If you are imagining a teenager shrugging and saying “whatever” in that special teen monotone, you’re on the same wavelength as me. “Whatever” implies flexibility – the ability to adapt. It’s a good quality to have in the dating world.
When you’re sitting in a restaurant with a new date, comparisons are inevitable. This date has better/worse table manners, or is more positive/negative about work/life/anything. It’s best to let the comparisons go and enjoy your dinner. The date has potential and comparisons don’t help. If the previous relationship was so great, you’d be together. So don’t dwell on your past relationship(s), but realize the new date is fresh and different from your past.
It’s good to know yourself and what you can tolerate. You can’t just shrug and say “whatever” to everything! Make a list of things you want your partner to have and what qualities and traits you do not want in your partner. Keep those in mind when you’re enjoying your date and accessing compatibility. So relax, adapt and enjoy whatever!
X for Xenophobia
Over the years, I have tried to branch out a little and get to know people from other cultures. I have dated only two men from different countries, one from the Middle East and the other from Asia. Both were well-educated and employed by universities. There were cultural gaps when developing a camaraderie with each.
As discussed previously in N for Naked, Norton had this belief that American women were immoral. In addition to his naked attempt, he was forthright in asking if I would have a non-relationship with him and just agree to no-strings-attached sex once a month, because that was all he needed. I didn’t agree to it, but if I had, I think he would have upped his end of negotiations by asking for greater frequency. Men get very creative when their salacious interests are at issue – they become salesmen fond of the upsell for sexual negotiations.
The man from Asia is discussed in Y for Yo-yo (below). Like Norton, he was also an atheist, so it is not likely a long-term relationship would have been successful. He invited me to come to his home to watch movies, and when I agreed, he began negotiations for sexual favors. He had lost his wife a year earlier, he wasn’t interested in the getting-to-know-you process, and he just wanted to fill the void his wife left. As you’ll read, nothing came of that.
There were also communication issues with both men. They both were well-educated and had a functional and professional understanding of the American English language, but they didn’t understand everything in casual dating conversations and sometimes things required lengthy explanations. One thing I found amusing is when one of them got all twitchy when I used the word “fine” because he had been trained that women use that word only when they are mad.
I am comfortable with people from other countries. I recommend going with your instinct when assessing if one is trustworthy or not. Be aware that you will encounter a lot of cultural and communication misunderstandings and be prepared to navigate through them.
(Psst! One upside of dating men from other cultures is they have different ideas about a healthy body’s shape and weight, so that is something to keep in mind!)
Y for Yo-yo
Inconsistency is an annoyance for me, both generally and in so-called romantic relationships. I am one who thinks things through and then sticks with decisions. I also control myself and my words when I am angry so I do not say things I will regret. (I’m not perfect, I say the wrong things plenty of times with various social missteps.) Many others do not have this kind of control and tend to do or say things they later have to change, which is annoying and makes them seem unreliable. It’s hard to trust someone who is all over the place.
In a romantic relationship, and I may be using that term loosely, this appears as a yo-yo relationship. This is how it goes: we’re in a relationship, we’re over, no, I love you, now we’re over, oh but I have reconsidered, we’re back together … and so on and so forth. It’s dizzying to keep up with it.
This particular relationship did not last long. The yo-yoing started after we scheduled the first date, when he cancelled after I asked him if he was an axe murderer. I’m still not sure if he was really offended or playing with me, but we talked and the date was uncancelled.
We met at a restaurant for the date. It went well, and since he lived an hour away, I invited him to my home to talk. Initially, I sat down on one end of the couch, and he sat right next to me, practically in my lap. I shooed him further away, and we spent a couple hours talking. The next day, he told me that I offended him because I made him sit “six feet away” (his words, not reality) so I obviously didn’t like him. Wow. Really? I invited him into my home and spent a couple hours talking to him and I didn’t like him? Ugh.
Anyway, we got things back on track when I agreed to visit him the following weekend to watch movies. Things fell apart when he began negotiating sexual favors and it was clear that he didn’t want a meaningful relationship. We wished each other all the best and moved on.
If I have to work hard and fight against my alleged partner’s inconsistency to establish the relationship, get it on track and steer it forward, then it’s going to be really tough when there are problems that need to be worked through and the yo-yo man continues his usual yo-yoing in addition to reacting to real problems. So it is really good to move forward and away from that situation.
Z for Zen
Zen is slang for feeling peaceful and relaxed. That is how I feel as a single person, since I am not in a bad relationship. I have seen and heard many things throughout my life, and I am grateful I have not chosen people and situations that would give me a miserable married life. I want to love my life, and I just need to figure out how to create it.
That completes my ABCs of Dating, which allowed me to share 97% or so of my dating experience. Frankly, I don’t know which I am more tired of – dating or thinking and talking about dating.
Good luck, reader – I hope you find what you’re looking for.