This post was written several months ago..though it’s not where I am today, I felt the message to be really important to both men and women. Hope you find that true. Please leave your comments below and share your stories.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the scene you rehearsed in your head actually could happen when you need to tell someone, “this just isn’t working for me”? As the director of my own dating movie, it goes like this…”Roll Camera…”
We meet and there is a spark. Instantly, I know I like __________ about him and because we make a plan to see each other again, I can assume that the spark is mutual. Yes, he’s different from the kind of man I have dated in the past, but as they say, “How’d that work for ya?” I want to try something and someone new because I hate the answer to that question which is “Not so hot.”
Curiosity is something I value deeply honesty, transparency and consideration of others’ feelings. Some would say, to a fault on others’ feelings. But for now, this is what I take into every encounter in the crazy dating world. Of course, ladies, we can’t NOT bring along the messages given to us by I’m not sure who or what. You know the ones that sit beside you in the car, when you go out for a lovely dinner, or he’s interested in more than talking. “Don’t lead him on.” or some version of assigned responsibility for all that will happen from the moment you take a sip of that coffee at first blush. And, of course, I have no intention of leading him on, but only to be honest while I wade into this new relationship to see where the river takes me and us. But, from that time on, one of my hands holds on to the tree on the shore while the current pulls me into exploration.
When did women inherit the enormous responsibility for what happens in relationships with men? Does estrogen give them the superpower to be able to be simultaneously vulnerable, soft and present while being hyper-vigilant so as not to hurt a man? Tell me if you know how to do that, will you?”
One day, exhausted from the assignment, and sure that sadly, he’s not Mr. Right, you know it’s time to tell him. And it sounds simple enough. You just say, “I’m not that into you”. Well, maybe not those words, but kind words about how much you appreciated what he did with and for you when you were seeing him. More kind words about how nice he is, which he may have been hearing all his life as women return to the bad boys. You stick to your script and expect the next scene to go like this:
He: Thank you, Donna. I appreciate that and enjoyed being with you. You are __________________(could be beautiful, one of the smartest women I know, kind, thoughtful, tall…). I learned a lot from you and it was fun to share _______________ with you. I’m really sorry it didn’t work out because I really liked you, but I get it. It has to go both ways. I hope you find the love of your life and let’s stay in touch, OK?
Me: Yes. That would be great. I know you will find someone just perfect for you.
I don’t know if the men I dated for short periods of time just don’t know how to read scripts or whether they have a large basket filled with other women’s maltreatment or maybe they just don’t do disappointment well. What I do know is that it leaves me a bit gun-shy about being vulnerable and authentic the next time I venture out into the dating world. How can we be honest, take the time to explore a relationship, and when it doesn’t work out, accept only our part of the responsibility? An exorcism is called for on the “It’s our responsibility every step of the way” monster. Though you and I both know that isn’t true, and any evolved man will be surprised that we even think it’s true, like the Prego commercial..”It’s in there!”
Right now, I am going to do what I always recommend my clients do when they are in less than optimal moods. I am offline and currently in sleep mode. But, you can bet, I’ll be back.