September 14, 2009

On protocol

I have resisted writing this particular blog. As much as I love having readers, sometimes I start to censor myself in order to protect one of them or—more often—to protect myself.

I started this blog as a place to express my thoughts and explore my creative urges and if I can’t do that, what is the use? I tend to think and write in metaphor and symbol and much of my blog reflects this, but sometimes I just need to come out and say what I mean. This is a constant struggle in my personal life. I am trying to get better. So here goes.

I feel like I am terrible at this dating thing.

I’ve gone out with 70+ guys in the last year or so (I KNOW! BELIEVE ME, I KNOW!). Some of them read this blog (Hi folks!). But by the end of all that I was so…tired. I met some very nice people (and some BATSHIT CRAZY ones—a couple of those written about in other blog entries). Mostly the dates consisted of a pleasant enough dinner and small talk and getting-to-know-you kind of stuff. Sometimes I was incredibly bored and discreetly glancing at the clock, wondering how soon I could be home and in bed (ALONE). Almost always I could tell that this would be the first and only time I would ever see this person.

Well, I finally met someone I like.

Here’s the tricky part, see? There’s the risk of saying the wrong thing. There’s the risk of giving too much away. There’s the risk of allowing myself to be vulnerable. Just by writing this I know very well that I could be hastening a fragile beginning’s demise.

I can’t help it. I never was very good at keeping my mouth shut for long.

I don’t know how to do this and I’m not sure how to figure it out. I’ve made a very real effort not to stress or overanalyze and—for the most part—I’ve done well. But sometimes the real me breaks through even though I thought I had her muzzled and blindfolded and tied up in a basement somewhere. I start to worry that I don’t know how often to call, so I just don’t call at all. I worry that I don’t know how often to see each other, so I just don’t bring it up at all. Why is it so hard to say, “I like you. I like talking to you. I like spending time with you”? Everyone’s an adult here. I don’t think anyone’s consciously playing games. It’s just that the fear of rejection is a very powerful one.

Of course, everyone has advice to offer. Some are in the camp of, “Men like the chase. Don’t make it too easy.” Others are in the, “Just say it. Say it all! If he likes you he can handle it” camp. (Oh, but they don’t know how much I always seem to have to say!)

Meanwhile I tread water; I try to distract myself; I spend time with friends; I tend virtual farms on Facebook; I write and dance around my feelings; I bide my time. I wonder.


I may very well have said the wrong thing. I may very well have given too much away. I am, in fact, vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to be.


Toad's Lair said...

From a friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

Hey Amie,

I read your blog, and I'm in the same boat.

I don't have advice to give. I'm sure you're glad to hear that.
I never know how much attention I should be giving. I have so much to give, that it's hard not to smother.

With J., I took my cues from him. I let him text or call or contact first. I kept the level of emotion displayed right with his. I was just as affectionate. And then, after the happiest month-and-a-half of my life, he said that he didn't think he was falling in love with me (which seemed the opposite of everything he was showing), and I was destroyed.

I don't think that there is any right answer to this. Love is terrifying. But isn't that sort of why we want it?

I guess we just have to search for the person that fits right with all the love we have to give and the ways we like to give it. I agree that being adults makes it easier to be honest about feelings and talk about relationships, though.

It's kinda like the quote on my mainpage "Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall." That's how I see love.


Anonymous said...

Hearts are tricky things....there is no certainty in jumping when it comes to love or even really liking liking someone. I mean when you jump for a tall building you have a pretty good chance of knowing what the outcome will be. Just know that you will have people to catch if need be...and who knows you may get to go flying with someone...

Toad's Lair said...

A partial (as well as unexpected) response:

"...I look forward to seeing you, and hearing your voice, and most especially your laugh. I want to continue hearing it, and part of all of that is hearing/reading your stories, the good ones and the ones that you're a little (or even a lot) afraid to tell. I can't tell you not to self-edit, because it's frequently subconscious. Instead, I'll ask you to try not to..."

Sally said...

All I have to say is that there aren't any guarantees when you are talking about love. I haven't even dated 70 guys in my lifetime yet alone in one year. But for me, there was an immediate connection. That moment was over 10 years ago. I can't believe how much my life has changed in that time. The future is not predictable, so I would encourage you to focus on the present. Ask, do I enjoy being with this person now? Keep it real.

Diana D said...

Hey Amie,
Themed responses here about no guarantees ring true to me, as do those to be true to yourself, to take leaps, etc. Had an odd equivalent to a 70-guy exhaustion year (not so many, not all traditional dates to be sure) and understand the exhaustion and roots of feeling cynical about it all, too. There's a cliche that when you stop trying/looking it happens, you find it, but that was the absolute opposite in my case. It was when I tried my hardest, tried of a decade of being too alone, putting every last fiber of my being into finding the love and companionship I so desparately wanted, that it finally happened....yes, very "late in life" (but who cares, better late then never for me) and when I was at my truest, most blatant and raw and "here I am, take me or leave me" mode...and it turns out he was at that exact same place, coming my way from the other direction. It made me believe again for the first time in years. At a time when I was turning 40, was my own worst critic, and felt like my emotional reserves were gone. I thought it would never be "my turn" again and finally, finally it was. So take it from someone who had almost given up...your happiness/love are there, to be found, even if the process seems long and cruel and exhausting sometimes. In the meantime, feel the love and comfort -- equally strong, important, and sustaining -- from those who care about you.