Not every relationship has to immediately lead to marriage. Sometimes a relationship is cruising right along at the perfect speed, not too fast, not too slow, and you’re happy just where you are. Don’t feel pressured by others to propose or jump ship because they can’t understand how you can be content with your life the way it is.
Case in point: I met my friend Dan in 2005. A few years later he met a woman named Jenna and they have been in a serious, committed relationship for the past 5 years, living together the past 2 years. Everyone always asked him when he was going to propose, but Jenna never pressured him. They were happy. They finally got engaged last week, on their terms, in their own time. They haven’t set a date yet, and that’s okay too. They’re enjoying the bliss that comes from being newly engaged!
Everyone needs to stop imposing their timelines on other people. You know, the “must call in 48 hours” rule and the “must ask me on a date 3 days in advance” rule and “3rd date sex” rule and the “one year dating, one year engaged” rule. It’s okay to have guidelines by which to live, but there’s no need to enforce those on your friends. If they are happy, then you should be happy for them.
under Single Life
My first post ever on this blog was titled, Apologizing. I don’t really remember what my purpose in writing it was. I think it was something about how you’re not supposed to be defensive all the time, as I often was/am. The piece, written about two years ago, was about my state of being four years before that, which wasn’t good. While I wrote it, I thought that I was in a much better place. Compared to today, I wasn’t. At this rate of accelerating returns, in exactly two years, I will be President, and that will make no sense, as we will be nowhere near an election year, and I will not be 35 years old, and I’m not totally sure that I wasn’t born in Kenya.
However, this is a good indication that my life is still heading in an upward trajectory. That original post was about the fact that I apologize too much, and I’m sure that is directly tied to self-esteem. I apologized so much that I got a tattoo that says, ‘i’m sorry.’ As I eventually lost weight and gained confidence, my apologizing frequency gradually decreased. However, the stupidest tattoo of all time has remained permanently plastered to my arm, serving as an arm-reminder of how horribly stupid I can be a lot of the time. I once called my work phone at work from my cell phone and my dad’s number showed up on the Caller ID because I’m under his plan and then I said out loud, ‘Yay my dad is calling!’. That exact thing happened four weeks ago.
So, as I progress and grow as a human being, I still have an inane tattoo on my upper-right arm telling everybody, ‘Hey, I may seem moderately well-adjusted, but for the love of God, keep your eyes away from my arm, and for that matter, my belly button, and for that matter, why are you watching me change?’
You log on to JDate, enter in your most ideal, most specific, most targeted preferences and up pops… that-guy/gal-you’ve-grown-up-with-your-entire-life-who’s-basically-like-family-but-you-aren’t-technically-related. At this point 2 things will go through your mind. First, the “Oh my gosh I can’t believe THIS is my match!? He/She is totally not my type, aside form the fact that we’ve known each other our entire lives, we would never work!” And then, “hmmm… I’ve never thought of him/her that way, I wonder if that would work, JDate seems to think so, could we even go there?”
Proceed with caution. You don’t want to ruin a lifelong friendship and risk awkward family gatherings in the future. But it could be Beshert. Wait til the next holiday when your families get together and then flirt a bit and see what kind of response you get. Drop subtle hints about being single and find out his or her status. If there’s chemistry then it should be obvious. If you’re confident that it’s mutual, then suggest going out for drinks and see where it leads. If things get awkward then back off and save the friendship by changing the conversation to setting each other up on dates.
There’s that moment when you’re dating when you realize that if you hold on just a little bit longer, it might take off and become something more. Something significant. Something notable. Something to write home about. When this happens, you can’t help but feel inflated with excitement, passion, joy, and if you’re anything like me, a large amount of fear. That’s right. The girl who is the JDate blogger, the one who has been going on dates for the last three years, in and out of short relationships, only one of which wound up in a head over heels kind of love, and wants more than anything to find Mr. Right, is afraid of relationships.
When I got into my last relationship early last winter, I remember falling asleep one night laying next to my ex as he stroked my hair until my eyes finally closed. He kissed me gently before turning over to fall asleep himself, and all I could think was that this was everything I had wished for… and I am scared out of my freaking mind. I knew that from that very moment, I could no longer pull back my feelings or keep my walls up. It was all hanging out. Every piece of who I am was revealed and extremely vulnerable. And if that’s not scary, I honestly don’t know what is. Okay, horror movies are scary. I can’t even watch scary movie trailers without covering my eyes, but that’s a totally different story. But I’ve realized that this fear is the most difficult thing to overcome. You can be a serial dater, or in my case a serial first dater, if you’re always dressed in your suit of armor. No one can hurt you, disrupt your daily routine, or embed themselves in your life when they’re standing at arm’s length.
That’s what happens when you date the way I have, recently had your heart broken, or don’t have much experience in dating at all. You learn to keep your distance as a defense mechanism. You might go to the dance, but that doesn’t mean you will actually dance. It means you’re thinking about dancing. Then when the moment finally comes when someone offers to take your hand and lead you to the dance floor, you have two options. You can say, “It was nice of you to ask, but no thank you.” Or you can let it all go and shut up and dance.
under Date Night
Manners are a difficult thing to have if you do not have them. It’s hard to open a door for a woman if you don’t know that you’re supposed to open a door for a woman. I always figure that doors are an individual experience. I open a door, I walk through the door, I let the door close, I’m now inside. I don’t have time to be the administrator of some door opening service, expediting this process for whomever I am with. I’m not saying I won’t push the door open if someone is walking in behind me. However, to hold a door for an extra person, well that’s just ridiculous, and a complete waste of time I could be spending slowly dying alone because I won’t even take the time to hold open a door for another person.
Of course, on a date, I will hold a door open. I will let the woman order first. I will even not abandon her mid-meal. I do have a lot to work on, though. For example, when is it appropriate to pull her seat back before she sits down? It’s always appropriate? Okay. I never do that. Then when I don’t do that, I spend the rest of the evening obsessing over the fact that I didn’t do it and that on my next date, which will now most certainly be with somebody else, I will have to, which I know I won’t. People that don’t do this should put it on their profiles. ‘I’m super nice, but I will not pull my seat out for you. I don’t know why I won’t. But I won’t. Call me?’
And then there’s the school of thought that girls like jerks. I don’t know how this compares to guys with good manners, or if these two things are mutually exclusive. I’m neither a jerk nor do I have good manners, so there’s really no reason for anybody to like me. I think if you’re a jerk, you can’t be a nice guy pretending to be a jerk. However, manners can be learned.
However, by age 28, if you don’t have your manners down, then just go with what you have. I have good hygiene and I’m very friendly. I’m going with that. No matter what I say, what I do or don’t do, or where I take you, I promise you that I will smell fantastic. I think that says a lot. Or nothing. I don’t care.
Not everyone likes to go out. And a lot of people are sick and tired of the singles events, pick-up bars and club scene. And yet others don’t have the time or energy to go out due to work, kids, projects, etc. So what do you do if you’re a couch potato or burnt out or just plain busy? That’s why JDate is so useful. You can check out singles from your laptop at home with your feet up on the couch or at work from your desktop. You can check out singles once a day or once a week. You can check out singles for 10 minutes or for an hour. The point is, there are no excuses to not be putting yourself out there.