Theories on Dating, From a Married Woman

I’ve been reading reviews for “You Lost Him at Hello”. This latest one raised some excellent points and stirred some thoughts I’ve been having for awhile about the differences between men and women.

When I was single, the guys who asked me out were, by and large, not the guys I wanted.  I wanted guys who sent mixed signals or didn’t know I was alive. Also? Willing to do anything to win their attention and affection. If I thought that any method would have produced the desired result, I would have followed it to the letter.

Enter WH. I fell hard for him the first night we met. I had already freaked out twice by the following Wednesday when he hadn’t called. So when he did call,  I decided that this was too important to screw up, and that I was going to play hard to get. The reason I felt the need to play hard to get? First, I feared my intensity would creep him out or scare him off. It had happened before.  Second, I had a hard time believing that he liked me as much as I liked him, and I wanted to be sure to keep his interest.

What I didn’t realize was that if anyone was going to be right for me, they were going to have to be able to handle and/or actually like my intensity. So hiding that from men was just asking for them to freak out and run off when I took the lid off the crazy- maybe sometimes not even because of the crazy, but because they had a different impression of me. If I wanted a guy,  I should have come out with it, in  my way, and if he wasn’t captivated, I should have shrugged and moved on. But because I was concentrating on getting a guy I liked to like me, and not finding a guy I got along with, I was way too invested to be forthright and accept a casual rejection. Like a lot of women I know, by the time I gave them the slightest hint I was interested, I had been plotting forever and my entire future hung in the balance.

The other part, about keeping his interest? People keep other people’s interest when there is suitable chemistry. No amount of slowly metting out affection, information, and personality is going to change the picture you paint. Paint it fast, paint it slow, the picture is the same, and either you know just where you’d put it, or you have no use for it. Men who love the chase are viewing the women they are chasing as conquests. Most of the time, those guys don’t even really care what they’re getting, only that they’re getting it.

What I can’t seem to get much insight on is why we women “pick” these guys and obsess. If you’re going to take more control over selection, then shouldn’t you be more direct and casual in your approach? Why do women not want to date a lot of the men who ask them, and then pine over a guy who hasn’t noticed them as a potential mate? Is that our way of taking some kind of control over a process in which we had none for so long?

I know that for every girl SO eyes in a bar, there’s another girl eyeing him. She just sits there, and carefully situates herself in her seat, and tries to catch his eye, or constructs some opportunity for him to say hi. Most of the time, he probably doesn’t notice her, because she’s not even really trying to get noticed. She’s sending him telepathic messages while she stares at the back of his head. Why? For the love of God, why?

There’s a line from a Billy Joel song- Matter of Trust: “I won’t hold back anything/And I’ll walk away a fool or a king”.

You can read all the dating books you want, but what I think it really comes down to is this- you have to be willing to look at the people you’re drawn to and pursue them and look at the people who are drawn to you and ask yourself what the difference is between the two. Because all those guys I crushed on so hard didn’t appreciate me.  Maybe because they appreciated some other kind of girl, and I probably wouldn’t have kept my fondness for long if I had gotten to know them. Maybe if I had let go of my agenda long enough to be myself and just make my interest known, they would have appreciated me.

Meeting and getting to know men without the pressure of dating and romance- taking my availability off the table- has allowed me to notice something. The men whose company I truly enjoy? The men who I grow fond of and attached to and want to spend more time around? They’re the ones who appreciate my personality. I’m not fond of these men because they’re fond of me- there’s an actual compatibility there.

Some of them are men I would have picked for potential dating material if I were single, and some of them are the men who would have picked me, that I may have been less than thrilled with. In every case, I showed them my true self in varying degrees of depth, depending on the strength of the bond. Theoretically, if I would have approached the men I picked, some of them might have been receptive, and some of them might not have. Also, the men who picked me would have fallen into two categories- willing and unwilling to give it a chance. I think I can say that this plays out in the depth and strength of our friendships.

What I think it proves is that there is no strategy for finding love. Sex, yes. Security, sure. A partner that brings some sort of status, probably. But the magic happens when one people show each other who they are, and both parties like what they see.

Now let’s all thank the Universe that eleven years and 360 days ago, a narcissistic and coldly logical man met a melodramatic neurotic woman and they both liked what they saw.  But that’s a whole other post.

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2 Responses

  1. All I can say is “Yep”.
    One thing I learned is that the men who crushed on me weren’t as interesting because I loved the CHASE. Once I figured out the chase wasn’t as fun, I managed to find a man who was as into me as I was into him.

  2. Amen! As a single chic, I whole-heartedly agree. That’s why, at 33, I am content to just be ME. I have friends and family I love and who love me. If someone comes along that will make life BETTER by being with them, I will be content in that case as well. For now, I am who I am and happy to be so.

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