I’ve been dating for 34 years. No, scratch that, about 14, but it feels like 34 years. And I’ve learned a lot from it. And here’s what I’ve learned:
That I’ve actually learned nothing at all.
That’s right. I just said that. I’ve learned nothing at all about dating. So, stop reading my blogs because they won’t help you in your dating life. Okay, that might be taking things a little too far. I’ve been dating forever and I have concluded that there is no “right way” of doing things.
I can’t take credit for that. My best friend said that to me just yesterday. A guy I had been dating for two months had just, that morning, broken it off with me, and, being girls, we (okay, I) were rehashing every possible text message, glance, sexual encounter and conversation that I evidently fucked up SO fantastically that so turned him off that he immediately and finitely severed the relationship. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Maybe it was that exclamation mark in that last text I sent him
Erin: Doubt it
Me: Maybe I wore too much eye makeup on our last date
Me: But I DON’T GET IT! Erin, I did EVERYTHING RIGHT! For the first time in my life when dating a guy, I did everything perfectly.
Erin: Katy, there is no right way or wrong way. When it comes to dating, there is no right way or wrong way. There’s just you and what you feel. I want to see you be more yourself from now on and not try so hard to do everything “right.”
Damn. Maybe Erin should write these relationship blogs. She was right, of course she was. In this particular relationship, I had vowed, promised myself to do things right. And I vowed this because of my previous relationships. In my previous relationships, I was, what I would consider to be a crazy person. I was emotional and needy and jealous and the highs were high but the lows were seriously low. To quote Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City 2: “I was running around the city like a crazy person, trying to get the one man I loved to love me back.” That was me. I tried and tried and tried so hard to succeed with men who didn’t care about me and tried to make them care and led with my emotions and opened my heart up numerous times just to have it stomped on. For years I did this. And then, something changed. I woke up one day, out of that crazy, hectic, frenzied time, finally, and said, I will go about this differently. Because, that’s just common sense, right? If something is not working, you change the variables you can to make it better.
So I did. I met a guy. He was so awesome. I became the opposite of what I once was. I was not jealous, (oh, please, who are we kidding? I will always be extremely jealous, I have red hair… but I did not let on that I was so.) I did not lead with my emotions. I read blogs and articles and scientific studies. I took notes, I studied. When to leave a man alone, what to say to get him back, how to make him want you, how not to mess things up, what to wear, the rubber band theory, what men are thinking and why and I could go on and on and on. I used to despise self-help shit…and now I was the self-help guru. I gained so much knowledge and insight I said to myself. I am doing everything perfectly! There is NO WAY this relationship will fail.
And guess what happened?
Long-Term Capital Management was a $100 billion American hedge fund that collapsed in 1998. This hedge fund hired two Nobel prize winning economists who collected, analyzed and studied data of the history of the stock market which they subsequently turned into a theory/mathematical formula that would predict how the stock market would react, thereby making the hedge fund more money. They touted this theory as foolproof and were confident that it would not fail and everyone believed them because they were Nobel prize-winning geniuses and the smartest two guys in the world.
And guess what happened?
It failed because the economic scientists, the two smartest guys in the world, were unable to take into account…people. And the human thought process. Despite all of their data and their studies and their math formulas…they were not mind readers and could not predict if Joe Smith decided to wake up one morning and take all of his money out of the stock market in an inexplicable panic. When questioned after the fall, that was their only explanation for why their fail-proof theory failed. The human thought process. Much like Long-Term, I discovered that Cosmo’s “10 Things to Do to Get a Guy to Like You!” article, however fail-proof sounding the title and the publication, didn’t have shit on my guy’s brain. He, inexplicably, like Joe Smith, woke up one day and pulled the plug on all of his stock. And ain’t no way that could have been predicted.
I’m not saying don’t Google stuff about relationships. Do that if you want to. I actually very much enjoyed the theories and the scientific studies and the articles about the effects of hormones etc. on the human brain, and especially the ones about how men and women think (well, women at least, we all know men don’t think,) and react to things in incredibly different ways. I found all of that fascinating. I’m not even saying don’t employ or try out any of that stuff. Try it out if you want to.
I’m saying, (okay, Erin is saying, and she’s right,) that you should do what you feel and use your best judgment when it comes to relationships. I employed all of the aforementioned tactics and failed. I was stumped. Baffled. Like I was back to square one or even before square one, if such a place exists. And I learned nothing about dating. But here’s what I did learn…
I learned more about myself.
I learned that I liked myself better when I wasn’t emulating Carrie Bradshaw and running around the city like a crazy person. (Well, I always want to emulate Carrie Bradshaw, but you know what I mean.) I learned that I very much preferred the laid-back, chill, go-with-the-flow, calm Katy who didn’t cry or get jealous or freak out or let her emotions and only her emotions lead her. I preferred the Katy who enjoyed dating and getting to know someone, while, at the same time, lived her own life and enjoyed it instead of being so wrapped up in another person. I like grown-up Katy better. Katy 2.0.
So, Katy 2.0 and Erin want to remind you to just be yourself. Make dating and relationship decisions based on a little research, a little common sense and maybe just a little more of whatever you feel. It will never be fail-proof, by any means, but I guarantee that you will feel better for making the best possible choices with the tools you have. Not Google and Cosmopolitan magazine, but your mind and your heart instead.
Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo