Vulnerability In Dating…

The early stages of any budding relationship are fraught with vulnerabilities. How we deal with these plays a huge part in the success of the relationship. Whether it’s in the beginning with the whole will he ask me out, or the why didn’t she kiss me at the end of the date, or the why hasn’t he texted to say he had a good time, and so forth. Each little step is riddled with uncertainties. Different people’s expectations, timelines, and interests.

It’s usually easier when one of you is pursuing the other relentlessly, though that push typically creates its own pull starting the relationship off with one of you being in the masculine role, the other in the feminine role (regardless of your genders). The in-your-face pursuit has a strong outward display of desire. However, from experience it is not necessarily authentic, sometimes it’s more about the game and chase than real feelings of interest.

However, what about those times when one or both of you are a little shy? Those small dances around things that make it difficult for either of you to distinguish if the other is really interested. Maybe it’s that awkward pause at the end of the first date. Neither of you is good at taking the risk to just make the move. Perhaps you’ll beat yourself up over it the next few days at the missed opportunity. Or perhaps the lack of a kiss was because one of you wasn’t interested. Hard to say.

In these early stages, the lack of open and honest communication is prevalent. It’s too soon, both people are still figuring things out. There are so many unknowns within the date, things that were said, actions, parts of stories that don’t fully make sense without more information, and so forth. All of this makes trying to read the other person’s actions near impossible. The worst is that out of any hope for deciphering we tend to think about actions according to what we know, categorizing people (whether accurately or inaccurately) to try to understand.

However, no person is exactly alike and given how different we all are, it’s hard to extrapolate meaning based on a tiny sample of data points. In other words, the early stage of dating is flying blind. The more we have in common with the person or the more familiar we are with their behaviors, the more likely we can read them (or just “think” we can read them). Though that can be dangerous too, assuming we understand them when we really don’t.

I still remember this guy I dated in New York who would regularly say – I know your type, you’re all about X, Y, and Z. Each time so wrong it just made me wonder if he actually knew me or was even investing the time and open mindedness to see me for me. I was lucky he was so vocal about his bad assumptions as many people probably make these faulty accusations, keep them to themselves, and then make decisions based on them. Of course, he never listened and learned about me, but at least I knew what he was thinking!

It is in these times of vulnerability that requires an incredible amount of mind control. How do you respond when you have a really great first date but then they never call you again? Do you freak out and text them? Do you call them demanding closure and clarity? Do you call into the radio’s I’ve been ghosted hotline and get him on the air to explain? These may sound ludicrous but they are the result of uncomfortable amounts of vulnerability and insecurity that take place early on in a relationship.

Although it’s not easy, I’ve learned through the years to just chill out. Sure, if I’m into him and he didn’t call back that sucks. Is it the end of the world? No. When I’m super into a guy, like finally found someone that meets the bulk of the list, sure it’s way harder to keep that motto. Though I can say definitively – every guy I pursued into dating me turned out to be the worst relationships. When I was patient and waited for a guy I liked to come around, he always did. The times when he didn’t, someone else even better came around.

Probably the biggest lesson I learned is don’t chase the guy that seems amazing if he’s not chasing you. Although it probably doesn’t feel it at the time, it’s far better if he just walks away. You’ll get over it. Though if he’s weak, loves the ego boost, and is more infatuated with the fact you’re pursuing him than any real interest in you, it can be a recipe for disaster and heartbreak. The good guys you were supposed to be with fall to the wayside because you’re tied up with a guy that doesn’t give a damn about you. Sound fun? It’s not. The lesson , chasing men = bad news.

I’m also a firm believer in riding the flow. One of my friends came back from a tubing trip this past weekend and told me how the more she fought the water, fought her tube, and resisted the natural flow the harder it was. Her course was rocky, her arms were sore, she even fell over once, it was turbulent, to say the least. Then she finally succumbed to the water, let the river guide her, and something wonderful happened – she relaxed, enjoyed, and comfortably took on whatever the river gave her. A great lesson for life.

In summary, if it is supposed to work out with this person, it will. If it’s not, it won’t. It really is that simple. Don’t let the vulnerability get to you, it’s normal, but finding ways to be strong through it can only make you a better person and a better partner. Keeping yourself open to the possibility with them and others. The right person will come along and it may not be who you expect or when you expect it. Here’s to riding the river!

Cheers,
Sara

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