Fresh off a rough break up, like most, I was not looking for a relationship. So of course, take a guess at what happened next? Obviously, I met someone. Granted, it had been about 6 months since my last relationship ended, but much like the actual break up before hand, I never really never saw it coming. Id been out on a girls night when the man across the bar came over, and I was surprised when it started to turn into something. Especially given how we met, there seems to be a stigma attached to people who meet in bars and clubs so you can imagine my shock when it turned out he didn’t fit the chat up in a bar kind of stereotype we are all so fond of.
But sure enough, ‘turn into something’ it did, and I found myself in a relationship, slowly but surely getting to know each other over late evenings, road trips, and phone calls. I grew up in a very conservative family, I went to a very conservative school and, consequently my friends and social circle fitted this as well. And partly what comes along with that culture is a very specific notion of how dating should look. Essentially the message being: you date to get to know someone and very shortly into this dating malarkey you decide whether or not its going somewhere for the potential long haul. Believe me, there are books, blogs and experts that all have their view on how long you date before making your relationship official, when to meet the parents, when to think about co-habiting, etc.
Perhaps it’s that background that has propelled most of my adult relationships down a certain trajectory, no questions asked. But with this guy, it was different. I was all for the rush, I dated, I knew. He wanted to take his time and so i thought why the heck not? We weren’t concerned about titles and we were open to all of the possibilities that this ‘relationship’ could lead to. I never would’ve gone for this no cares timeline before him, maybe its him? Would I have felt differently if it was another guy? But at that time, I was deliriously happy that i couldn’t care less about the pace we were going at. With having life in the town to myself, and only just getting brave enough to paddle in the relationship pool. It was the most authentic thing I had done, relationship-wise. Maybe i needed this kind of relationship, the no named kind of we are, but we are not relationship. And it’s what worked for both of us. So I never even questioned it. We were what we were, it suited us. That is, until others did.
Every one and their dog has to air their opinions. Friends, strangers, family, you name it; they are going to insert their own advice on your life, even if you don’t want it, and i guarantee most of it won’t be asked for. You can be totally content with your choices and then someone goes and puts those thoughts into your head. Don’t you hate it when people ask questions like:
Are you not engaged yet?
So are you in a relationship?
Have you taken him home yet?
Are you still dating other people?
And then suddenly, your happy little plodding along slow-paced relationship is thrown into the air and jumbled up with everyone else’s opinions and views, when I was asked those questions, I found myself either stretching to make my truth meet their expectations, or being thrown into second guessing my whole relationship and that it wasn’t right because it didn’t meet everyone’s view and expectations.
In the dating world, we are inundated with the way things should be or the way to do things, and the ‘he’s just not that into you’s’ are floating around causing us to rush things or slow them down or stop them altogether based on one horror story that your second cousins friends next door neighbour told you.
But really, what difference does it make if you can’t meet societies jumped up expectations of a relationship. The only thing you need to do is trust in yourself and in the guy you’re seeing. I know, it sounds crazy. Who cares if you date for months, don’t move in until you’ve passed the 3 year mark, as for meeting the parents well… I won’t be taking anyone home any time soon if i want to keep them in my life. But guess what? There is only two of you in this relationship….. You’re the one who has to be in the relationship, only you know the ins and outs, intricacies and plans. You know what works more than anyone else.
The truth is, people break up, decide, or discuss when they are ready, in their own time. And we’re not teenagers anymore. We need to trust ourselves and the person we are choosing and our experiences and gut to guide us in life, not someone else’s cockamamie idea of how it should look. Peoples judgement is all well and said, but they don’t know half about your relationship that you do, remember that guys and dolls.
Treat your relationship like a creme egg, there is no right or wrong way to eat it. Some people pop it in one, others nibble the top, some scoop out the middle but guess what darlings, it still gets eaten. Your relationship is like a creme egg… there is no right or wrong way. Just your way.
So what do you think? Is dating advice just a bunch of balls? Do you trust your gut?