I went out with a delightful man three times while King Charming and I were broken up for a few weeks some months ago. When KC and I decided to get back together, I told this man the news. Since we are in the same field and I liked his personality, I asked if we could stay in touch as pals. He said he’d like that.
Over the past 4 months we’ve talked for an hour every few weeks, taken several long walks together, and attended a professional meeting. I shared with him the final demise of my relationship with KC, and we talked for an hour about what we’ve learned from past relationships. We laugh a lot, flirt some, and share our successes and setbacks.
Sounds like a great relationship, huh?
He is tall, sensitive, strong, funny, good looking, well dressed, intelligent, articulate, and well read. We are attracted to each other on several levels. So why am I not jumping back into a dating relationship with him?
- I’m not sure I’m emotionally ready to invest in a new romantic relationship right now. This man has long-term potential, and my emotions are still a bit raw from the breakup. I’d hate to be needy or submit him to anger or disappointment that is really about KC, not him. While he is savvy enough to know when something is really about him or not, I’d hate to put him through that, or worse, destroy what we have while I’m healing.
- In the past I’ve jumped into romantic relationships too quickly. I’ve gone from just meeting someone to holding hands or smooching on the second date if I was drawn to the guy. I need to do a better job of learning if a guy has the same values and how he treats me before progressing to a romantic relationship.
- He’s in between jobs. He quit his last job in March and hasn’t found a new one. I’ve psychologically supported him in his mood management and job search, but it is a full-time job to find a job. Any relationship, especially a budding one, takes time and energy. I think he’d be best served to stay focused on getting a job.
So by hanging out and talking with this guy, it is stealth dating. We do things that cost little or no money, or go Dutch. I can see how he treats me as a person to get a sense of how he might treat me as a sweetie. I watch him interact with others. I can see how often he initiates contact and what he invites me to do. All of this without the messiness of being disappointed if he doesn’t call every day, or set up a date at least once a week. We are experiencing how we get along and when one of us wants to connect with the other, we call.
Isn’t this how dating really should be? You get to know and like the other person before progressing? Sometimes I think the dating world starts a few steps down the road, when it really needs to start with “Do I like you? Do we have similar values and interests? Do I like how we interact? Do I think about you when we aren’t together?”
We both know we’re attracted to each other, but it feels right to step back a bit and hang out together to see if we want to progress.