In dating, it’s easy to take things personally if there are problems or hiccups. Sometimes the guy you’re seeing does or says something that is a reflection of his attitude toward you, and you take offense.
But often his behavior has nothing to do with you. It’s harder to realize this when he attributes positive feelings to you that would be impossible to come by after only a meeting or two.
I learned this when a man I went out with once told me he loved me at the end of the date. It happened again yesterday.
This man and I went out twice four months ago. There wasn’t the spark I needed to see each other romantically, so we decided to be just friends. We kept in touch periodically via phone and text, but I haven’t heard from him in a month.
Yesterday he called and was flirtatious. When I said it didn’t sound like how friends talked to each other, he asked what I meant. I reminded him of our conversation and said I was seeing someone else. He said he has no memory of that conversation and was crushed. He said he envisioned us being together for a long time, that I was so much of what he’d been looking for, that he loved me. He started to cry, saying he can’t believe how he screwed this up. I told him I had no idea he felt that way and tried to console him.
On one hand, I could be flattered that he felt this way about me after so little contact. On the other, I’m realistic enough to know that no one could fall in love with another after only a few encounters, especially if there was no clear mutual attraction.
I realized that this scenario really had little if anything to do with me. It was really about a lonely man feeling he’d made a connection and idealizing me without really knowing me. It can happen to any of us, as we see through the lens of what we want to see.
The lesson is to ask yourself, “Is this really about me? Or is it about some need he has that he attributes to me?” It will keep you saner in dating if you understand not all that we see is based on the other, but more through the filter of our own needs.