Saturday, January 20, 2007

Trying to Be a Looker-Before-You-Leaper

So about a month ago, this guy came across my blog, and he wrote to me.

"I read a bunch on your blog, first b/c I was deciding whether to ask you out for a cup of coffee and then b/c the self-esteem/weight/boy issues reminded me of a friend battling through the same stuff. Don't let that crap ruin your life. You're obviously smart, funny, and beautiful... and 7 lbs isn't going to change any of that. Eat a goddamn dessert, even if you aren't about to fly. Hungry is no way to go through life!"

He wrote a variety of other things. He'd clearly put some thought into the note. And he was obviously bright and articulate. And so I wrote him back.

I didn't say, "Are you kidding? Seven pounds changes ALL of that!" Although, of course, that was what I was thinking.

I also didn't say, "Hungry? I spent years not having any idea what hungry felt like." If you spend enough time not eating, but obsessing about food, you stop being able to recognize hunger. You just have constant want.

But I am no longer that extreme, and I figured he'd already read about my issues in 50 different ways, having perused my blog. So I wrote him back a fairly normal note, not about my issues, nor really even about me. We struck up a rather interesting correspondence. He's very smart, well educated, funny, kind.

And here's the thing. It felt good that he already knew about a lot of my insecurities. He knew that I have baggage, and had seen it zipped open, security tags off, contents flung far and wide. And despite/because of it, he was interested in me as a person.

So we met for drinks a few weeks ago. And it was fun! And so we went out again last week. Which was fun again. And now we are going out again tonight.

I can write all this here, because he's not reading my blog. He's very deliberately not reading it. Because I said that this is my place where I'm working things out, and I have a lot of guy things to work out. So he might read things that he doesn't really like. So he said, and I believe him, that he'd leave me my privacy, and not read it, unless there was something I wanted him to read.

He also, having sent me this Post article on personal blogs, said, "I trust that if you want to stop seeing me, you'll tell me so rather than posting it on the Internet. Because that would be so sixth grade."

So here is what I'm struggling with. I like him. We have a good rapport. I find him attractive. I find him interesting. We make each other laugh. But I don't yet have that visceral, intense, massive emotional connection feeling.

Now this is a relief. Because the people I do have that with, well, those relationships wind up with me getting hurt. I've come to understand that that immediate and overwhelming intensity is not necessarily healthy. And not conducive to a real, actual, whole relationship. I am consciously trying to get away from that.

And so I am taking the entirely novel approach of getting to know someone, to see how we feel to each other as people. This, apparently, is how he goes about dating. It's foreign ground for me. It seems so, well, reasonable.

But I am used to being all emotion. Reason rarely figures into it. I get caught up in the moment. I fall hard before considering who I'm falling for. I'm a leaper-before-you-looker.

This looking and deciding whether or not to leap, I dunno. I've never looked at it as a decision before. Viewing it as a decision is safer. It's a lot more stable. It's probably the way one ought to go about things. Isn't it? Is it?


  1. I think that looking and deciding before you leap is a VERY mature way to approach dating, especially if you're looking for something long-term. This "visceral, inense, massive emotional connection feeling" you get when you first meet someone is mostly lust combined with a need to please and be desired.

    Ask anyone who's in a steady, long-term relationship and they'll tell you that the REAL emotional connection only comes after knowing the person for a while, discovering his/her strengths and loving them despite their weaknesses.

    Perhaps that's why your new guy is taking this approach to dating, perhaps that's why he's still interested in you after finding out about your baggage (which we ALL have, by the way). You should follow his example and not jump to conclusions based solely on unreliable feelings.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  2. Sometimes you don't give yourself enough credit for being so damn smart. :)

    You know what... there is no right way to date, or to leap or to not get get hurt. But you're at least recognizing the feelings that come along with all of it and that's all that matters.

  3. Thank you for the very thoughtful comments!

  4. Wow- a guy likes your blog so much he wants to date you? That is fantastic. Good luck and have fun!

  5. Wow - I am so happy to have found your blog! Meaning of course you find me first, I followed you and you are more or less touching on the very thing I was trying to write about today (but I think you did it much more clearly!). I look forward to exploring your blog and hearing about how things are going - what a promising start you two seem to have made! But I totally feel you - learning how to step forward in a different way than you're used to is so HARD...but I think worth it? I'm asking the same questions...

  6. Pagan - Thanks! And yes, it seems that way. Crazy, huh? And Mood Indigo - thank you! I am totally in agreement - it's so hard to try to change your own approach to relationships. For me, anyway, I think it's necessary. But can I change completely? I dunno.

  7. So, think he read this post?

  8. Dunno, but I choose to believe him.


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