What A Dating Novice Knows…

I know it’s been a really long time.

Sorry, I had the busiest semester I’ve ever had, so blogging kind of got pushed to the back burner.

I’m not sure I’ll have a whole lot to say today, but I wanted to write about relationships again.

Mainly because I finally started dating.

Yay!!!!

Yeah in a culture where thousands of people are saying that dating and relationships are a waste of time, and a lot more are obsessed with calling people toxic, and just overall acting entitled…I’m trying to find someone I can actually get along with.

I think sometimes being “not crazy” can actually make it harder.

I guess that sounds kind of like being a pick-me, so maybe I’m wrong about that.

But the thing is, I don’t know what guys want…and honestly, I’m not sure they know either.

I’ve met a couple of them from a dating website, and got ghosted by a few already.

And the ones I have met up with who are still int ouch, it’s hard to gauge interest.

See everybody is different.

Is it a bad sign if they hardly text me between meet-ups, or is just normal guy stuff.

I mean all you get on the internet is other people’s opinions, right?

Being what I am, a not feminist, not woke, not liberal, 24 year old woman who just wants to find love and start a family–is surprisingly had to match, hard to define.

Because beyond principals, I don’t know what works with me.

I liked a guy for years only to realize he was stringing me along for attention, and didn’t actually like me back…and he was a Christian who was supposed to know better. Amazes me how selfish even Chrsitians can be.

I’m also the type of chick who thinks that sweating the little details is stupid. If I can get around a difficulty by adjusting myself to it, I will. I’d rather change my approach than give up on something if I’m interested in.

And that has made me good at doing anything that depends solely on me. I’ll find a way if I want to do it bad enough.

My siblings and parents like to agonize over details, I just roll with the punches.

I would think that would make dating a cinch for me. I never run out of conversation topics, I’m willing to listen to other people’s interests, and I’m not picky about where to eat or go for fun.

And in some ways, it is easy to do the basic parts of dating.

But the thing is, I still have no idea what I’m doing, right?

I’m coming to realize that most people don’t.

We’re all insecure, we all are under the pressure to be liked.

I think there’s truth in that it used to be easier. I mean, love has never been easy.

It’s a common theme of most tragedies and sad ballads for most of Time, it’s not easy. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be valuable.

But that said, I do think that we’ve made it harder to just get past the stage of being strangers, by being so isolated in our lives. I have the same problem with friends.

I mean, sine we rely on phones now, I get paranoid if I don’t hear from someone within 10 minutes of messaging or calling them.

Part of that is my abandonment complex, thanks Dad, and part of it is just me, being someone who’s quick to worry. I want to get better, but there’s just something about phones that makes it so hard to control your anxiety, ever notice that?

I don’t want to bring my baggage into a new relationship…but if I’m honest, I really can’t help it.

I mean, we all do it.

And let’s face it, when you’ve been mistreated, it’s hard not to look for it again. Like when you have a sore place on your body and you keep touching it to see if it still hurts…yeah it still does.

Before, I spent a lot of time being nice to people I wanted to be friends with. But apparently, that’s a turn off.

You seem too eager, and it’s like your friendship and respect is cheap.

And I think thanks to being both a tough woman with high standards, and ordinary girl who wants love, I ended up this odd mix of easygoing and also sensitive.

Many things don’t bother me, maybe some of you ladies can relate.

Maybe you don’t care about the toilet seat, the restaurant or the size of the rock, right?

But if you feel ignored, or used, it starts to feel so familiar.

And when nothing is wrong you look for something to be wrong.

I don’t like being this way, but I got addicted to it.

My father, being the manipulative person that he was, was the king of scaring you if you thought things were all right.

If I was having a good day, or we hadn’t fought in say, 5 days straight, he simply felt the need to start a fight so that his quota of tension could be met. He fed off of it.

I want to talk about antyi, and he bing up the unpelasnt isde of it.

He used to change our bedtime stories to psychotic tales of people yelling and hurting each other, no matter how innocent the story was.

I mean, it was funny, he had good delivery…but you always felt kind of icky for laughing.

One of my therapists was the first t point out that that’s kind of messed up…who knew?

I had no idea until she said it, how much my paranoia could be influenced by my father’s insistence on making everything dark, suspicious, or perverse. Or just gross.

I don’t mean to say everything is his fault…but the thing is, I can’t account for my personality quirks any other way.

I was fearless mostly when I was a very little child, but my father scared me. Overtime I developed other anxieties.

But now that most of those are gone, I still have the habit of being anxious in my mind.

And par of that is my father filled my head with the idea that things are always about to go wrong.

I actually handle stress well, usually. I stay calm, I know how to take a moment and just let it out…yet I feel this pressure to despair, to think “this is just how my life always goes” and blow things out of proportion.

Some of that I had long before I knew my father was like that…but kids do copy what they see.

And I find his voice in my head a lot, even now.

The thing is, I feel like I have to apologize for that to whoever I’m with.

Like: I‘m sorry, my father messed me up, and I really want to be better, but I don’t know if you’re safe yet…so can you bear with me wile I try to get past it?

Therapy was no help in this area. They just kept making me focus even more on what could go wrong.

Like do I really need to hear this again?

My last one was a real gem, he told me I had a lot of blame for people in my past.

This was after weeks of him not given me any constructive feedback, so I would just keep telling him different stories, hoping he’d figure out something helpful that I was missing. Apparently not…and hey, at any point he could have asked me why I focused n that so much and worked out a solution. Instead he got mad the first time I acted out a little bit because of my issues, and that was it for me.

I’m perfectly willing to admit, I’m not perfect. I do rude things sometimes…who doesn’t?

But that is no excuse to jump on me and make all kinds of claims about my character that you have no way to know from one thing I said.

I mean, I know I’m defensive…

You know why that is? I used to be open to feedback when I was younger, I did my best to embrace it…but it was never good enough.

I learned the hard way then that people don’t always care about helping you, they just want to control you. It’s not about who’s right, it’s about you not being exactly how they want.

Yes it’s hard for me to trust anyone who criticizes me, because so often I cannot please them even after taking their advice, so I gave up.

I literally stopped speaking to my father for years for most of the time I was around him because nothing I ever said to him got me anything but hatred, or was at all pleasant to being with.

I did the same to other adults I knew, and I never heard the end of it from him: “You offend people so much, why do you not answer them?”

You know what happened once my father moved out? And just once I was at a church he didn’t go to? I miraculously stopped doing that.

I now never go silent on people like that, at least, very very rarely, and only when it wasn’t a remark I was sure they wanted an answer to.

Great right?

But it freaks you out to realize how much one person can change your personality.

My sisters even confirmed it.

I used to have “freak outs” or as I called them “moments” when my ahter was around.

Not always to do with him, but I’d be so stressed, I’d just wig out for several minutes, talking too fast and almost crying and laughing at the same time. I twas weird, looking back, I can’t understand it.

But once he was gone, it just stopped. I no longer had the urge to do that.

I do think I project this image of being more together than I really am, but who doesn’t do that if they want to remain employed?

It’s not wrong to act professional…but at some point, with someone, you have to let your guard down.

We can only talk about impersonal things for so long, you know what I mean?

Also, you can’t just trauma dump, that’s not good either.

But really, other people don’t know what works for you.

I’ll say there are guidelines.

In my limited experience with men, I’ve worked out at least a few real red flags. And they aren’t the ones most women talk about.

  1. A guy who makes you do all the work. You text first, you decide everything, he never disagrees with you.

I don’t mean that a guy who is easygoing is bad, I mean that he shows no interest whatsoever in getting to know you, but he craves your attention. I spent years hoping that both my dad, and other men I knew would change their minds about me…it doesn’t work.

2. Someone who never asks you about yourself.

This can also be social awkwardness, but if you’ve been talking for a while and you know more about them and they don’t ever ask about you, bad sign.

But those both are ones other people point out, what baffles me is how rarely anyone I know mentions this one:

3. The guy is just a jerk to you.

There was a really hot guy in my dance class who definitely knew he was hot, and my classmates seemed to think he was into me.

I think he would have if I was interested, but the guy would just be a jerk to me and to my friend in the class. Like he’d say things that seemed like they were to deliberately make me uncomfortable. It freaked me out. Also he was creepy in other ways.

I’m sure he thought it was smooth–and hey, in highschool, maybe it was. Girls have low self esteem in their teenage years. I’m sure being hot and cocky was all you needed back then.

But for a mature woman, who actually has thinks she looks for, like compassion and considerateness, it was unattractive. Canceled out the hot part.

I mean, was I attracted to him? Physically yes, but i was rep by his personality, and not in a “you get on my nerves but I still like you” kind of way.

Nothing ever happened between us, and I’m glad of that. But I was surprised later when one of the other guys I knew in class expressed surprise that I thought the hot one was a creep. This guy was on the uglier side, and said he thought I thought he was the creep.

Other than the obvious play for a compliment, I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say.

This guy didn’t hit on me or anything, really, like I know every one reading this is going to think, he just seemed to want female attention.

I enjoyed the male attention I got in the class, but I felt kind of like it was just about me being a girl, and not personality.

However, it’s worked the other way too, I’ve hit it off with guys over personality, who never asked me out.

I can’t explain it except that there must be some other reason they weren’t interested…and it wasn’t that they weren’t into dating, they were ones who went through multiple girlfriends.

Maybe I just give off the vibe too much of a girl who’s ride or die about love.

I do mange to get a rep for being feisty and opiniated everywhere I go.

Hey, at least I’m not forgettable.

But maybe it’s not me, or maybe it’s something I can’t guess. You know, I get sick of asking.

I impressed the guy I’m currently seeing by being able to tell him how I came to Christ…so that was new.

I can’t explain exactly why people don’t click these days.

But one thing I have learned is that it’s a waste of your time to go after anyone who has such wildly different views of life than you.

Even if they say they are in your religion, don’t believe it if it’s not in their actions.

I saw a man on YouTube say that we shouldn’t have low expectations, we should have realistic ones.

He’s right.

I can get the numbers of plenty of men if I want to, but it’s not worth it if they aren’t ones I’d want the heart of.

I know that’s chessy, but it’s true.

Love is not all magic and thrills, but it is about being entrusted with someone else’s well being, and we should take that seriously.

I’d rather feel safe with a man than feel thrilled for a short time only to feel empty later.

And I encourage men to think the same way, hopefully many of them already do.

Don’t settle for someone who has no respect for you.

And don’t dump someone for stupid reasons, there’s a lot of that going around too.

See, having the past I do makes me want something better, not the same old thing. I’m not comfortable with being mistreated, and I intend to stick to that.

So yeah, I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I know that much..

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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