Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nice to Meet You.

It might seem odd that a single, pregnant woman would be talking about dating but that's exactly what is happening in this post.

Believe it or not I've had several men interested in dating me even though I'm pregnant. The fact that there is no "baby daddy" in the picture seems to take the edge off and some actually find the fact that I knew what I wanted and went for it admirable. 

Having said that, I've yet to be interested in a relationship at this point. There are the more obvious reasons like the fact that my daughter will take up the majority of my time and energy (as it should be) for quite awhile. But there are other reasons, well mainly one, that factor into my lack of desire to jump back into the dating pool.  

Dating has become a total madhouse. I'm not talking about casual dating (hookups here and there), I'm talking about serious, "I'm looking for the one" type of dating. 

Dating for the purpose of a long-term relationship generally happens via online dating, although sometimes it can be a setup between mutual friends, etc. And while I've heard several success stories from those who have met their mates online, I find that these stories are a rarity and also are between people who are in their late 30's/early 40's and/or they actually met when online dating was really starting to take off  and are not recent connections. I, personally, have had years of online dating experience and even met a former boyfriend online. However, since my most recent bout with dating (the one that sent me flying in the Choice Mom direction), I have realized two things:  A.  I've grown up really quickly and matured in my overall thinking towards dating and B. Most people who are dating (primarily) online are lost, hurt by their past and trying to find a savior who can rescue them (I know this because I've been one of them.)   

It starts out like this. A guy sends you a wink or a request to chat or whatever that particular site has. You respond back with a wink or a "Hey, I'm good how are you?" blah, blah, blah. A small amount of chitchat is exchanged but it's a VERY small amount. And all too quickly, things start to take a turn in the "deep conversation" direction.  He then asks what you're looking for (which is already clearly stated in your profile, should you have filled it out correctly) and tells you exactly what he's looking for. He wants to know about your exes, (what happened, what went wrong) and he wants to tell you about his. He wants to make sure you understand that he's looking for keeps and that he's tired of dating and is ready to settle down. His expectations are high but he's willing to give the same in return and promises you he's worth it.  All of this before you've even seen the man in person. Before you've heard his voice, before anything. We're already talking about expectations, the past and the possible future and for all I know you could have a lisp so strong I can't understand you or body odor so strong you'd give a skunk a run for his money.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that those aren't important topics but for the love of Pete, MEET ME FIRST! And don't meet me with any expectations of a future together. Let's make it through happy hour and maybe I'll tell you that I don't date men who smoke. But until we've established that we are somewhat compatible and attracted to each other, let's not order the wedding invitations and change our Facebook relationship statuses. 

Sadly, this isn't just an online thing anymore. I've also had it happen before blind dates and big group meetings where there was a particular person that my friends thought I might mesh with. It just seems that everyone is so quick to jump in headfirst these days. I've come to realize that it's really just a bunch of hurt people trying to avoid repeating the past. When you get to know someone slowly, you put yourself in a very vulnerable position. But when you hand out demands and expectations before you even meet the person, you're already distancing yourself from them.

If you knew the old me, you are probably picking your jaw up off of the floor because I used to be just like that.  I don't know if it's the pregnancy or what, but for some reason I no longer have a desire to rush into anything. Actually, I want to take it slow; very slow and easy, even if it makes me vulnerable. I want to meet  in a setting where there's no pressure. Buy me a snow cone and tell me you hate the Yankees and we'll go from there. But don't tell me what you hated about your ex so that you can compare me to her and don't lay out a list of demands a mile long. 

The truth of the matter is that we all have the same basic desires when it comes to relationships. We all want to be loved, respected and encouraged by the person we're with. Therefore there really is no need to go into meeting someone by voicing that you need/want those things. Instead, find out who they are, find out the little things. I've had people tell me that the little things aren't important, but I really believe they are. When I look back on my past relationships, those were the things I loved the most about the other person; the small things we had in common, like both singing loudly and off-key to the radio, or the fact that we both loved banana and peanut butter sandwiches. I'm not saying those things trump love and respect, but I think they actually make a relationship what it is. 

So before we go any further, my name is Leslie, my favorite colors are pink and purple, I like to turn the radio up as loud as I can take it in the car, I don't like squash or cauliflower,  and I HATE the Yankees.  

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