In this piece, I talk about dating– giving you some advice I’ve never followed as well as my ideas on love languages.
I think the thing we always want to know when dating is ‘are you feeling this like me?’
DATING ADVICE I NEVER TOOK
- Give it time
Take your time. Take your time. Man, have I been right about some people, some lovers. But man, oh man, have I been wrong-o! Don’t rush things. Your body will crave lots of people. An expression that is coming to mind is ‘ there are men you dance with and men you marry. ‘ Nothing truer. There are men that will taste like sweet redemption from all the negative things in the world, but sex can floor your system with ideas of grandeur.
- Give it space
Let liking you settle into their bones. Ignore them a little, or rather just live your life. It’s psychology that they will like you more if they figure it out themselves. In teaching we call it wait time. If you tell someone the answer– in this case that you’re awesome– they may believe you sorta but they won’t feel it. They didn’t learn it themselves. Let them learn you and like you. Also, don’t stop doing what you like– live your life like normal otherwise you aren’t even sure if your lives will mesh.
I am so sorry if this hurts, but if they end up not liking you after all that, honey, they were never going to like you. This is especially true if you tried to push it in their face. Sometimes we just aren’t what people want. REJECTION SUCKS FOR EVERYONE. Move on and remember it truly sucks for everyone because it happens to everyone at some time in their lives.
ARE YOU FEELING THIS LIKE ME?
Most importantly, check in. You don’t have to be as abrasive as me, but ask questions.
SOME [TRULY!] FAIR QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE TOO SCARED TO ASK
- I like hanging out with you so much. Are you interested in being exclusive?
- I’m not interested in something long term right now. Is that okay with you?
- Do you need to see the person you’re dating all the time?
- I need a lot of space. Do you need a lot of space?
WHY QUESTIONS WORK
These questions set up your relationship and allow you both to set boundaries right there. This is where you stand by your red flags.
STOP IGNORING RED FLAGS
Girl, he could hit it like no one else, but you’re trying to settle into your perfect little existence and this boy is trying to backpack the world with no destination. How the hell can I take care of my house from Italy?
You have to say “No no no, we won’t work.”
Every single relationship of mine, big or small, ended for the exact red flags I noticed in the beginning– no joke. Did I really think I could date a man who lived 3 hours away? When I have a bad day, I want my person to come to me (like today.) That is fine, just doesn’t work for long distance. Did I really think I could date a gamer? Someone who hates being outside? Someone who doesn’t like CHEESE?
There are great people that are not great for you!
Seriously, this doesn’t mean they suck or they are awful people. You don’t have to feel bad when you realize it doesn’t work, even though someone is great. Love languages are real. If you haven’t heard or read about them: here’s the list.
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
LOVE LANGUAGES AND RELATIONSHIPS
Love languages talk about how you want to be loved as well as how others want to be loved. These love languages, by the way, extend to family relationships as well as friends, etc. Love languages are more than just romantic love, but how you want to be treated by the important people in your life. Also this involves how they want to be treated, which could be completely different for you.
For example, I had to learn that a good friend never liked hugs. I learned to ask and to accept when that friend didn’t want to hug. That made our relationship stronger because I understood her love language and chose to accept her boundary. That is huge. Friendships end for the same reasons as romantic love, remember that.
LOVE LANGUAGES AND DATING
Now here is the big thing to take away from this again– back to dating: not only do you have to be loved the way you want, you have to love someone the way they want. That is just how it works. It works for both parties if it it truly successful.
I love romantic partners the way I love and I can’t change that completely ever. I can shift some small details but I am inherently affectionate. I like touching. You’re holding my hand in public, embracing me when I come home. Those are things I want and I get, when I am being honest and clear about what I want.
Relationships exist and flourish through the little things because as I’ve heard somewhere– those are actually the big things. The little things exist in the everyday, whereas the things we deem as big are really occurring sporadically. This is part of my love language– this is the language of physical touch.
Now this is a language, physical touch, for me that needs to exist for both of us because if someone isn’t into public displays of affection, I feel slighted. I dated a lot of people, who weren’t proud to be with me for whatever reason. By proud, I mean they didn’t show me off, have me meet their friends or family, etc. Basically they didn’t make me a part of their lives. That is a huge problem for me.
Love languages are difficult to master. My own personal love languages don’t even match. I like to be loved differently than I love. I love physical touch, but I don’t always like the things I give. I’m a woman so I was socially raised to think I’m a little bossy (but fuck that I’m a leader.) Anyway, I want someone who doesn’t butt heads with me because of my strong opinions and AMAZING ideas, someone who is willing to step up and make a plan with me.
See, I don’t like when people don’t even ‘fight’ me on decisions. While I’m a leader, I communicate well and collaborate well. I need someone who can do that in a positive way. I have had relationships where every little decision was a fight to the death. I want to be positive in our discussions. That’s hugely important in my relationships and that goes with words of affirmation. I also need you to be clear that our discussions are worth your time and important to you and for the love of god, listen to me or I will fucking kill you (metaphorically of course, no True Crime here.)
Now as far as the other love languages, I like them as well as anyone, but don’t need them per say. They aren’t on top of my romantic needs. Acts of service are nice, someone helping me out. The thing is I am super independent and you shouldn’t let me get too used to you doing any particular thing since you will be the one doing it forever. I joke, but my boyfriend is going to cook for the rest of our relationship and he’ll never have to do a dish again. Those acts of service are natural to us even though this love language isn’t the most important. And of course, I would cook (microwave) for us if he wanted.
Now quality time is something that is natural too, but goes along with gifts for me. While I am weary of gifts since I don’t like clutter, I love gifts that ARE quality time. I like someone planning a picnic and taking us somewhere quiet– that kind of thing in general. Now on the other hands, I like to give gift gifts, tangible ones. I keep myself really busy because I like that fast paced work and social life. I am not great at planning as it takes a lot of time. Because of that, I always like to show I am thinking of someone with small, personal gifts. This is things they maybe said they need or something I am almost one hundred percent sure they want. This doesn’t work with everyone as I realized later in life, that could create some pressure for the same back.
Relationships don’t have a scoreboard. If you are doing something to get the same thing back, you’re doing it wrong.
You should always be doing something without expecting the same exact thing back, unless that is YOUR love language as well. In this case, you need to express it or communicate, not just throw it out expecting it back. Passive Aggressive, much?
Everything in relationships comes back to communication. If you don’t communicate what you want, you absolutely won’t get it.
Reflect and learn your love language. Share it with the people in your life.
Be honest with what you need and you just might get it. If not, get out.