You know Jezebel’s one of my morning read websites, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. I came across this article today in my browsing, and it made me think that I could whip up some rules for love too. (Stop. Go read that first and then come back to me.)
There are things I’ve learnt in my 12 years of dating history, god, has it been TWELVE WHOLE YEARS? Nothing like a little back calculating to make you feel old. Anyway, in this time, there are also things I frequently forget. This list is sort of to help me remember, now that I’m firmly back in the dating pool again, trying, and getting up, and being bruised and vulnerable and stomach flutters and disappointments and everything.
Now is also a good time to tell you guys about something weird (and kind of wonderful) that’s been happening to me. For the last month, I’ve been receiving anonymous, hand delivered presents. One for my birthday, and one for Christmas. There are a number of possibilities, a friend trying to make me feel better, someone playing a practical joke (but who cares? PRESENTS!) or the most thrilling, a secret admirer. I’ve always longed for a secret admirer, and of course, I’m DYING of curiosity, but at the same time, I also don’t want the anticipation to end. Reality never lives up to what’s in your head. There, that’s rule number one. I have quite a vivid imagination, one phone call from a prospective, and already I’m imagining us on the beach somewhere, doing a holiday, walking hand in hand, having cozy nights in, when all the poor guy usually wants is to meet me for coffee. My brain gets ahead of itself frequently, and then is all “awwwww” when stuff doesn’t work the same way in real life. Maybe I just need a fantasy boyfriend.
Rule number two, and one I’ve learnt the hard way. I’ve just come out of a pretty long, pretty serious relationship. Now, the problem with that is that you expect the next guy to pick up exactly where you and the old guy were when you broke up. Start at square one. Remember he’s not in love with you (yet). Remember he doesn’t know all your stories. Remember this is new territory, and you, even you, are a whole new person.
My friend and I were having this chat about boys the other night. Do we ever outgrow chats about boys? We’ve been doing the same thing since we were sixteen, and now, all aged and weary, career women etc, we still like nothing better than a couple of bottles of wine, and talking about boys. She said it was important to have some unbreakable expectations. In the sense, what are the things you will not and can not compromise on? Him calling you back after your date? Him showing an interest in your work? You need to figure out what the things are that work for you, and what doesn’t, so that you save yourself a hell of a lot of heartbreak later on. (Again, lesson learnt the hard way.)
Don’t be afraid to be alone. No one likes a needy person. I’m actually having the time of my life right now, living entirely on my own for the first time ever. I love it. I can’t imagine sharing my space with anyone at the moment (though the house right downstairs just got robbed last night, so now I’m a little scared). When you are comfortable in your space and your body then people will be comfortable around you. You know how dogs can sense fear? Well, we humans can sense neediness. It’s hard to control, I know, I’ve had moments of drunken despair, where I just want to throw myself at the first pretty boy I see and take him home and get married and have babies, but do I really? Having been “together” for so long, I’m not really in a rush to be “together” again.
And finally. Aren’t we all a little old to be playing games? I know I am. I’ve tried and failed miserably. I don’t want to go through the whole “guess what I feel!” thing again, and I’m weary of men who want me to do that. If I like you enough to suggest meeting up, if I like you enough to spend an evening with you, must we go through the whole yo-yo thing? I’d appreciate it far, far more if people were just straight: You were great, but I’m just not interested. Simple. No need to do this dance.