I would have thought you knew by the osmosis that causes what we call the power of attraction. It seemed like just the other day we met and liked each other, went out, made out (and then some) and magically became a couple. Amazing how quickly that happened. We were too giddy to really think anything through. No wonder why it’s called “falling”! In the process, sensible opportunities to meet any others were stifled by what we think we have together; since we currently consider ourselves an “item”. Isn’t that a grocery on a shelf somewhere? Are you ready for the awkward questions of inquiring nosiness? How about the weddings we will attend and stay seated during the garter and bouquet toss to avoid mutual embarrassment about our “still single” status? Sometimes, we will go so far as to call ourselves “fiancees” without the first ring OR planned wedding date. We thought we loved each other like that but somehow this doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to look. Where did our understanding jump the track and how can we avoid THE DATING TRAP in the future with or without each other?
What is a DATE anyway?
Relating to another need not be so dramatic OR traumatic once we can arrive at a few certain realities. The overall goal here is to respect our decency and dignity up front by keeping the clothes ON! After all, this person could wind up being someone else’s spouse one day. Our rational judgment can leave the building after that first unexplained, unsubstantiated intimate kiss and/or sexual encounter. A “date” should simply be a spot on the calendar! It’s an opportunity to get to know one another in a relaxed, personal-type setting. Once a social request is accepted, let’s start with a low-stress occasion like brunch. Daytime occasions tend to be less stressful because it’s light out. We may meet at the restaurant instead of a home pickup. We certainly don’t have to wear our evening finery. Brunch contains a convenient exit clause when there are other personal obligations keeping us from overstaying our welcome. We can split the check if we so choose and the whole atmosphere can be as informal as we’re comfortable with. We could add another destination to this occasion like a walk through a mall or should we decide we want to do this again in the near future, we’ll know because we will have already communicated this non-verbally during our short visit. If we discover the opposite, we can keep it moving with minimal emotional or romantic damage.
Choosing to keep in touch can be as simple as an occasional phone call to actually hear the voice versus so many words on a screen (despite the advances in technology, email, texting and yes, in-boxing remains SO impersonal). There should never be a rush to see one another again and again so soon when we don’t really know how else we are living. Many of the intimate details of our lives are nobody’s business until we decide to share it. By honoring that about each other, a little respect goes a long way. In the course of time and patience, we might find reason to invite each other out somewhere but, if we are already swirling in drama and controversy elsewhere, don’t bother.
A great face to face conversation to have would be understanding today’s terminology as it relates to us. “Seeing” someone is often short for “seeing someone naked.” “Friends with Benefits” has NO respectful benefit attached to it which leads to the term “it’s complicated.” Let’s simplify our times together so that when and until intentions are made absolutely clear (to marry or to keep it moving), our options can remain wide open. It’s the trap of acting like a couple that we really need to steer clear of. We can sustain a balance of variety (and sanity) in our social lives by observing qualities in ourselves and others that will allow us the freedom to make clearer, rational and less desperate (thirsty) choices over time. What do you say?