10 Things I’ve Learned About Dating at 25: Part 1

1. Some men prefer to communicate through silence

Here I’m referring specifically to the phenomenon of being “left on read”. I read somewhere recently that “silence is also an answer”. Maybe they lost their phone, maybe they didn’t see the notification, maybe they “don’t use this app very much” – and maybe for whatever reason the person in question simply doesn’t have the time, energy or desire to reply. They’d rather communicate their lack of passion for you through their lack of saying anything at all.

2. Cowardice is rife within the realm of dating

“The coward says in his heart “There is no love.” Because, standing in the shadows of the big, grand, and powerful existence of love, his small spirit is left feeling even smaller and less significant. And so he chooses to deny the existence of love altogether. Because he is too small to have it.”

― C. JoyBell C.

“Long before morning I knew that what I was seeking to discover was a thing I’d always known. That all courage was a form of constancy. That it is always himself that the coward abandoned first. After this all other betrayals come easily.”

― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Communicating through silence has somewhat of a relationship to cowardice. The path of least resistance dictates that hiding is easier than asserting one’s position. Maybe it’s the seemingly universal fear that men have of “crazy” women*; but there’s arguably nothing more infuriating or maddening than the sheepish, wimpish behaviour of the emotionally inept.
*A valid exception here is the concept of “grey-rocking” – the act of making yourself invisible to and uncontactable by your abuser. Sometimes silence is absolutely the safest form of response.

3. There are 3 important behaviours to observe in the person you are dating: their words, their actions and their telecommunication

We should never have to fight for truth. Any time words and actions don’t match, check in with yourself and ask yourself what you may be afraid to accept. Invite them to show up with truth, and if the gap continues then we have to move forward, often without them.

Mark Groves

I mention telecommunication here because flaky communication is also a behaviour. This flaky communication might not match their irl behaviour, but it’s still a behaviour. It’s still an important messenger. It took me a long time to learn this.

“But they act so into me when they’re around me! But we had such a good time!” But when you go home and hear nothing from them for days, it makes you feel rotten, doesn’t it? I went on a couple of dates with a breathtakingly beautiful man a couple of months back. I could barely look him in the eyes he was that gorgeous. When he was pursuing me initially, his messaging was fairly consistent. After we met, it dropped considerably. This confused me because our date went well and he even said so himself. The excuse he gave me for his sporadic messaging was that he was dyslexic. This is a 32-year-old man who lacked the ability to just tell me outright that he didn’t care to see me again. Regardless, he had cast some sort of spell on me and I couldn’t stop thinking about him so I arranged to meet with him again. This time, he seemed very distracted and detached. That is, until he got me out of my clothes.

At the end of our second “date”, he told me to get in touch and let him know when I was free. I said pointedly that I’d leave the ball in his court. And after a piss poor attempt at trying to reconvene with me with almost no notice, he didn’t message me again. He probably would’ve met with me again if I’d jumped when he snapped his fingers, would’ve happily had me in his bed again and told me how amazing my body was; but I had to accept that he didn’t care about me very much. Despite the fleeting joy we experienced while together and how good it felt to be told by a beautiful man that I, too, was beautiful – the confusion stemming from his mismatched words, actions and telecommunication meant he brought much more suffering than he did joy.

4. Confusion is a red flag

When the aforementioned words, actions and telecommunication do not match at least for the most part, this naturally breeds confusion. I’ve learned to listen to this confusion and take every excuse with a massive pinch of salt. The right person for you will make you feel special, cherished and cared for; not start a storm in your heart.

5. Being emotional is not a weakness

To care is to be vulnerable. According to the world, it’s not cool to be vulnerable; it’s cool to be stoic, aloof and unconcerned, because to emotionally inept people, this shows resilience, strength of character and the oh-so-admirable quality of being eternally unbothered. But this is all wrong, because to be constantly ‘unbothered’ is to be dead inside. For a lot of people, caring means losing. These are the people who invest all their energy into performing instead of living, because to appear unbothered all the time, you must be in a constant state of pretence. Don’t aim to be like these people. They need more help than you think they do. But it is not your place to save them.

Chidera Eggerue

My last semblance of a relationship ended quite recently after only 4 weeks. And only because I had the courage to ask where things were truly heading. What I learned from asking that question broke my heart a little and broke my soul a lot. I was beginning to fall for someone who had never uttered the words “I love you” in his life, someone who had always had convenient relationships which he ended whenever he decided to disappear off to another country. I learned that this is what he intended on doing when he moved to England a few months down the line. I had already been so vulnerable with him and thought I’d finally found someone that it could work out with. I haven’t cried that much in a long time. He hinted at my alleged ’emotional instability’. The above quote from Chidera healed me a little. I’d rather be emotional than emotionally inept. I’d rather have the courage and faith to care for someone deeply and entrust them with my heart than keep it locked away.

Thanks for reading! Part 2 to follow 🙂 (I didn’t expect to be rambling so much!)

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