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The Most Important Dating Lesson

25 Jun

Post by Cali

Over the last 3 and a half years since starting Sex and the Twenties, I have learned countless dating lessons… Brads are bad, there is no such things as no strings attached, you can be friends with an ex, and of course, the very unfortunate one, throwback bangs are only good in theory. (Le sigh!)

And you know what, for the most part, all of this learning and reflecting has been an awesome thing. It has made me self-aware of patterns and reticent of repeating the same mistakes over and over.

However, I think all this learning comes with a price. Allow me to explain.

A little over 3 months ago, I shared a post with you all about the guy I was dating. To sum it up, I really liked him, but everything I had learned about dating in the past told me to run the other way. He wasn’t ready for a girlfriend, he was on the rebound, and he wasn’t too keen on discussing his feelings with me… clearly, if I were to make a decision based on past lessons, then this was an easy one. Walk away.

No surprise, you all agreed. The comments universally said I should let go of this, (actually every single one of them said run) and that I deserved better. And since it was the logical thing to do, I decided to do just that.

So, a few days after writing aforementioned blog post, I informed him we were no longer dating and that I’d like us to try being just friends. I figured, if I can be besties with Mr. Cute but Whiny now (true story), then there’s no reason he and I couldn’t maintain a friendship, amiright?

No, I was wrong. Our friendship lasted all of a week and a half, and was over the first time we hung out. To his credit, he went along with my friendship demands like a true gentleman, but I just couldn’t ignore my feelings for him. I was all over him in less than 2 hours. (I don’t know what to tell you, he’s really very attractive and I have no self control…)

After that night, I knew friendship was out the window, and despite all the signs to run and all the challenges, we’ve continued to date. It has now been a little over 5 months and while it hasn’t been seamless, it has been the best thing to have ever happened to me in my entire life. I am happy to report to you, anonymous friends on the internet, that I am very much in love and for the first time, dating a guy who it makes sense for me to be dating. We are so similar it’s scary (both in what makes us awesome and in our downfalls) and I love him for every aspect of him.

Now, while I’d love to pretend that you all are reading this just to hear the intimate details of my first real love, I’ll go ahead and cut to the chase. Here’s what I want you to consider… All of this happiness, a happiness I never had before and still sometimes don’t fully believe now, happened because I didn’t apply logic. I didn’t “learn” from my past mistakes and run away from something sticky. I waited, and put myself out there. And yes, I’ve been sad from time to time, (I’ve even cried….). BUT I can say without hesitation that it has been completely worth it.

Looking back at what I wrote in that last post only reinforces for me how much our relationship has changed (although I still can’t get him to officially use the world girlfriend…. blimey!). But he has continued to find time for me – canceling other plans in order to see me more than just once a week. He’s let me talk, incessantly, about my feelings and what I am expecting and where I want this to go etc. while being incredibly open and self-aware with me about his feelings. And best of all, his freaking ex moved out of my building and I was finally able to have him over for dinner.

Now are things absolutely perfect? Um no. I am not sure things are ever perfect for anyone. But this is by far the healthiest, most fun relationship I have ever been in. I am loving seeing what it’s like to let my guard down, to just be patient, and to have someone love you for yourself. I am (slowly) learning to be less dramatic about every little bump along the way and instead am working on just being secure in his feelings for me. And while I am excited for all the self growth this relationship has brought me, I am infinitely more excited by the fact that I just like this guy so damn much.

Which brings me to my original point. If there is only one lesson you take from reading my words for the past 3 and a half years, I hope it is this… sometimes you have to just throw out all the other lessons you have learned and just go with your gut. Dating isn’t scientific. It isn’t a guarantee that if you put the same variables into the same situation you’ll get the same outcome. Not to mention the fact that there is no such thing as the same variables. Every person is different, and just because dating one guy on the rebound blew up in my face, doesn’t mean I can’t be happy with another guy in a similar situation.

True, I can’t predict the future, but all I can say is that right now I am really really happy that I decided to ignore logic and go with my gut. Because maybe, just maybe, this “mistake” might end up being something real.

3 Responses to “The Most Important Dating Lesson”

  1. Emma July 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Thanks for the post Cali. I too am one of those people who tries to learn and make a list of what not to repeat, not to do, and no-nos. When someone breaks it off with me, I often cut them off, pretend they dont exist and vow to never date someone like them again. But I think if there is anything I have learned lately by talking to MEN and reading online, it’s that guys have no explainable reason for who they chose. It must just be either the light is on or off. They feel the spark or they dont. No matter if they say they dont want a relationship, if you work your way into them, theyre going to want to be with you. Sounds like you found one, and I’m happy for you! You’ve become the exception not the rule. We all hope to change the “im emotionally unavailable” guy. It just rarely happens. At least here is proof that it can! -@emzbenz

  2. tay August 4, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    as happy as i’d like to be for you…the whole not calling you a ‘girlfriend’ after 5 months thing seems like a huge red flag. to me (and maybe this is just jadedness talking), that sounds like he is either actively pursuing other girls or he is stringing you along because he enjoys your company. he thinks that the technicality of not calling you a girlfriend (even though he acts like you are one) will get him out of looking like the bad guy when he decides he wants to leave the relationship. i had a guy friend that was like this. he would date girls for 1-2 years and at the end of it say he always knew he’d break up with them, but he was too cowardly to make a change. and even THAT guy had no problem calling a girl his girlfriend.

    it seems to me like your initial reaction to him may have been the right one. i myself have been deliriously happy with guys in the beginning only to wake up later and realize he’s an asshole and i was just vibing on the sexual chemistry.

    anyway, i don’t say any of this to be mean- it is just information to arm yourself with in case this isn’t what it seems.

  3. Laney August 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Giiiiirl, good for you. As one who told you to run (and I stand by that!), I’m stoked that you are happy. I have always been a proponent of “when you feel it.” Sometimes, even when you know the guy has a million red flags, if you feel it, you gotta ride it out. This guy could be the one, or he could end up with one red flag too many, but you’ll be so happy you perused your feelings either way.
    -L.

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