Tuesday, January 21, 2014
He's Not Interested. She's Not Interested.
Photo credit: jade from morguefile.com
So, you're doing the whole online dating thing. Say you're a woman who has been writing some guy and he seems interested. Maybe you've talked on the phone, and even gone on a first date. It all appears to be going in the right direction. And then - poof! He's gone. What happened?
Unless someone tells you directly why they've chosen to stop contacting you, the answer to that question is always another question: "who knows?" In fact, even if someone tells you something directly, it might not be the truth. Or the full truth anyway.
Being a student of meditation, I have become familiar with the way the human mind likes to work. And one thing it desires whenever facing something unpleasant is resolution. Usually in the form of an answer. Or set of answers.
Now, there's nothing wrong with thinking that someone disappeared because "he/she wasn't interested." Or that "he/she must have met someone else." Either of those answers might very well be true. And no matter what you do, chances are that you're brain will produce that kind of story to help sooth your feelings.
The problem, in my view, comes when you 100% believe in the story. A story that, if not told to you directly from the other person, you can't 100% prove is correct.
Further trouble comes when you take this same story and begin applying it to everyone who does something similar.
I can hear a few readers shouting "But that's just common sense, using the past to predict the present." To which I'd like to say "Yes, but also remember that everyone is different as well."
Here's the thing. If you have decided that you want to move on from someone, then thinking something like "he/she isn't interested" is useful. It might be the very thing to help you detach from any emotional connection that may have developed.
However, there's a big difference between using an answer like that to help you move on, and allowing an answer like that to dictate how you're going to respond to someone who you're still interested in.
Letting assumptions control your behavior often leads to missed opportunities and shoddy connections.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read a woman describe a dating situation where a guy didn't write or call her back within a few days, and she decided "he wasn't interested," I'd be rich. Filthy rich. This kind of narrative seems less common amongst men, but I have to say that I was guilty of writing off at least a few women in the past as "not interested" for not responding quick enough.
Given that "traditional" dating patterns aren't a given these days, it's incumbent upon us - regardless of gender - to be a little more assertive. That might mean being the one who makes the next move, even if the old rules say you should wait X number of days or you're a woman, and that means letting the man do the contacting. You can disagree with me about this, but I feel like a lot of that stuff is just game playing. It may have served folks well when roles were more fixed, but now it's less likely to.
Whatever you do though, the biggest point remains to question your assumptions. And to make a conscious decision about what to believe and/or what to do in a dating situation.
It's your mind's nature to want answers. If there's a lack of a clear answer, it will make something up. Learning to hang without an answer when there isn't one, or only a partial one, is a major dating and relationship skill. As is choosing to act based on reality, as opposed to your fears or other mental scripts.