When you take inventory of the relationship you’re in, is there a low-level hum of uncertainty? If you fear you’re wasting their time, this one’s for you.
I am very good at wasting time, like most humans, but it’s one of my biggest pet peeves in relationships.
At the beginning of my dating experiences, in high school, I could often be found wandering the halls confounded because, “Why are you dating someone if you’re not going to marry them?” And you’re certainly not marrying the guy who sits next to you in chemistry.
I’m a bit of a cynic and was much more so at the height of my angst, but it’s just not something I’ve ever understood. I’m also not great at in-betweens or not going to complete extremes, which is why I was probably the only 17-year old thinking about marriage.
Until a few years later when I met someone whom I liked very much, who had no desire to be in a relationship with me.
“That’s fine. I don’t need anything serious.”
That was, of course, not the truth. I don’t really believe in wasting time in relationships. But I was young and felt like lying because I’ve never been good at letting things go that I want very much—which in this case, was to date this man who had no desire to be in a relationship, even though that was what I wanted. That never changed.
Because I was young and very, very foolish, this continued for much longer than it should have. The rest of the story doesn’t matter much in this instance, except a few key details. We talked often of why he didn’t want to date me. Since the end of that experience, I’ve thought even more about it, and it pretty much amounts to him not being sure about me. He never ended things, though—I obviously wasn’t in a hurry, because I am competitive as hell and spend much of my life trying to win—and in this case, “winning” was synonymous with convincing someone to be in a relationship with me.
Fast-forward to a few years later, and I look back on that entire experience wishing he had been adamant about not being sure; and I wish I had taken him at his word when he did say it. I wish one of us had walked away. There would’ve been a lot less hurt in the process.
As the walking hypocrite that I admit to being, I am often cynical, but I do believe there’s a person out there for everyone. I’m not so sure there’s just one for each person, but I do think there’s at least one for every person. But I don’t believe most people are meant to be our people. I think the pool is very small. Which means that it’s more likely that someone’s not Mr. or Mrs. Right than our actual person.
Which means… if dating is something we must do, there are likely many conversations in the future about why someone isn’t right for us. I’ve never gotten used to that conversation, because I think people are unique and there’s something special about each one of us.
What if I just stick around and learn to love that one thing I really like very much?
A couple of reasons—mostly, it creates a great deal of hurt when we realize that thing isn’t enough. Also, because it’s not fair. The longer we keep people around we’re not sure about, the longer we’re keeping them from the person they’re supposed to be with.
I take heart in the fact that when I meet the person I’ll end up with, there will be a distinct feeling. I believe in that feeling with everything I am. Overwhelming uncertainty is not that feeling… which is another thing I am very sure about.
Sometimes being an adult means walking away when you don’t really have to just yet.