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I don’t know how to date.


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I like a boy and he likes me. We haven’t discussed this with each other but our mutual friends know as we have both talked to them about it. We don’t know each other super well but he’s seriously the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life, both inside and out. Every interaction with him makes me like him more, even though I struggle talking to him and get incredibly nervous. He is literally my dream boy and everything I have ever imagined. But I almost don’t want him to find out I like him. I daydream about us being together, but I don’t know that it could ever happen. I’ve only ever been in one long term relationship, and that was a best friends to lovers type of situation, so the transition was smooth(it ended up being incredibly toxic anyway lol). This is the first person I’ve liked since I got out of that relationship two years ago, but I’ve never gone through the “talking phase” or gone on dates or had to flirt with anyone, and I get so nervous talking to this man and lose my train of thought listening to him speak, and I just have no idea what to do with this. I know that he’s going to ask me out if he finds out I reciprocate the attraction(as a friend told me), but I honestly think I’m going to just have to say no. I am so drawn to this man for some reason but I feel like if anything happens between us, even if that’s just hanging out for a bit, I’ll be too silent and awkward or he won’t actually like me and I’ll just ruin it. Or maybe he just wants to hookup and I want a long term relationship. I don’t know. I just know that I am 21 years old and feel like a middle schooler thinking about a crush, like I have no idea how this process goes or what I’m supposed to say and I don’t want to say anything too soon and I just don’t know. I just don’t know what happens when two people mutually like each other like this. So, how do I calm my nerves and how the hell do I know what to do?? I am so stressed about this. I need advice. 

 

side note: Please avoid the whole “just be yourself!!” thing. I am very shy and don’t know how to do that until I get more comfortable.

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1 hour ago, bunnybunny24 said:

 Or maybe he just wants to hookup and I want a long term relationship. I don’t know. I just know that I am 21 years old 

Try to relax. Do you go to college together? How do you know him?

You know how to date, but you're relying on hearsay too much.

What happened in your last relationship and why do you say it was "toxic"?

He hasn't asked you out so right now it's just a crush. You seem to be getting way ahead of yourself.

How pervasive is this anxiety? Just with dating or in other areas?

 

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4 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

Try to relax. Do you go to college together? How do you know him?

You know how to date, but you're relying on hearsay too much.

What happened in your last relationship and why do you say it was "toxic"?

He hasn't asked you out so right now it's just a crush. You seem to be getting way ahead of yourself.

How pervasive is this anxiety? Just with dating or in other areas?

 

My last relationship was abusive, mentally, physically, sexually…. and I always think ahead on things like this so that I can avoid bad situations. I guess part of my hesitation could be that the only experience I’ve had was so awful, but I don’t know how to just forget about it. I’ve had anxiety(as well as depression and ptsd) since around first grade, so it’s pretty much in every aspect of my life and hard to control, and I just recently started therapy again.

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57 minutes ago, bunnybunny24 said:

My last relationship was abusive, mentally, physically, sexually….  I’ve had anxiety(as well as depression and ptsd) , so it’s pretty much in every aspect of my life and hard to control, and I just recently started therapy again.

See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Rule out physical causes and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist as well as ongoing support from the therapist.

You need to get your mental and physical health under better control before you start dating.

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I felt like you when I was 23 and I met a dream man at a very vulnerable part of my life -was I a mess around him -too smiley, it all felt surreal, etc (we met through our mutual friend at a dance club we all went out to together).  When he asked me out after I met him a few times in that group I mean - OMG (and this was 1989, pre-acronym OMG).  I just was over the moon about this man. 

He was soooo hot looking and so "cool" -kind of distant.  For 3 years on and off we were seriously involved (we committed after 6 months, didn't have sex until over a year in -I was a virgin, I wanted to wait, he waited mostly patiently).  Chemistry off the charts.  But here's the thing.  I think my feelings were fueled too much by winning the prize so to speak.  I ignored signs.  I ignored how cold and distant he so often was.  I ignored that he drank too much (though he did cut back by the end of our relationship).  I ignored how hard it was to talk to him sometimes. 

He was not abusive.  He genuinely cared for me.  He also came from a very troubled family.  All these  things together -after 3 years he finally proposed and I was surprised that night.  I declined -something told me that this hot man, this prize, this sexy guy - I'd be lonely being married to him.  But I didn't know why.

We broke up. We were not really in touch after that other than sporadically on email.  So 10 years later I was visiting his new city and he asked to meet for coffee. He told me then that he was involved seriously in a relationship.  With a man.  He was so conflicted about his sexual orientation (hence why he was so cold to me) and was in denial but finally admitted it to himself.  He never cheated on me.  He was never with a man till after we broke up.  I believe him. He didn't cheat otherwise.  And yes we were through the roof with chemistry.  I had no idea.  We each got married the same year -to men.  He is very happy and we are in touch.

I am NOT saying your guy is gay.  At all!!! But the take home is if you put him on this pedestal because of how he looks or how "cool" he is or what a challenge he is you might not get to know him on your level, as a person and you might miss real signs of incompatibility.  Good luck.

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I think Batya hit something that you (OP) should take to heart, this guy you're into is on a pedestal. This manufactured perfection is why you have difficulty interacting with him. Yes your history plays a role in all of this, but I think this unhealthy idolization is ultimately what is stopping you from even trying.

It's a difficult thing to combat, as everyone wants to be with their ideal person. Unfortunately this will not help you learn how to date.

So what to do to land the big fish? Relax and think on how you want to be flirted with? Don't be afraid to be blatant with your intention, we guys are kind of dense when it comes to hints (especially if we like a woman). Maybe consider wearing appropriate clothes that make you feel cute and pretty when you know you are going to see him. Don't be afraid to spend time with him (or just ask him out). To overcome shyness, most need familiarity so be willing to take a risk; don't fear a little awkward embarrassment. If this guy is as interested in you as you are in him; then he'll think these silly moments are endearing, and if not... time to find someone not on a pedestal.

 

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The trick is to look feminine, smell good and get into the man's space....be around him inconspicuously. If a guy is interested enough in you he will approach you, ask you for your number. All you have to do is smile lots. 

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Just be yourself!

Unless you can be somebody way cooler. Than be that person.

Joking. 😆

Anyway, you are inexperienced. After a while you will realize that its mostly the same with everyone. You are trying to get to know each other, asking questions, find common grounds, trying to maybe throw in some interesting or funny story about yourself there, maybe even create some of your own mutual banters. Sometimes it works, sometimes you just dont connect and that is it. It almost never works the way you planned in your head so its kinda pointless to plan unless you really want to talk about something. So "Just relax, be yourself and try to get to know each other" is usually the best advice as nobody can tell you what the guy would like to talk or not. That is for you to discover. As well as what would he like with you. Point is to discover what other person is. Not just to be there gawking how he is pretty. He could be as wonderful as you say, or a giant creep. 

And you will never discover that unless you talk to him. So, let him know in a subtle way that you are interested(maybe text him first or approach and talk) and let him call you on that date. After that try to get to know him and see where its heading. But in order to do that, you need to at least try. And not turn him down if he wants to ask you for a date. Even if nothing happens, look at it as another experience. Because you will never learn stuff like that unless you go out there and try. 

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So sorry that you're dating experience has been rough so far 😕 .

I also have had rough experiences & needed ongoing therapy through my years.  Yah, I was dumb & risky thru HS- but we learn.

As mentioned, you've got this guy on a pedestal atm.  And you're overwhelmed... IF you feel this into him, maybe just learn some coping techniques on 'calming down' and not let the anxiety overwhelm you too much?  I get it.. it's the 'unknown'... But good thing is, I find the fact he seems really decent inside & out, in your eyes is good 🙂 

If anything, would it hurt to just agree to 'meet for a coffee', to just break the ice, sort of thing?  That way, your nerves can calm down a little & there be no expectations.

But I do highly suggest you keep on with your therapy.  Never anything wrong with seeking some prof help when you feel it's needed.

And IF you do not feel quite right about any of this, don't force it.  If you do not feel 'ready' to be involved again, then is maybe best to not seek this out any further.

Good luck, be easy one yourself.

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On 5/4/2022 at 1:42 AM, bunnybunny24 said:

I feel like if anything happens between us, even if that’s just hanging out for a bit, I’ll be too silent and awkward or he won’t actually like me and I’ll just ruin it. Or maybe he just wants to hookup and I want a long term relationship.

To be good at anything in life, you have to practice. Think of things ahead of time you could bring up in discussion. Maybe there's a series you really like and you can tell him a little about it, and then ask what he's likes to watch on t.v. Ask him if he has any pets, and tell him about yours if you had one, or a favorite pet you had when younger or the type of pet you someday wish to have. Be the person you like to be with--one who shares details of their life with you, and also takes interest in yours.

You're the one creating a negative reel in your mind. When you find yourself doing this, change the direction, i.e., "It's just coffee. If we get along great. If not, my fate lies with someone else."

The point of going on these dates is to find out what the person is about. You can't know if they want casual or long term until several dates in when that topic is brought up. And yes, eventually it's important to know, because you don't want to continue on with someone who doesn't share your dating goals.

You need to start thinking of how you are the treasure and a person who is right for you will treat you like the special person you are, instead of what you're thinking now: What if he doesn't like me? What if I bore him? That's self-sabotaging.

Don't project to the future, just have a goal of enjoying a discussion with someone and having a wait-and-see attitude. Most people are happy they took a risk even if it didn't pan out, versus not trying at all. Living in a safe bubble, which you falsely see as protective, will only wind up with you living a lonely life.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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