So there was this guy. He and I talked a lot. When I say “talking,” I mean that pre-dating stage where you are talking but not really communicating at all. Talking means texting throughout the hours of the day, “hanging out” with each other on a regular basis, kissing or even something more, and all along there’s this elephant in the room called “defining the relationship,” but you ignore it and keep on doing pretty much everything else but define the relationship.
Well, I was in that phase with this guy. He was great. He made me giddy. He would take me out for dinner (but let my harsh feminist side win the argument game of “to pay or not to pay”). He would make me text him to let him know I made it back home from the subway safely and then would respond with a sweet “goodnight” text. At the rate my feelings were going I saw this becoming something more. The problem is, we did nearly everything but really talk about where we each stood. So I ended up surprised and hurt when he began dating someone else.
Talking is supposed to mean healthy communication. But the undefined “talking” stage in so many relationships just leaves you feeling confused. This undefined stage too often leaves us wondering things like, He asked to hangout, does that mean it will be just the two of us? He and I are spending all this time together and when we’re not together we’re texting…are we a thing? Is he spending this much time with any other girls?
Does that guessing game sound familiar? At the time I thought it was exciting and fun, but looking back I realize how important it is to communicate early on in a relationship about where you stand and what you want. Good communication and a healthy relationship happen when both people check in with one another about where the relationship stands and where it is headed.
I think sometimes we fall into this lack of communication because we have forgotten what it means to casually date someone. “Hey, I think you’re cute. Wanna grab coffee and get to know each other?” has now come to mean: “Hey, I’m in love with you. Wanna get married?” But does stating our intentions have to jump the gun to wedding bells? I don’t think it’s too intense to simply get to know someone while keeping them filled in on why we want to get to know them. Call me old fashioned (I’ll take it as a compliment) but I prefer “Can I take you out for dinner this weekend?” over “Wanna hangout and grab a bite after work tonight?” Simple straightforwardness says a lot about a guy’s intentions.
Keeping each other on the same page is a habit that needs to be resurrected in our dating lives. I have learned this lesson the hard way. Had this boy and I been a little better at communicating our intentions we could have realized, before the mess it became, that we wanted different things. Those of us who want something real need to be clear so that we don’t get hurt waiting on someone who doesn’t want the same thing.