No expectations here, I’m totally chill

3 Feb

Has dating always been like this?

You start getting to know someone, maybe even go on a real date or two, and then it’s just … stuck. We’re afraid of scaring people away by saying something as simple as, “I really dig you, and I don’t want to see other people.”

Asking something of your paramour – as simple as “you should call me more often” – is terrifying, because we’re afraid of being labeled as “desperate” or “clingy” or (and I hate this slang) “thirsty.”

YES. If I’m dating you (and just because we’re for some reason terrified of the word dating and instead stick with “seeing” and “talking to” doesn’t mean dating isn’t what we’re doing) I want you to call me. I want you to make plans with me. I want to be completely confident that you actually enjoy spending time with me – and if that makes me clingy, then I will wear that label with pride.

But of course, we’re afraid that if we tell someone this, we’ll lose them. We’re afraid that we’ll say, “So, are we exclusive?” and the guy will hear, “Cut the crap, Hamlet, my biological clock is ticking and I want babies now!”

And so, we stay chill. We play games, waiting hours to respond to their texts when everyone knows we’re surgically attached to our phones. We say “it’s casual” and pretend we definitely haven’t imagined our lives with them a full decade into the future. We are so desperate not to seem desperate that we weigh every word when we’re around them, introducing them only by name (“my boyfriend” is too much, “my friend” is clearly a lie). We have no idea if we’re allowed to even acknowledge the existence of Valentine’s Day.

I’m not sure why we’re so afraid that actually wanting a relationship will scare people away – and why is that such a bad thing? If someone runs from me because I don’t want “casual,” aren’t I just saving myself future heartbreak?

Then, of course, there’s the fact that I don’t actually know what it is that I do want. I like my freedom, and having the ability to go where I want and do what I want. Especially in long-distance situations, I like not having the pressure of a “boyfriend”. I want domestic stability someday, but not today.

Sometimes, though I wish I lived in the days when you shared a milkshake and a boy gave you his pin (fraternity pin? I never really understood this) and you knew exactly where you stood. Although, of course, I’m sure those young women were sometimes just as confused as I am, and wished they could go back to the even more strictly defined courting rituals of the turn of the century.

In short, relationships are weird.

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2 Responses to “No expectations here, I’m totally chill”

  1. Ellen Nguyen February 3, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    I totally agree with you! I think this has become part of the culture now and it’s really hard to go back to the old days where relationships are simple and straightforward without so much involvement of technology and mind games. I wish life could be simpler and people would be honest and decent! I did write a post about this called “It is how casual works”, expressing the same idea but with different writing style. Have a look if you have time 🙂

    And yes. That term thirsty! It’s just the worst! I fee like people use it as a kind of power play, as in labelling others to be in a better position. It’s just like calling a girl crazy when she’s nowhere near it.

    Keep up the good writing!

    All the best,
    Ellen

    • laurenkcampbell February 3, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

      Thanks Ellen – I totally agree that people use “thirsty” as a power play, and it’s ridiculous!

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