what you want and need from a relationship. There are things you can’t control and it isn’t always going to work out with every guy you date. Good luck.

In the words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other”.

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posted by Ditsy Chick @ 9:09 AM |


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