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Adventures in Dating: How not to be a jerk and other tidbits

Ed. Note: Contains some graphic content which may be offensive to some readers.

So … dating. It’s been a while since I’ve written about it (mostly because I am in a relationship and my fiance would probably find that weird) … but honestly, it was always one of my favorite things to write about.

I mean, let’s face it, there is plenty of fodder out there. Almost everyone I know has a horrendous or hilarious story. From the ‘stage-five clingers’ and the ego maniacs to the mommy issues and weird fetishes, there is no shortage of interesting ammo when it comes to penning a piece on the trials and tribulations of courtship. And the whole process of dating can be kind of fun, I love watching my friends get excited about a new guy. Between checking out the online profiles, the flirtatious texts, the awkward first meetings, the anticipation of ‘the first time’ … what’s not to love?

But there is another side of it, too. Dating can also be frustrating and involve a lot of heartbreak and hurt feelings. And I have noticed some trends while watching my friends on the dating scene that are definitely nothing to love. Trends that are all too familiar from my days on the prowl. Trends that are prevalent enough to warrant writing about – for cathartic reasons if nothing else.

First on the agenda, ghosting. Seriously, what the hell is with ghosting?!

For those of you who have been living under a rock or been lucky enough to have not been a victim of ghosting, it is when someone (whom you believed cared about you) suddenly cuts all communication and disappears from your life, without explanation.

It’s a total jerk move. And one that is all too common nowadays in the dating world.

We have all been in situations where we’ve been dating someone and start to lose that loving feeling. We need to pull the plug on the relationship, but we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. And we don’t want to feel uncomfortable.

It sucks all around.

But just like most things in life, we have a choice as to how we handle it … We can choose to act like adults, value the other person, and have a conversation with them about our feelings (or lack thereof) OR …  we can drop them off after a seemingly great date, tell them we can’t wait to see them again … and then follow that up by ignoring their texts and calls, blocking them online, and avoiding them when we see them in public. 

Are you freaking kidding me?! 

I can understand if you are five years old and there is a kid on the playground who keeps wanting to play with you, but you don’t want to play with them, but you also don’t want to hurt their feelings, so you hide behind the tire swings so they don’t see you at recess. That, I get. Cause you know, the kid is five.

But you are not five. You are an adult. An adult who is (hopefully) able to handle full-time employment, credit cards, mortgage payments and negotiating better cell phone rates. You should be able to handle saying, “I’ve enjoyed our time together but I am just not feeling it. I’m not going to see you again.”

Now there are circumstances when ghosting is not only appropriate, but needed. Such as dealing with stalkers or, at times, the ‘stage-five clingers’. If it is a safety issue, by all means, ghost away. 

But if it isn’t a safety concern (and it most likely won’t be), for the love of God, be an adult and just say something! And don’t give me the whole, “I don’t want to hurt them,” baloney.  I can tell you that disappearing from someone’s life without explanation is far more cruel than a good old fashioned dumping. 

Rule of thumb – treat others like they matter as much as you. Cause ... they do.

Rant over.

Next up, a tidbit for the ladies. Now, this could apply to men, too, but I have found this to be a little more prevalent among us gals, sooooo here goes …. Girls, there will be times when you are dating someone and you will start to feel anxious and wonder if the guy you are seeing really likes you. 

Well, chances are … he doesn’t. Let me explain.

If you have to wonder how a guy feels about you, he’s not that into you. Guaranteed. When a guy likes you (the whole you, not just your vagina), you will know. It won’t matter if he is out with his buddies, at his Grandma’s funeral, or on a boat in the middle of the ocean, he will put a lot of effort into getting in touch with you. A guy will seriously climb a mountain just to get a good enough signal to send you a text to see how your day has been. He will show you that he is interested in you on the regular because he will want to ensure that someone else doesn’t snatch you up. 

There should be no wondering, no anxiety, and no stress in the beginning of a potential relationship. It should be all fun and flirtation.

If you find yourself waiting unreasonable lengths of time for him to text back, if he runs hot and cold, if he only wants to hang out last minute or when is drinking (ie: horny) … you are not a priority. 

Now this sucks, especially if you’re really into him, but here is what I learned … Just because a guy isn’t into you does not mean there is anything wrong with you. His feelings about you do not define your value or your worth.

But for some reason, many of us don’t see it that way. We always seem to blame ourselves.

Why is it that when a guy we like blows us off, we instantly start analyzing how we messed it up?! Why do we do that? Let’s face it girls, we get a bit crazy. We go through our text messages to see if we said something off-putting, we criticize our bodies, we scold ourselves for giving it up too soon or not soon enough. 

It’s ridiculous. I mean, a little self-reflection never hurts but beating the crap out of yourself?! That’s not so helpful.

Do you see guys doing that? Generally speaking, no you don’t. 

If a guy gets dumped, they don’t call their buddies and say, “I think it’s my thighs,” or, “I shouldn’t have sent so many heart emojis.”

Dudes can take a picture of their very average penis over their beer gut and feel great about themselves afterwards, even if the pic doesn’t get the desired response. Because they know for every girl that doesn’t want them, there is a good chance that there is someone else out there who will.

Girls, we need to get on that confidence program.

Okay, obviously I’m generalizing here. Guys can be overly sensitive and insecure, too, but my point is that not everyone is going to like you. In fact, most won’t. And that’s okay.

And last, a note about sex. When it comes to having sex when dating – go for it! Have sex, have all the sex (just please be safe). But make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Have sex because you want to and because it feels good, not because you hope that it will stir up romantic feelings in someone you really like but who clearly isn’t that into you. As magical as vaginas are, they will not cast a spell over the boy you desire and make him love you … and there is a good chance you will end up heartbroken. 

So boink, but boink responsibly.