Maybe when I was spending all that time avoiding dating, maybe I should have spent that time figuring out how to prevent the worst things from happening when I went to date again.
In general, I like me more when I’m not with someone else, and I have to figure out why.
I question myself more.
I defer to their opinions, let them win arguments for the sake of keeping peace, say I’m sorry when I should hold my ground (and hold my ground when I should let it go and change the subject), and think things are my fault when they aren’t or it’s not important.
I think about the other person too much.
At any time I am acutely aware of what they want and what I can get from them. I become a little obsessed, wanting to know everything about their thoughts, day, past, etc.
I go into hopeless story-book romantic mode.
My soft center under the hard shell starts to show, which is okay, but it’s too much. I start to trust and idealize the other person too much, opening up myself to being hurt easier. I start to have a hard time seeing myself without that person.
I start to lose a strong sense of self.
In deferring some of my opinions and identity to the other person, I become passive pre-feminism Cindy who constantly wonders what he might want.
I become afraid to be honest.
Normally I’m blunt and crass. I’ll still be honest, but I’ll be less sure about it. I’ll suddenly wonder about potential consequences that normally me and my life code don’t give a rats ass about. I start to fear what fully disclosing some of the crazy, negative, unstable thoughts I sometimes have. The temptation to hide my flaws and pretend I’m more normal than I am suddenly occurs to me when I’m normally not a self-conscious person.
I expect to spend more time with the other person than I should.
When I’m with the other person, I try to get too much out of each moment with them. I can follow the person around, touch a lot, become clingy. I constantly want to do things for the person and set my own stuff aside in anticipation of spending more time with them or doing something for them. I begin to spend less time with friends.
Okay, now that I have some things I’ve identified about the past, how can I turn that into things I need to make sure I do?
Don’t question the person you put forward.
This is the same person that a guy initially saw something interesting and good about. Whatever it is about you that made them want you was real. If they don’t still see it after they get to know you better, then it’s okay. Turns out you aren’t for each other and things have naturally run their course. Not everyone you date is potentially someone you’re supposed to be with or be with for a long time. If they potentially are that person, you don’t have a lot of control over that manifesting. You can’t force what isn’t right, and changing yourself to fit better will not lead to any kind of happiness. Keep your identity and remember how awesome you are even with the flawed, human bits. If they can’t handle you on a bad day, it’s doomed anyways. We all have bad days. You don’t need to be constantly proving yourself as worthy of their respect.
Your opinions are as valid as theirs.
Maybe they are even more so because they are yours. You don’t need to agree on everything to be with someone. You date geeks. Geeks like to argue and be right. Still, two people should be able to respect each other’s views enough not to argue a lot, or not to let a discussion get out of hand.
Don’t blame yourself.
It’s probably not all of your fault, if placing blame is even worth it. Move past whatever it is rather than wasting time on arguments, hurts, and negativity. If you start to see a pattern you don’t like, address it calmly. If you can’t live with it, let it end things rather than caving. Focus on your own needs, after all, you are number one. They should also be that to themselves. If they are strong enough to be with you, they will make their wants and needs known calmly and reasonably while standing on their own.
You don’t need to know everything.
Yeah, this person must be cool if you’re with them. Knowing everything won’t make them more cool. What are you looking for exactly? Are you trying to read the future? Let things happen at a normal pace and get to know them as they open up to you, not as you pry at them. Intense doesn’t equal better always. There’s no need to cling on, as it might take away from the specialness of an intimate moment.
Embrace that you don’t know how long the good times will last.
All good things come to an end. Life ends. Make sure you’re still there to find something else after it is. I’m not saying plan for it to be short, but plan to be able to exist beyond this.
Don’t lose your friends.
Make plans with the friends. Invite him, but if he’s not up for it, still go. Don’t cancel plans for him unless it’s an emergency, rare occasion, or you really don’t want to go out. If he hates a friend of yours, tough noogies. If he makes you feel bad for your friends or for going out with them, it’s a clearly marked warning sign.
Do more self-full acts than selfless.
You like taking care of people. You’re a big-sister at heart and a motherly type. That’s okay to a degree. You need to work on yourself first, and if that’s going well, feel free to give some of the extra to the person you care about. If you suffer, you both suffer. You’re not actually mom. You still need to come first.
And with that pep-talk I feel a little better. If I draw these things into the open for myself, it makes it that much harder to go into bad habits.