Saturday, April 21, 2012

Goin' Courtin': Relationship Girl Vs. Dating Girl

You should not date until you are at least 16 years old. When you begin dating, go with one or more additional couples. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person. Developing serious relationships too early in life can limit the number of other people you meet and can perhaps lead to immorality.  --For the Strength of Youth

I think I did this backwards.

It wasn't long after I turned 16 that I had my first boyfriend.  If I cared to look, I could come up with an exact number of days, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't more than a month.  And that's how it was. I pretty much went from relationship to relationship.  I can count the number of guys I dated just once from my high school days on one hand, and it wouldn't take all five fingers.  I had a few months in between each relationship, but it was purely a recovery period, and I didn't date much in the interval.  This led to me having a total of five boyfriends before I got married (the fifth being my husband).

Back then, that also meant I had only kissed 5 boys, because kissing was something that didn't happen unless we were exclusive or on the road to being so.

To quote my favorite TV show, "I have boyfriends, not escorts." (Name that show!)

My, how times have changed.

Okay, maybe it didn't start out any differently post-divorce.  I was still in my old patterns.  An admittedly stupid attitude of, "If I'm not exclusive with a boy, I can't have fun with him."  And I had one boyfriend under that premise.

Enter "online dating."

I tried doing dating like I was used to doing it, and it was just depressing. It's my own fault, I know.  I would get excited that a guy liked me, and my imagination would get all tangled up in the possibilities of the future, only to find out he "wasn't that into" me, ha ha.   I realized this probably wasn't an attractive quality to quality men, either.

So I decided I could flirt with a lot of guys.  I posted some new pics, flirted a little, and answered most flirts that came to me (which started coming in at what was to me a startling pace).  It was fun for a while, having several guys telling me I'm cute/pretty/beautiful and great/amazing/wonderful.  And I figured that they would all just naturally fall away if they weren't right. A Utopian ideal, perhaps.  I'm not unused to being the one to end a relationship, or end the possibility.

The problem came when more than one progressed to levels that in my former life would have meant exclusivity.  At one point, that number was as high as five.

I started to be wracked with confusion. What was wrong with this picture? Was I acting inappropriately?  Maybe my definitions were off, and I was actually okay doing what I was doing?  I didn't know. I still don't know.  I've never done this before.  How far can you go, how close can you get with a guy before it's wrong to be that way with more than one at a time?  Were my limits before reasonable, or just set up by circumstance? I can honestly say I didn't have more than one pursuing me at a time in my younger years. I only learned much later that it was because most of them were following the counsel cited above prior to missions or life in general, which we have already established I did not do. LOL.

If this is standard events for a Dating Girl, I'm not sure I'm cut out for it.  When I do it, I just end up feeling guilty, which leads me to detach myself from feeling anything, which obviously prevents me from attaching to anybody, which defeats the whole purpose of dating in the first place.

So, Dating Girls: What are the limits? When do I start to look like a whore, or some equally unflattering adjective applied to women?  What's okay, and what's not?  Help a sister out here.

P.S. If you men out there have any advice to offer, please feel free.

P.P.S.  If you are dating me, and this idea offends you, I'm sorry.  This wasn't intentional. And I think it should count for something that I'm trying to figure it out. Right?


Anonymous said...

I think you should simply do what feels right and try not to analyze too much. If being on the brink of something more with a bunch of guys feels uncomfortable, then decide which of them you like best and focus on him.

Arienne said...

Ah, that leads into my next post, because I've had trouble picking just one.

LOL. I probably just need to chill.

Anonymous said...

Then pick the one with the most money.

Hawkins Family said...

Not that im dating or anything but believe it or not my friends when i was is college thought that i was a mormon "slut" but i took comfort in the council of my mom "you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince" so for me, unless it is clearly defined that we were exclusive you have NO reason to feel bad, and neither should they. all is fair in love and war, right? if they want it they should put a ring on it.... how many more of these can i think of.... none but if there's no commitment there is no problem. At least in my eyes.