“I don’t want to go out with him again.”
“I don’t know, I just don’t.”
“But he’s such a good, smart boy.”
“He’s annoying. Or boring. Or had a bad tie. I don’t know! He’s just not for me, okay?”
Sometimes, you just know it isn’t going to work. It’s called a gut feeling, and it’s usually right. It might be self-fulfilling-prophesy right, but it’s going to be right, so there’s no point in arguing.
Still, sometimes you need a reason. Either for the pushy parents or shadchan, or for your rational self. Why oh why don’t you want to go out with this lovely boy again?
And sometimes the reason is stupid, because you’re groping. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less right.
I’m not a dating guru. If I knew so much about dating, I’d probably be married by now.
Which is not to say that married people know lots about dating. Some of them seem to just fall into it accidentally. Going out with three people and getting married does not, actually, qualify you to give dating advice. Then again, neither does going out 100 times and never getting past the first “where do we stand” conversation. In fact, the only person I’d trust to give me dating advice is someone who’s been married multiple times. And obviously, they’re doing something wrong too.
Still, we all need dating advice at times, and really, who else is there to turn to except our fellow daters? So I’m going to crowdsource this one. Here’s the question – tell me your answers. I’ll save mine for whenever I get the chance to write it.
I just broke up with a guy I really liked. In a long, late-night conversation he said he wasn’t sure where he stood in life and where he wanted to go and he just didn’t think we were making progress. What does that mean? Because all the guys I break up with say the same thing. We go out for months and then they say that we’re just not making progress. What kind of progress are we supposed to be making when we can’t progress to second base?
To Whom It Concerns,
When I answered your “How did it go” with “It’s over,” I wasn’t more forthcoming because I didn’t want to come forth.
I know I was a little more detailed while I was actually dating. I probably told you that it was going well, and maybe even gave you a run of his vital stats: “Med student – really sweet. From Hawaii.” And we were both happy because I was happy because things seemed so promising.
But that’s over now. And I don’t want to talk about it.
What went wrong?
Where to start?
It’s not something you can just capture in a sentence or summarize in a few words. It’s not as explainable as “unattractive” or “different goals.” It’s never that simple when you get this far. Why do you think that I can distill the minutia of a complex human interaction into a few brief sentences?
What happened? What always happens. There was something there – some niggling doubt, some nascent issue. Something that was ignored at first, as we were each carried away with the euphoria of enjoying ourselves with a promising new friend. But then things got serious, and the problem couldn’t stay hidden. So there it was. An objection.
Was it really a problem? Couldn’t it be worked out? You think I didn’t think about that? You think there weren’t post-date nights I wasn’t lying awake wondering if it was just me, if I wasn’t being petty or irrational? Is it something really important in the grand scheme of things? If this were a hundred years ago, would it matter? Since it’s not a hundred years ago, does it matter what would matter a hundred years ago? But if it could be reconciled a hundred years ago, couldn’t it be reconciled now? Ah, but was it really reconciled a hundred years ago? How would we know? And so on.
Actually, there weren’t. On post-date nights my brain was always quiet, numbed by analgesic post-date web-surfing or noshing. The runaway worries always hit the next day, usually while trying to do brain-intensive homework.
But it was bothering him too. Maybe even keeping him awake at night, or distracting him during his anatomy and physiology review. And if we both noticed it, and we both thought it was an issue, it’s not really reconcilable, is it? Because we agree on that, as on so many other things.
So we parted.
And I don’t want to talk about it. I’m still a little dazed. It’s always so sudden. Just when you’re starting to really get along, they’re yanked away from you by one thing or another.
Just give me the space to mourn – to indulge in the what-ifs and should-have-saids that I won’t purge from my mind until I give them free play on center stage. It will pass – it always does. I know that by now. I know it hurts you to see me hurt, and I appreciate the love that drives your concern. But only I really understand what happened, and only I can work my way through this. Because you really don’t understand. And you won’t. Trust me. So please don’t press me for information. Please don’t make a big deal out of it.
Please don’t do anything except give me my space and let me be. If I want anything I’ll ask.