FaceBook Pressure

I have written something similar to this in the past and touched upon the idea in other posts, but as seasonal depression is about to set in for many, I thought I’d bring it up again. If you’re single and in my age-range, in your mid-20’s/30’s, I’d like to remind you that there presently is no pressure to get married and have children. Sure, the occasional relative may make a comment, and you might have a few close friends who are at this place in their life, but it doesn’t mean you’re amongst the last to find someone. It’s nearly entirely FaceBook’s fault to blame for many of us feeling this way. We’ve so quickly accepted FaceBook as a social norm, and become so used to it in such a short period of time, we’ve forgotten what this age would have been like had we grown up without it. We wouldn’t see every update of every moment of every person we’d ever attended elementary school with. We wouldn’t know what our ex, their cousins, and the people we hung out with in high school were up to these days. Of course, you’d get an invitation to a wedding or two of those you’re close to. You’d get a few updates at your high school reunion. You’d hear a mention, in passing here and there, of who’s doing what nowadays. “Did you hear so and so got engaged last fall?” “I ran into so and so. Now they’re working over at that place.” But you wouldn’t know the moment they were engaged, the moment they broke up, the moment they found out their baby’s gender. It gives a feeling no one in our past has felt, of it all happening at once, when we aren’t a part of it and should be. It’s FaceBook that we’re instantly updating and uploading our lives to. FaceBook is instantly broadcasting us to the world and it’s FaceBook that’s instantly supplying us with every detail of everyone we’ve ever met. Some of us may keep a smaller number of friends, but for the most part you have some people added who would’ve been in your past and out of your life by now that you’re still hearing news about.

The feeling that you’re not in competition with just your closest friends (not that you should be competing/comparing yourself to your friends either) and now it’s also everyone you’ve met in your life, adds pressure to the idea that you should be at the same point in your life as “everyone” else. You feel like you need to catch up because the idea that “everyone” is getting married, engaged, or having children except you means there’s something wrong. There isn’t. Statistically, yes, in general this is the age that most people do begin these journeys, but there isn’t any reason to feel like we should all be at the same places in our lives at the same time. We’re stuck in this perception of daily updates on marriages, engagements, and pregnancies, that puts on this illusion of being part of the minority. How often do we let the break-ups we see on FaceBook linger in our minds? It’s the marriages and engagements which are always highlighted. (Unless of course it’s you’re crush who’s newly available again.)

The end all accomplishment in life is not your marriage or children. It’s living your life in the way that makes you the happiest. Though, these things can of course accompany you in that, it does not necessarily mean these are the things that you should be concerned with at this moment. I do not have children and I have never been married, so I cannot fairly tell you about the good or bad aspects of either. But I know from others, and other life experiences, there are stresses and grievances that come with these things as well. Do we not have enough stresses the way our current lives are? Why is it now that we should trade in certain stresses for new ones? We should not be in such a rush to jump on board and rather embrace that time, whenever it is right for us (possibly never, for some who choose it.) We should be busying ourselves with what we most enjoy now, and letting relationships fall into place as they may along the way. How many stand-up comedians knock marriage? We laugh, because it’s usually true. (I recommend watching “Aziz Ansari – Buried Alive” on NetFlix, if you’re into that kind of humor.) How many TV shows and movies are about meeting the person you end up with when you least expect it? It’s a relatable idea. How often do those movies end, leaving us with the impression that the two people lived happily ever after, in marriage? How unrealistic is it to believe the end of what you do with your life is marriage and/or children? Yet many of us are living each day under the impression that it is. How many times in your own life were you just in the right place at the right time for something?

Actively looking for a partner doesn’t mean you need to constantly skim your dating profile and send out messages, or frequent bars to meet someone. It’s not the kind of thing that can be forced. More times than not, it’s when we’re not looking that we meet someone. It’s when we’re going about our lives that someone new comes along and stays in our lives. You can be open to dating, while just being out in the world. We need to let go of the idea that we’re amongst the last to find one person to spend the other 50 or so years of our lives with. Many of us need to shift our focus back to ourselves rather than making a new relationship our biggest priority.

We’re seeing news about our friends, surrounding countries, local communities, and scientific breakthroughs at a rate none of us have ever been accustom to until today. And yes, for the most part these breakthroughs in technology are positive. For the most part, they do benefit us, but we need to also accept that we may not be growing as a society or species, as quickly. We need to think about things a bit more big picture, sometimes. We’re living as if our perception of the world hasn’t been altered at this rapid rate. We’re growing up either born into it (the younger generation), or switching over later in life, and maybe it’s not something all of us were prepared for. The pace of everything has shifted. We expect instant gratification from everything, and we’re becoming impatient. How many of us would use the internet on a 56K modem without something incredible in exchange? How many of us pull our food out of the microwave 15 seconds early? How many of us feel our entire day thrown off track when we miss our train, though the next one is less than 10 minutes away? We’re multitasking, overloading ourselves, and paying less attention to each detail at hand. We’re assuming this overload of thoughts/emotions is natural, when it isn’t.

I’m not saying everything we do should revert back to a slower pace, but the rate at which it’s increased, and volume of what information/every day activities have been affected by our rapid growth of technology is surely something to consider when our brains haven’t had all that much time to adapt. We just need to be aware of it. The moment you may have spent wondering if you’re going to wind up alone because of the comment your aunt made at Thanksgiving would have soon vanished, if it weren’t for FaceBook feeding you updates about everyone else’s accomplishments. They even announce every engagement and marriage on the upper right corner now, as if it wasn’t enough to see it pop up in the news feed. (I’m clicking the “X” next to one on my own at this very moment, actually.) FaceBook also created a “Life Events” timeline which one can simply list and store all of their accomplishments. We can compare ourselves up to the number of graduations, vacations, engagements, and children someone else has had to see how we stack up. Every event big, or small, is recorded and exploited. We’re constantly comparing each other to our friends and every person we’ve ever met. We want to fit in, so we’re constantly continuing this cycle, posting about ourselves, so that others will think we’re just as accomplished as they are.

Do I think FaceBook is some evil that we should stop? No. I think there is still much good it does in connecting people, as long as it’s not abused. As long as it helps you socialize with someone you’d have otherwise lost touch in, in the real world, it’s still a positive tool. I just think that we need to be conscious of it altering our perception of those around us. Most people don’t post about all of the times they were doing absolutely nothing. Most people who post constant updates spend more time on their computer or cellphone than enjoying what they’re actually posting about. For the most part, we see the best of people’s lives collaged in one place, day after day and use it as a reminder to “keep up.” We need to keep at our own paces, and be content with where and who we are. We need to remember life outside of FaceBook.

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Dating Website Conversation #15

…And so it continues…

Random Guy: hey, I’d love to get to know you– would you like to meet up sometime for a drink or do something else like going to a museum? I’m not a girl… but guys are cool, too! :)
-[NAME CENSORED]
[“Something else like going to a museum” really sounds like “Whatever I always see girls saying they like on their profile”]
Myself: Sorry, no thanks.
Yeah, guys are cool- but I did the seeing guys thing for the last [MY EXACT AGE CENSORED] years. I’m taking a break at the moment. Just don’t really have the interest at this time.
Random Guy: K cool :) dont blame u, I’m sick of girls. If I could, I would turn gay haha
[How does he go from asking me out to wishing he was gay?]

On another note, do you remember my post “Relationships On FaceBook”? I have now witnessed someone get engaged on my newsfeed, make a status update about breaking up, then five days later change their relationship status back to engaged with the comment “We’re back together!” We really need to figure out proper FaceBook relationship etiquette these days.

End Of July Updates

I did it. I just sent my first dating website message to a girl. I guess recently developing my second girl-crush pushed me to it. I have no idea as to what kind of reply I’m going to get, if any. It’s all such unfamiliar territory to me, but I guess my curiosity is winning over my nervousness at this point. I don’t even know what I want the result to be in this experiment. I think it’s more about the experience than the outcome now.

The guy asking me about circumcision from my previous post yesterday finally ended his questioning with some sort of “thank you for your time.” I’m now convinced I was just surveyed for someone’s research project. His final question asked why I never gave much thought to my preference in men being circumcised or not, and asked if it was because only 10% of men in the US aren’t and I’d never been with one. My reply was “Honestly, I really just don’t ever spend much time thinking about penis’s.” That was when the questions ended.

I also have an update from my 7/29 post about relationships on FaceBook: Remember the status update that prompted me to write the post? The same person made a new status update last night, continuing with the entire theme of my post that day. –If you haven’t already, please read “Relationships On FaceBook” to make sense of this…
“hey remember that shit I said 48 hours ago about my relationship ending amicably and whatnot? hahahhahaha oh how young and naive i was”
[Followed by commenting on their own status…]
“the next time you see me sink a half a year into something, if it ain’t a screenplay, punch me in the face. i’m fucking done with this shit”
[And another of their comments…]
“Actually, fuck this. I’m inheriting the dark mindset that caused to hurt me several times in the past 48 hours. I take back what i said. I’m not done with relationships in general, I’m just done with a relationship with her”
[This will be added to the original post as well.]

Relationships On FaceBook

Those of who are in our 20’s/30’s, are now the youngest generation to have grown up without the internet. We’ve personally experienced the rapid growth in technology all around us, and have quickly accepted the internet becoming an everyday necessity. Some of us took a little longer to jump on the social network bandwagon, and a few still protest it –But the majority of those we know seem to be active participants. Though some of us are married or uninterested in dating, many of us are going through boyfriends and girlfriends left and right. –And so we find that the social norms of dating and social networking have some uncomfortable overlaps.

This post was inspired after I recently saw the following FaceBook status update on my newsfeed:
“I’m no longer in a relationship, and I don’t feel like telling y’all this individually, so I’m telling you like this. Not because I’m lazy or anything, or because I don’t want to talk to you (well, some of you I don’t want to talk to, but that’s because I hardly know you) but just because the part of being newly broken up where you have to tell your friends is really shitty. It becomes this Groundhog Day-esque experience where you’re having the same conversation over and over and over again, and what was actually a fairly painless thing gains a certain pain based on the fact that you relive it in your mind over and over as you tell people.
All you need to know is that we broke up, nobody was ‘at fault’, it wasn’t ugly, and there was no animosity. All that happened was that two people drifted in opposite directions. Such as life. Things change and evolve. That’s the way of the world.
I genuinely wish her the best, and she wishes me the same.”
[7/31/13 Edit: One day after I posted this, the same person made another status update:
“hey remember that shit I said 48 hours ago about my relationship ending amicably and whatnot? hahahhahaha oh how young and naive i was”
Followed by commenting on their own status…
“the next time you see me sink a half a year into something, if it ain’t a screenplay, punch me in the face. i’m fucking done with this shit”
And another of their comments on the status…
“Actually, fuck this. I’m inheriting the dark mindset that caused to hurt me several times in the past 48 hours. I take back what i said. I’m not done with relationships in general, I’m just done with a relationship with her”]

Dating, relationships, and break-ups have been altered tremendously in an extremely short period of time, but for the most part we seem to be accepting it. Though, should we be? Our relationships once used to be a much more private ordeal. We’d go on some double dates with our friends, or gossip about last night to our best friend, but beyond that it was in our control to keep everything else to ourselves. That was the norm. Today it’s quite normal for a virtual version of our relationships to be broadcast to everyone we choose to keep in touch with. But is this really normal? FaceBook doesn’t allow for much wiggle-room when it comes to keeping our relationships to ourselves. Though a few settings can be altered, for the most part, the social network nearly all of us frequent, announces our every dating move -from when we begin dating, to when we end it –be that a break-up or an engagement. We’re feeling pressure to marry, seeing everyone we ever went to school with from age 4 to 24+ accept their proposals -When not all that long ago we’d only get a sampling from the friends we stayed in touch with. –But we’re also witnessing the end of every relationship of everyone we know. As we all know, from real life and sitcoms break-ups aren’t always so clean-cut. (If you used to watch Friends, I don’t need to say any more than “We were on a break!”) They can be messy and unclear. Sometimes we get back together for better, sometimes for worse, and sometimes we overreact after a bad fight. In all of our moments of emotional outbursts, we used to be able to dust them under the rug, and go about our relationship as if it never happened. –Or, if we decided to end it, there wasn’t much to consider when it came to keeping your ex in your life or not. You’d vent to your best friend, and fill in the others you spoke to while in the relationship, in time, as they passed through your life.

Today, we have all of those same questions to ponder –And another- What happens to our relationship in the virtual world? The one almost everyone you know has been monitoring some version of on their computers. The one where you’d check in on your significant other’s daily actions, check-ins, and photographs. The part of your personal page which indicates your relationship status. When do we update these events to the world? We know it looks silly when our relationship status fluctuates more than once in a week, but how long is it appropriate to keep incorrect social information up on your social media page? What if you’re not ready to talk to your friends, let alone everyone you’re in contact with about the details of your recent relationship status change? Why do we have to stress over these questions when the end of a relationship should be stressful enough? Why do we have to stress over them at the beginning? We’ve never lived in a generation more heavily labeled when it comes to dating. Some won’t even consider your relationship to officially exist until you’ve updated the virtual version.

–And then of course there’s all that goes on while you’re in the relationship. If most of the people you know in relationships share something with their significant other publicly, it’s only natural to assume it’s a common behavior when things are going well in a relationship. But, should it really have that much value? Should we expect our significant other to “like” things that we post, just because other’s significant others “like” what they post? We’ve entered an entirely new generation of dating etiquette. We’re only just now making our imprint on the blank slate handed to us –Yet we’re all so clueless, who are we to decide what our social norms are to become? I personally miss the days when your ex was out of your life unless you dialed their number and they picked up their phone. You’d have to be a pretty extreme case to show up on their doorstep, and that type of stalking wasn’t really heard of for the majority. Today we’ve made stalking a common, acceptable, and sometimes encouraged practice. Of course, only the type that occurs behind a computer, with information authorized to the public. –And we do authorize a lot of our information to the public. There was never before any craving to fight when you wanted to see what your ex had been up to or what they looked like some time later. You can even attempt to alter the impression your ex holds of yourself. “If I post pictures of myself having fun, they will assume I’ve moved on.” With all of these answers to our previous partners just a click away, are we still experiencing healthy social interactions as we were before? Where will this bring us in time?

Of course advances in technology have had quite a positive impact. They’ve helped a lot of people reconnect, strengthen some social interactions beyond what they would’ve otherwise been, and allowed others to expand their options when it comes to meeting new people. But, are we getting in over our heads? Is it too much too fast? Are we readily accepting all of these changes too quickly? We get caught up in what the majority does, we follow our peers, we try to fit in, and in keeping up are we losing something? Are our relationships more stressful now that we’re working to sustain a second virtual version along with the real one? Does it not sometimes cause us to confuse our reality with the one our friends perceive us to be in? Are we passed the point of return? How healthy are our relationships now, really, compared to the time before FaceBook? Have we not increased our rate of unnecessary jealousy? Have we not over-thought every word printed in front of us and have our emotions tossed to and fro over a single comment made by another? Are we not comparing ourselves to those around us more than ever? Are we not living through the computer generated version of our lives more than just x amount of years ago? Why have we so quickly accepted that sharing this amount of our lives with so many other people is a normal behavior? Will it change us for better…or for worse?
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Flirting = Cheating?

I’ve always kind of believed that there are people who have/would/might cheat on someone and those who haven’t/wouldn’t. I’ve never cheated on someone and don’t think I could. I’ve also never been cheated on as far as I know…But I have been in relationships where there was a lot of flirtation going on behind my back. Most people tell me that flirting doesn’t count as cheating and if I was in a relationship with someone who flirted with another girl, I wouldn’t tell my friends, “He cheated on me.” Though, isn’t that kind of the meaning of the word? A dictionary would say it is to “act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” If one hasn’t been faithful to their agreed upon exclusive and monogamous relationship, have they not cheated? If one has been dishonest about their commitment to the other, have they not cheated? Now I don’t at all consider sleeping with another person to be equal to flirting with another, but I still have always seen flirting outside of a relationship to be a very mild form of cheating –yet still cheating. To trick one into believing they’re the only one you have eyes for and then showing interest in another simply isn’t right. If both parties have agreed to the whole thing, alright, sure why not –But if it’s being done behind one’s back, it’s simply dishonest and therefore wrong…in my opinion, anyway.

I don’t think there is such a thing as “innocent” flirting. Of course one is worse, but even if you haven’t been with someone else physically, it’s sometimes a bigger deal to have been with someone else in an emotional way. If the few giggling moments you share with someone else over a comment made is something you would hide from your partner, you have some sort of guilt about it. You’re hiding a brief moment in which you weren’t acting like they were your one and only and weren’t being faithful to them and whatever your said commitment was. If you hide something to preserve your partner’s happiness, you should instead be looking for better ways ensure and enhance their happiness.

This comes up today because of a guy who has been flirting with me –as recently as a week ago- who just changed his FaceBook relationship status to “engaged.” The first thought that ran through my head was, “I really hope this is just one of those ‘only on FaceBook, not in real life’ things.” It was followed by, not the usual –“Someone else got engaged/married/pregnant yet again, am I really that late in all of this?!” thought- But instead I suddenly felt extremely bad for a girl I’d never met before. Believe me, it’s crossed my mind to speak up and fill her in –But I have no way of contacting her, ‘nor am sure if it’s really my place to further interfere. The guy always justified that there was nothing wrong with what he said unless he acted on it. We don’t hang out (though we met a couple of times through friends, years ago) so that he’ll never be tempted. But should someone who has to avoid seeing others to avoid cheating on someone really be getting married to that person? If you really believe flirting isn’t cheating, read through some of these messages from not all that long ago with a guy who’s now engaged and tell me that if you were in his fiancés shoes, you’d still feel that way…

[He first messaged me (after we met about 10 years ago) when I wasn’t happy about my last relationship ending and I had no clue he was in one about 6 months ago…]
Not A Single Guy: if it will make you feel better i will tell you about how i think you’re very hot
Myself: really?
thats nice
thank you
youre an attractive dude
Not A Single Guy: yeah totally, you’re very attractive
why thank you
[We talk about my last relationship and the break-up…]
Not A Single Guy: i am biased on this question by the way, i think a good therapist can be very helpful
because i am in training to be a therapist right now
[We continue the conversation…]
Not A Single Guy: i wish i was finished with my training already and in [LOCATION CENSORED] so i could be your therapist
Myself: ..no that’d be no good ’cause i find you attractive that’d be weird, can’t mix profession with that kinda thing
Not A Single Guy: yeah that’s true
i find you too attractive, we might end up hoooking up
[Says the guy with the girlfriend, I’d have never guessed…]
Myself: yeah, it could be interesting/fun
but probably complicated and worse in the long run
Not A Single Guy: even right now i am looking at all these really cute fb pitctures of you
Myself: aw haha
[The conversation continues…]
Not A Single Guy: don’t tell cuz i am not single
but thinking about hooking up with you turns me on a lot
Not A Single Guy: what do you like in sex?
[If this was a conversation with someone I didn’t know, I’d have stopped replying by now…]
Myself: well if youre not single you should’nt say those things
Not A Single Guy: i just struggle sometimes i can’t help but fantasize
and you are very hot after all
i will be here fantasizing either way, it’s just a matter whether i tell you about it or not i guess
Myself: do you tell your girlfriend that though?
Not A Single Guy: not exactly
i mean she knows i look at porn and stuff and doesn’t care
Myself: well porn doesnt count
Not A Single Guy: but i am not gonna tell her that i look at picture of you in a bathing suit and get turned on
Myself: i dont know, i mean i think flirting is a form of cheating,
not as bad as others, but it still counts
[I go on explaining my opinion on this…]
Not A Single Guy: how about for you? is flirting with me fun?
Myself: well im single
Not A Single Guy: cuz it’s fun for me
so if it’s fun for you let’s keep flirting, i like it
and it’s not as bad as real cheating
and maybe it’s better for you too than going to a bar or whatever
[He says it’s “not as bad” which means he knows it’s still bad, though right?…I changed the subject after that. It stayed that way for a while, then turned into a long sexual conversation. Guess who turned it in that direction?…]

[The next day when we talk he brings up sex again. It’s now a way he tries to turn the conversation every time we talk. One day as he decides to describe what he would like to do with me I reply…]
Myself: can you send these conversations to your girlfriend? i’d feel more comfortable with you saying these things then.
Not A Single Guy: hehe ok ok
just being silly ;P
[Since when did “silly” become explicit sexual descriptions?…We go on discussing a new guy I’ve just met and if I should express my thoughts on not wanting to be in a relationship with him…]
Not A Single Guy: well i know for myself i prefer when someone says something to me rather than just disappear
Myself: youre the one that doesnt think flirting is cheating!
[The conversation continues…]
Not A Single Guy: did you tell anyone about it?
Myself: that I talked to you?
Not A Single Guy: yeah
and we flirted
[Someone feeling guilty?…I explain that hadn’t really mentioned it to anyone but planned on telling my best friend.]
Not A Single Guy: yeah? i would prefer if you didn’t.
Myself: oh, why?
Not A Single Guy: just in general i would prefer if you don’t tell people i was flirting with you
since, you know, i am seeing someone
Myself: then why do something you feel you need to hide
Not A Single Guy: i am working on it… i have been talking to my therapist about it
[We continue discussing me possibly telling my best friend about all of this…]
Not A Single Guy: you know, what if you just tell 1 person
and that person just tells one person
and then that person just tells one person…
and then everyone in [CITY CENSORED] thinks i am a jerk
[So, he knows others would see him as a jerk for this? …I continue to explain that I’m not close with any of the friends we have in common…]
Not A Single Guy: remind me not to tell you anything anymore
Myself: if its that big of a deal i could not say anything,
i just am arguing how i dont see that it is
in this situation
[I hope sharing all of this on an anonymous but public blog doesn’t count as telling anyone about it…]
Not A Single Guy: it wouldn’t feel good to me
there were other things i was thinking but i never said them to you because i figured you didn’t want me to
Myself: what do you mean
Not A Single Guy: i don’t say anymore when i am having thoughts abt you because i got the idea you don’t like it
Myself: i don’t know it just kind of makes me feel bad
Not A Single Guy: yeah it’s ok so i just keep my fantasies to myself now
anyway how’s other stuff?
[We talk some more on another topic and end the conversation…]

[Some days later we’re talking again when he tells me about the fantasies he has had about me…]
Myself: and you feel no guilt ever?
Not A Single Guy: Hmm… That’s a complicated question
But I don’t judge myself for having those fantasies
Myself: no for sharing them
with someone who’s not your girlfriend
about someone else
Not A Single Guy: Sometimes that’s what my mind wants to think about… And it feels good to think about, right?
I don’t think it’s that bad if we keep it to just talking
Myself: so it feels good and not wrong or bad?
Not A Single Guy: Yeah it feels good
Does it feel good for you?
Myself: no, it makes me feel bad for your girlfriend and it makes me feel like im doing something wrong in an uncomfortable and unappealing way. it makes me feel guilty for being one of the reasons she’s being lied to in a way. and it makes me sad because i think more guys must be like this that im going to end up dating, and because you’re probably nice and stuff to your girlfriend and she has no idea.
im surprised i feel that and you feel none of it though
it’d definitely be worse if you ever acted upon the things you think about, but that doesnt make this not bad either.
Not A Single Guy: I do feel some of that but i don’t like to share that so much
Myself: lol
well i mean thats fine, you dont need to tell me about it,
Not A Single Guy: I discuss it with my therapist
Myself: but i mean i think that you should listen to all of that stuff a little more
Not A Single Guy: Fair enough
Ok I won’t talk abt it anymore but can I just tell you one more thing
Nvm nvm
Myself: =/
Not A Single Guy: Anyway
Myself: have you cheated on her with anyone like physically?
Not A Single Guy: No
Myself: not what you consider cheating maybe, but what anyone else might?
Not A Single Guy: No
I know what cheating means
Myself: do you really? lol
Not A Single Guy: I am not laughing out loud
[Really? Because after all you said, I should be under the impression you take cheating so seriously?]
Myself: alright
Not A Single Guy: Anyway I’m sorry I shared that with you
I never had those fantasies, I just made that up, and I don’t think about anyone else besides my girl.
[Is it better to believe this is a lie or that he makes up thinking about me in conversations with me?…]
Myself: no, it’s your girlfriend i wish you’d apologize to, not me.
Not A Single Guy: I am not sorry to you, I mean I regret it
[He changed the subject to school work…]

[Days later I sent him a message…]
Myself: you’re weird.
Not A Single Guy: Why?
Myself: Because you either pretend to be sex obsessed and message people often in that way or you are and yet you have a girlfriend.
Not A Single Guy: :(
please don’t judge me
I am just doing my best. I know I am not perfect
Myself: I didn’t say you had to be perfect..I’m not either..I’m weird for other reasons..But you’re weird

[Some days later we have a conversation about a guy I’ve gone on a couple of dates with…]
Not A Single Guy: i like your profile pic by the way, it’s cute
Myself: thanks.
[It’s a picture of myself with my new kitten.]
she’s sleeping on me right now
its pretty fucking cute
Not A Single Guy: haha i meant you
the kitty is cute too tho
Myself: i know, but shes in it too and shes really cute
Not A Single Guy: true
hehe
[…And then the conversation turned sexual again.]
Myself: but still, i think you’re pretty creepy/weird and would like to hang out in person.
[Yeah, I left out the part of the conversation that explains why I want to hang out with him because I find him creepy/weird. It’s mostly a curiosity of how someone changes when you haven’t seen them in 10 years…]
Not A Single Guy: well maybe when i am down there at some ppoint
like i said, it’s not very often
plus i would be really tempted to rip your clothes off, [XXX CENSORED]
which i probably hsould not do
Myself: yeah but you said youd never cheat on your girlfriend so i believe that u wouldnt and therefore we could still hang out
[Somehow we reached a point in our conversations where I can just pretend he didn’t just say that and continue talking…]
Not A Single Guy: thats true
but part of not cheating is not putting myself in too tempting of situations
and you know that i’d be very tempted to [XXX CENSORED]
and [XXX CENSORED]
Myself: so if someone you found attractive was coming onto you, you think you’d cheat?
like if you were in that situation with no one else around or something
Not A Single Guy: no probably not but it still is better to avoid that situation if i can
Myself: okay
Not A Single Guy: like, i don’t know
if you and me were alone together
maybe you’re wearing some sexy spandex and a low cut top
i’d start staring at your [XXX CENSORED] and getting [XXX CENSORED]
then you’d come sit on my lap, lol
Myself: well i wouldnt be trying to hook up with you if we hung out. i dont do that if i know the guy is seeing someone.
[The conversation continued and ended…]

[Some days later one of those “hi, what’s up?, nothing, you?, nothing” conversations started…]
Not A Single Guy: what are you doing now?
Myself: watched a clip someone posted on fb,
gonna go to sumble upon.com
eat some cookies i baked
Not A Single Guy: hott
Myself: not really
[He turns the conversation to sexual topics again…]
Myself: i bet i could have said anything and you’d have said “hot” you just messaged me so you could try to turn the conversation to sex and see what i’d say
Not A Single Guy: well i wasn’t planning that but yeah i was thinking sexual thoughts about you already regardless of what you said
Not A Single Guy: yeah i was just thinking [XXX CENSORED]
and it reminded me of this fantasy i had about you
Myself: as you told me, you don’t actually have fantasies about me, and you always think abotu your girlfriend.
so whats going on today?
[Conversation continues and ends…]

[Then about two weeks ago we had a conversation about the last guy I’d been dating and randomly in the middle of it…]
Not A Single Guy: Can I ask you some random sex questions?
Never mind it’s not a good idea
[The conversation changed direction for some time…He asked if I wanted to try talking on a webcam and I declined…At some point in the conversation something I wore to a certain event come up, so I showed him a picture…]
Not A Single Guy: What are some of the more revealing pictures of you that have been posted on Facebook
Myself: non existent
Not A Single Guy: What abt like a low cut top?
[This last message was sent less than two weeks before FaceBook announced he got engaged. I really hope it’s one of those FaceBook-only engagements or his finance frequently reads through his messages because now I just feel bad for her.]

Note On The Conversation Posted: I think it was that we hadn’t known each other well or seen each other in years possibly that made him feel like it was okay to say the things he said. It’s like I wasn’t part of reality to him if he just kept typing away behind his computer screen -and it seemed like any other “innocent” porn he could’ve been looking at. Though, I think there should be a difference between someone you’ve hung out with and see on your FaceBook and someone you only know from pornography. I should also mention that the reason our conversations continued was because of the amount of chatting about regular topics that occurred. I left it out of this post, but I thought I’d mention that I didn’t just write him off as a creep and ignore him after that kind of talk because of the pages of conversation in which I felt like he was just like any other friend.

(Update 7/15/2013: Looks like it is indeed a real engagement & not a FaceBook joke, with a “Thank you, everyone!” to the 89 “Congratulations” comments and likes (none of which were from me.) I’m curious as to how my next conversation with this guy will go. Guess I’ll keep you posted when it happens. Oh and a fun little fact -He met the girl he’s engaged to on one of the dating websites I frequent, 2 or 3 years ago.)

(Someone else made this pretty poorly, but it was fitting for this post...)

(Someone else made this pretty poorly, but it was fitting for this post…)

The Dating Cycle

Dating is exhausting. It’s an endless cycle one needs to repeat unless they’d rather remain single. Sure, I guess there are rare instances where it works out and stops –people do marry, and some don’t even get divorced…But then there’s that other chunk of us who scroll through our FaceBook newsfeeds day after day and wonder how it’s possible another person we know has gotten married, engaged, or pregnant each and every day when we haven’t even added anyone new in the longest time. Most of us witnessing this phenomenon are in our 20’s and 30’s, and have probably wondered about hitting our 40’s and see it all changing to “so and so’s relationship status has changed to divorced” day after day. Those of us dating over the last less-than-10 years are really the first to experience this social media craze in which our relationships are now broadcast more than ever. It’s a new norm we’re settling into and feeling the pressure of “keeping up” with those around us even more. Early into your 20’s is when you can still remember all too well, the general reaction being “Oh no!” over “Congratulations” upon finding out about someone’s pregnancy…But after some time it settles in that you’re an adult now. Only, sometimes dating doesn’t feel so adult. People play games, there seem to be unwritten rules to these games, and then we find many who just end up acting childish.

It’s the cycle that tires me. -The one in which you meet someone new, you think they may have some potential of being the type of person you’ll develop feelings for, and so you spend time with the person again and again. You talk and talk. You ask each other questions. You explain yourself to them, and learn about every bit of them that you can. You share and experience with them, all until you’ve developed some sort of positive connection. Money is spent. Thoughts are spent. Time is spent. You make sure you don’t check in too much, but still call just enough. Though, “just enough” is a different amount for everyone. You slowly work on getting used to someone new, feeling comfortable around them, understanding them, and hopefully they develop an understanding of you as well. You put your best impression out there while remaining yourself and the not-so-great rest of you is eventually exposed, as well as the other’s. You might even feel “love” (however you may define it) at some point beyond feeling “like.” And then when you’ve completed exhausted all of your energy doing this and feeling comfortable and accomplished in all you’ve gotten through, one of you will crush the other. One of you will end the relationship. And if the rejection, and acknowledgment of no longer being able to speak to or see someone you’ve come so accustomed to being with so often isn’t devastating enough, the fact that you will now need to repeat this entire process from the beginning with someone new will be. Even if you are one of those people that can eventually look back at something and remember the good, appreciate the experience, learn, and enjoy for the sake of experiencing, it still takes some time for that to settle in.

Now all of that is “best” case scenario, I must remind you that before you even get to “you meet someone who you think might have potential” you meet a lot of people who don’t. You weed through them on the internet, or in real life. You go to parties, to bars, to shows, to social gatherings of every type. You meet, and meet until you find someone who just “might” and even then they might not end up being a great match for you. There’s also often rejection in asking someone out, which is an even more personal type than the kind you might get on a job interview…Remind me again why those moments you shared where you were laughing and close outweigh the downsides of dating? Or is it that people get to a point where either the loneliness or in-the-moment good feeling temporarily blinds us from what dating is really like? Don’t forget the relationship quarrels as well! When my last relationship ended I found the fact that I’d have to start the cycle of dating from the beginning all over again, more upsetting than the fact that this person would no longer be a big part of my life. Maybe it’s just harder on introverts. Whether you’ve associated yourself with being an introvert, extrovert, or neither, I recommend reading “Quiet, The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.” (I’m sure it’s on amazon.com or something.) Introverts like social interaction, but are drained by too much of it. I know that for me personally, the amount of social interaction one must go through to find a date has always been pretty draining. Enough dating can make one think, “is it really so bad to settle?” But I got a text from intellectual-conversation-guy which means a first in-person meeting is in the works…And so, I move into the next stage of the cycle…again.
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