A friend and I were just chatting the other day about how amazed we are at how quickly some people move on from relationships (it’s Spring, folks – the topic of love/dating is completely unavoidable). People we knew to be deeply involved with someone a year ago are already dating/living with/getting serious with someone different this year. It feels as if the whole world knows some secret that we don’t know, since the chance at love seems to be a rare visitor for the two of us. We both agreed that we’re generally happy people, but we wish it were easier to connect.
And then I read this comment by the amazing Harriet from Fugitivus on Shapely Prose, describing her boyfriend’s romantic experiences before their relationship:
…He spent a lot of hellish introspective time wondering if there was something wrong with him that he couldn’t seem to romantically connect with other people, but when looking around his life, he saw that wasn’t true. He had friends, male and female, and he got along really well with them, and was able to be open and honest and non-sexually intimate with them, so he was obviously able to accomplish emotional closeness. Eventually he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t just looking to date; he was looking for something very long-term, which required somebody who was very compatible….
This is it – this is precisely what befuddles me! I see so much of myself in this description. I don’t want to date — that is, become intimate with people in brief spurts, all the while maintaining a certain emotional distance and keeping my options open. I certainly don’t judge people for doing so, I just can’t seem to do it – if I sense we’re not right, then I have no interest in dating him. I’d rather be his friend. (Which, coincidentally, has led to several situations wherein I get close to someone as a friend, and then he convinces me that we really should date even though I don’t really think so but a combination of I-don’t-want-to-be-mean and I-don’t-want-to-lose-this-friend results in a disastrous short-term relationship and I lose that “friend” anyway and end up angry at myself because I should have known better.)
Surely this blog is evidence of my capacity for introspection. Also, for being angry with myself. But OH MY GOD what a relief it is to see that someone else (a guy!) has wondered about these things, too. Maybe there’s hope for me yet (as long as I learn to stop dating people because they tell me I should).