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I was sitting at the prettiest date restaurant, out with a guy I’d met several days before at a mixer.
He was sweet and upbeat, talkative and seemingly driven.
In the end, I hugged him goodbye and thanked him for dinner.
When he texted me the following day, I told him that, although he was lovely, it was probably best we went our separate ways.
They were engaging and charismatic, extremely smart and articulate. Sometime around Christmas, five months into my Year Without Dating, I realized what a relationship was supposed to be.
They also had an inability to care about someone for any length of time, or emotionally engage with a relationship in a healthy manner. For years, I’d been under the false assumption that this was “my type.” Must be. Only after taking inventory did I recognize that I had agency in that decision. So after months of trying to reorient myself, I finally asked my oldest friend for help. He has seen me through my ultra-nerdy high school years, and has watched me attempt to date for the entirety of my adulthood. ” I asked him one night during a heart-to-heart about dating, covering both his habits and mine. “Super-outgoing and friendly is what I imagine for you—and that’s huge, because I feel like you don’t go for outgoing people,” he said of my brooding M. I’d made mostly new friends since the spring—the breakup and a depleted post-grad friend group had required it.
I observed the many men who passed through my life, from family members to guy friends, friends’ boyfriends to work acquaintances.
For me, dating has always been about building a long-term connection—one that I had never been able sustain.
I remember it hurt; I don’t remember all the details. He was a fantastic liar, always changing his story so smoothly.
I recall a series of ups and downs, in which I felt completely inadequate as a relationship partner. He always made me believe in his intentions, before retracting his words and making me feel crazy for believing his previous sentiments would hold weight.
I appreciate the way my friend Mike boosts his girlfriend Jordan's sense of independence during an incredibly busy time in her life.
I like the way my best friend’s boyfriend makes an effort to engage in her life, with her friends and her interests.
That would be my last date before a self-imposed dating sabbatical. I had been like that for months, emotionally battered after my last relationship and closed off to connection.