You may think it’s rather premature of me to mention dating at a time when I’m only 1 week away from Breakup 2.0’s phone call, but there will come a time when I venture outside to search for a new partner.
Just not now.
Which brings me to my Adventures in Dating first step: Knowing when you’re ready.
I finally stumbled across something that made sense, a way to tell when I’m emotionally suitable to take a chance on a new relationship, the concept of being excited about dating.
For the purposes of this discussion, what exactly is dating? It’s important to figure out the primary purpose.
Urban Dictionary says:
Of a couple, to be in the early stages of a relationship where they go out on dates to find out what each other is like, as a prelude to actually being a fully fledged couple.
Hidden in this definition is the litmus test for being ready — to find out what each other is like. Question: am I excited about meeting new men and finding out what they are like?
If the answer is “no”, then I’m not ready. If the answer is “yes”, then I can move forward.
Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you? ~ Mark Manson
I recognize that anyone I date at this time would get planted in the gray area, that area where I’m not really sure I want to be with them. I’d only use that person to assuage my current loneliness. Yes, Virginia, there is a big red flag and I’m holding it. My own private movie title, “Deja’s Just Not That Into You.” I’d end up pulling a “Husband #2” on some unsuspecting soul.
There will come a day when I’ll look forward to meeting lots of new people and learning more about a select few of them. That is the point when I’ll be ready to date again. When I’m excited about the unknown and the opportunity (and effort) to make it the known.
Once I hit that day, I’ll use these rules to evaluate my future involvements (also courtesy of Mark Manson):
- No longer be strung along by people who aren’t that into you. End all of the headaches. End the wishing and hoping. End the disappoint and anger that inevitably follows. Start practicing self-respect. Become the rejector, not the rejected.
- No longer pursue people you are so-so on for ego purposes. We’ve all been there. We were so-so about somebody, but we went along with it because nothing better was around. And we all have a few we’d like to take back. No more.
- Consent issues are instantly resolved. If someone is playing games with you, playing hard to get, or pressuring you into doing something you’re unsure about, your answer is now easy. Or as I often like to say in regards to dating, “If you have to ask, then that’s your answer.”
- Establish strong personal boundaries and enforce them. Maintaining strong boundaries not only makes one more confident and attractive, but also helps to preserve one’s sanity in the long-run.
- Always know where you stand with the other person. Since you’re now freeing up so much time and energy from people you’re not that into, and people who are not that into you, you now find yourself perpetually in interactions where people’s intentions are clear and enthusiastic. Sweet!
So for now, I’m into my wallow and out of the dating pool, saving someone else the heartache of getting too attached to a partner who is just not ready.