Dating 101

As merkabamystica pointed out to me, not everyone in the dating pool is out looking to fall in love. Although that possibility makes decent intellectual sense to me, I have no personal experience of this to draw on in order to know how to apply it in my own life. (During my life time, I’ve swung wildly from nymph to hopeless romantic, without much time spent in the in-between areas.) I’m totally clueless with regard to what to expect from the more casual “getting to know you” or “spending time with someone new because its stimulating” dating style.

So, friends, if you don’t hate to educate, I have oodles of questions for any of you interested in helping me with my remedial training …

How do you, in the beginning, negotiate expectations of why the two of you are going out? I mean, what if one person is thinking “I hope they are the one” and the other person is thinking “Hey, it’s nice to get out and not watch re-runs again tonight.”

Hopefully, I don’t sound insulting. I’m just ignorant. How would you describe the appeal of just dating without the intent of finding a long-term mate? Is it the break in routine, the variety of experience? How does having a “just dating” relationship go? I’m imagining that I’d go out once, maybe enjoy myself enough to do it again with that person, and then start to feel more interested in staying in and playing the piano, reading a book, going out with friends, seeing someone else etc. So, I’d imagine that we’d reach our mutual max level pretty quickly. And then what if they wanted more and I didn’t? Then I’m back to the “thanks but no thanks” dilemma.

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4 thoughts on “Dating 101

    • Yeah, I’d love that. The more conversation about this, the better. But I don’t have it public because a couple of guys that I’m seeing are on LJ. If your friends wanna join in the discussion and can’t see the post, let them know that I’d be glad to add them to my filter.

  1. I usually find that the woman saying “listen, bub, this is a casual date and if you lay a single finger on me, I will hose you down with pepper spray” sets the ground rules quite nicely….

  2. I so share your musings.

    I think that while I am absolutely interested in falling into a lasting pair bond, it’s not the first thing on my mind as I’m going on dates. I don’t know how you are meeting the people you’re dating, but one thing Match.com has helped me get clear on is that the dating process is about getting to know someone, pure and simple. Sizing them up, and comparing them to what you’re looking for (with room for discoveries and surprises, of course.) I love that it’s kind of a mutual window shopping expedition, and both parties know that, so that can be set aside and the date can just happen without artifice. One thing that’s great about being on a date, assuming you both know that’s what you’re on, is that you’re totally within your rights to ASK what the person is after – a wife, a fuckbuddy, a friend with potential… and tell them what you’re after. If they don’t match, or if he’s freaked by yuor frankness, have a nice cup of coffee and wish him well! And you’re also totally within your rights to say, at any point, ‘It’s been so nice meeting you, but this isn’t working for me.’ Hopefully while you’re husband shopping, you’re also getting clearer and clearer on what you want, and expanding your experience of people on the way.

    Personally, I am finding value in ‘just dating’, because I have a lot to learn and reprogram… Like that the kind of man I want to find does in fact exist and is in fact interested in me. I may not be ready for him yet, or this particular one may not be the right one, but I need to learn that they’re there and I don’t have to settle for needy broke man-children. I still need to get clearer on what I want, and dating seems to be the only way to really do that. I can hypothesize all I want, but only by really getting out there am I going to come face to face with real stuff and see how I feel about it.

    So far, I’ve just been checking in with myself regularly and playing it day by day. Do I like this email enough to talk to him on the phone? Do I like him on the phone enough to go out with him? Do I like him enough after the date to go on a second date? And a third? And a fourth? My therapist is working hard to remind me to stay in the moment without rushing to decisions and judgements, and that dating does not imply a promise… until we talk about what we’re in it for, we can’t be expected to know, and we don’t owe each otehr anything… as long as I maintain my boundaries such that I don’t get in over my head too fast, I can’t go wrong.

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