I think I need to take a break from dating.
A friend suggested this yesterday, and at first I bristled at the suggestion. I am not getting any younger, and it’s been ages since I’ve been in a relationship (okay it’s been like 9 months but still) and if I stop trying then it feels like I’m giving up hope.
And yet, when she suggested that, there was something in me that relaxed.
I’ve been on three dates in the last few weeks. They were all fine. They were all with men who are smart and doing interesting things. But even as I write these sentences, I am sagging inwardly.
The first guy I went on a date with is doing his PhD at York, and we had a decent hour-long chat about movies and politics and Toronto and New York.
The second guy – well, I still don’t know what he does, tbh. That was a weird experience, because he started off doing that thing guys do when you are a lady and doing your PhD, which is to try to prove to you how smart they are. I managed to subvert his attempt at doing this by actually telling a couple of stories of dates where this has happened, and remarking on how exhausting it is. He responded well to this, and seemed to relax a bit. But, then he started trying to explain his theories of the universe to me, and showing me diagrams and dialogues he’s written to explain them, and I wasn’t sure how to respond to these. It eventually came out that he’s got a mental illness (which is cool, so do I) which explained some of the kinds of things he was saying, and he relaxed even more when I revealed that I have an anxiety disorder. Eventually I managed to direct the conversation away from the initial awkwardness, and more towards movies and politics and books and stuff like that, and we had a decent conversation for about an hour after that. By the end of that date, I had developed a genuine affection for this man, and I wish him well. I hope he falls in love. With someone who isn’t me.
The third man was also fine. He works at a music library in Toronto and it sounds like his job is actually pretty cool. He seemed kind and thoughtful and tuned in. And he was attractive, but in a way that I am still unsure about. My attraction to people is something I have spent the last twenty years figuring out, and I have a much better handle on it than I used to, but even so I still have some anxiety and confusion about it. I know, for example, that I have a pretty obvious ‘type’, although I also know that now and then I’m super attracted to people outside of that type. I know that my attraction to someone’s personality is something that can come entirely apart from my attraction to their body. (This has led to many unfortunate dating decisions.) I also know that when I am attracted to someone’s personality AND their body, the two end up blending together in a way that is very intense and powerful. (This is what happened with the crush, and doesn’t happen super often.)
I also know that my attraction to people can grow over time if I don’t experience it initially, but often it doesn’t. Often I know immediately if it’s a yes or a no. And I know this in my body, not my mind. So I can see that someone, for example, is very typically attractive, but not actually be attracted TO them. I’ve learned, over the years, that most of the time my initial physical impression of someone is right. I’ve learned that my body knows things, and that I should trust it to know those things.
And so as I was talking to this man, this kind and intelligent man, I was imagining kissing him and something inside me recoiled at that thought. I also found myself wondering who, amongst my friends, I could set him up with. Neither of these things feels like evidence that I should go on a second date.
And I find this so exhausting and disheartening. Like, is it that these guys are just not a match for me? Or is it that I’m actually not in a place right now where *anyone* is going to feel like a good match? Does dating just suck until it doesn’t? Or should I just take a fucking break?
I don’t know for sure the answers to these questions, but I do know that although I feel some weird obligation to keep dating, that the idea of taking a break from it feels really fucking great. The idea of spending my evenings with Tom Hiddleston movies and watching the last season of Sherlock that I never got around to watching and hanging out with my friends who I know are definitely interesting people – all of that sounds fucking amazing. So I think I’m going to trust my body on that one right now, and step back for a bit. I’ll still be posting here, though, in the meantime. I’ve only scratched the surface of all the dating stories I still have.