When it comes to dating, I used to be the type of “try everything once” kind of girl. And more often that that, the “try everything twice” kind of girl. Meaning that even when I knew something probably wasn’t a fit, I’d always give it a second, third, or fifth shot in some attempt to “really make sure” that I’d assessed the situation. Of course, in the end, this usually ended up being a lot of B.S. in an attempt to convince myself that one of these people might be the one.

For a long time, I really, really wanted a boyfriend. I was one of those girls, yeah. I loved the idea of relationships. And when in one, I would fully commit myself. When not in one, I’d experience a brief pause before falling into something again relatively quickly, even when not looking. In talking to my therapist about this once, she said, “You seem bothered by this—the fact that you like relationships.”

I said, “Well, it would seem like maybe I do have a problem … except I’m not really sure where this comes from. I’m a relatively happy and confident person. I had a happy childhood. I don’t have daddy issues; he’s always been there for me. And it’s not like I’ve ever been in an abusive relationship, the men I pick just happen to not work out. I just like to be with someone.”

She said, “Perhaps you’re just the type of person who is open to love.”

I was open to love. The problem was, I could often see the potential dealbreakers down the road. But, when you like someone, you tell yourself that you can’t judge them just yet, that you have to get to know them, that everyone deserves a chance. And especially in situations where I’ve had a lag in romantic activity, I’ve been an opportunist: Even when you’re not too jazzed on a date, you do it anyway to flex the dating muscle. An old colleague of mine called it “practice dating.”

Then something began to change. Maybe it was getting older. Maybe it was fatigue. Maybe it was letting go of ideals. But in a relatively short period of time, I went from being open to love to being suspicious of it. Instead of giving potential suitors a respectable grace period, I began judging people almost immediately. I at first felt bad about this. It certainly didn’t make me seem like a nice person. But I then began to realize that it prevented me from dealing with a lot of douchebag behavior I’d let slide before.

There was one particular guy I’d met in a bar a few months ago. He seemed like my dream guy. Physically, I was extremely attracted. I’d had that magnetic thing happen when you first see someone and they suddenly become singled out from a crowd and you can’t stop looking at him. He was kind, friendly, and an interesting architect. It was torture talking to him all night and not kissing him. But we’d exchanged numbers, and my girlish excitement commenced. Until, that is, I got a text from him that night at 2 a.m. I didn’t respond. I was not flattered. I could have responded in the morning, but I didn’t. Two nights later it was a text at 12:30 a.m. My gut had been right. This was definitely not a good sign.

Random texts happened a few more times over the course of a few weeks, and a few I responded to out of courtesy, but I never extended an invite, nor wrote anything that he could follow up on. When I finally got a proper “Would you like to get a drink?” text (OK, so texting is fairly low-level in communications standards), I sent him a response that I’d never have thought I’d send to a man to whom I was carnally attracted: “You know, you really haven’t seemed that enthused or even like you’re remotely interested in dating, so, I’m going to go with no.” Did I still think about him? Yes. Did I still dream that on this supposed drinks date that everything crappy would be forgotten? Yes. But I couldn’t let myself give that a chance.

He responded, “Fair enough.” I never heard from him again.

Which just confirms how relieved I am that I forced myself to never go down that road. Because I knew I’d end up turning right around.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    You definitely have to follow your instincts. You did the right thing, and true, he showed you how he really felt. Good for you. I know you felt proud at that moment. The date would’ve been a waste of makeup and prep (I know from experience).

    I have a friend who is super picky. She goes on one date and decides ‘well, it was fun, but he’s too young, he’s a teacher, he has bad hair,etc..’ I think she should be a tad more open to love, but at least she’s getting out there trying, so I can’t fault her completely. One day, perhaps she’ll find her prince charming, but until then, she has to realize that people can get haircuts or change jobs. HA!

    When you know something’s off, you’re usually right. I liked this article.

  • lauryn

    What a timely post. I don’t think you’re standing in your own way as much as you are using your common sense and trusting your instincts. Neither of these are bad; there are a lot of weirdos and predators out there.

  • D

    It’s good you’re upping your standards. Knowing what you want, and are able to tolerate, is key. He wasn’t wrong in his approach and you weren’t wrong in your response. It’s just two people who wanted different things. He wasn’t playing games or trying to lead you on with fairytales. Texting during prime booty call hours made his intentions clear (though the dude has zero game because a deep voice late night does more than a cold text ever will. He should have called outside of booty call hours and let the convo linger into them and then…….anyway, that’s neither here nor there). His intentions were clear and gave you the option to decline without weeks of games. Respect all around. However……….

    …..I will say that a man wanting sex immediately isn’t always a sign that he isn’t open to more or a good guy, just like if you wanted sex quick one night it wouldn’t negate your positive “wifey” qualities. You’d just be horny and looking for someone else who is, too. You could have let him know it wasn’t like that and that he could hop on the freak train at the next station or actually date the wonderful woman that is you.

  • Mary

    Your post caught me at the right time. I’ve been through that phase with someone who was clear from the start due to health issues and dealing with his father’s death. There was also his ex wandering around, but we kept seeing each other, since we both thought we were good company. Things got out of hand with my emotions taking over and now, I’ve outgrown this phase and I’m determined to go for someone of my caliber and not settle just because I wanna live the 2-minute thrills of a faux-relationship

  • Bosslady

    Great and timely piece. I can definitely relate to this. I think the majority of us reach a point in our lives where we know what we want, and we can smell BS from a mile away. Good for you! The right person will come along eventually, but until then, keeping doing you and resist the temptation to entertain foolery.

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