The Dating Game ~~~ The Relationship Files

There is a fine line between too much and not enough, especially when you’re boxing in the dating arena. From a women’s perspective, it’s quite a challenge to show interest without being labeled clingy. I’m no dryer sheet and even I have trouble knowing when I should initiate and when it’s best to remain aloof. Let’s face it; all the really good prizes at the carnival are the hardest to win. Who the hell wants a four inch tall fabric dinosaur when they can win a four foot tall stuffed Shrek donkey? I want the big prize. I’m the girl who comes home with the donkey…sometimes literally, and sometimes figuratively. So this should be difficult, right? After all, what the hell do you have in your life that’s awesome and was easy to obtain? I can’t think of a thing.

And men, well let’s just say, they are no easier to figure out than we are. They step it up and slow it down, pull you close and then push you away. Getting to know someone can be likened to dancing with a new partner. You are unlikely to step in time with one another until your individual styles emerge, but the urge to protect your feet is immediate. How do you make it through all that dancing out of time in one piece without breaking your foot? If you figure it out, let me know. *limps to the kitchen to freshen the java*

So how do you know when it’s ok to let your guard down? What about showing interest? When is it safe and to what degree should you let a guy know what you feel? How do you trust what you feel is your heart speaking and not your vagina? Good questions which sorely lack good answers.  If you ask for too much, you may get nothing at all. Ask for too little and you risk losing his interest to someone more demanding. As for which part of you is speaking, well if you want him to want to be with you no matter what the day’s agenda holds, it’s probably your heart.  Otherwise, silence your lips, vagina. 

When I am training a horse, it’s easy for me to intuit how quickly he learns.  I set the pace of the lesson to his ability.  I can’t find a way to apply this logic to human interactions.  Our ability to learn and grow, like and love ebbs and flows according to our past experiences and what’s currently going on in our lives.  How do you know if you are too fast or too slow when the response remains inconsistent?  Save a horse, ride a cowboy, but don’t expect to figure him out right away.  It’s like Kramer’s version of movie phone, ‘Why don’t you just tell me what movie you want to watch????’

No matter what you do, too much, too little or just enough, you begin playing the dating game the second you start asking yourself the questions. The moment you no longer engage in coupled activities to kill time and you do it because you really want to;  you, my friend, are in the game. The stakes grow exponentially when you develop an honest desire for someone. And you better step lightly, especially in the forty something muddy puddle we are forced to date in, because most of us only have a few feelings left. The emotional cost is high when someone steps on one of them.

Once upon a time, I built a mental list of rules. I would not call or text first, I would not accept anything but a properly requested date and they would be fetching me and taking me out, proper, etc. Aloof was the word of the day, every day. I followed a strict dating construct and I found myself disappointed to discover my rules didn’t improve the quality of my dating experiences. Like any crazy girl who is not yet totally insane, I ditched my rules and I’m going to do what feels right. I’m throwing my last few feelings on the tracks. I can only hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.

I’m left to question; did relaxing my rules and following my feelings leave me more open to even bigger disappointments or did ‘changing it up’ open doors to bigger and better experiences? One day, perhaps, I’ll be able to let you know. Until then, game on.