In a world where my best friends are getting married and/or having babies, I’m stuck in the dating game. This new aged dating game is nothing like Clue or LIFE. It’s a combination game of Dare, Risk, and Limbo.
The primary rule of this game is if you care the most, you must show it the least. The winner of this game doesn’t end up with a future mate, but they are left with their pride intact.
The game starts from the moment you meet. The second you exchange numbers and decide to enter into TEXTing territory. The first round begins. Here you exchange a series of texts that only say a piece of what’s on your mind. You tiptoe around what you are really thinking for fear of not making it to the next round.
If you only knew what was really happening on the other side……
Him: Good morning
Her: How are u?
Him: Cool, on my way to work.
Him: What are you doing tonight?
Her: Not too much, cooking dinner then relaxing.
Him: You can’t cook.
What really happened:
Him: Good morning
Her: *smiles to herself, types Good Morning Love, erases it, types Morning Babe, erases that, texts “Morning”
Him: *Expecting more than Morning, holds on a response*
Her: *Nervous he won’t respond, so quickly sends “How are u?” Although she knows how he is, she just saw him 2 days ago.
Him: Cool, on my way to work.
Her: *Waits for him to ask about her*
Him: *4 minutes later. What are you doing tonight?
Her: *Looks at the 5 things on her list she said she would take care of tonight. But in hopes he will want to hang out, she responds. “Not too much, Cooking dinner then relaxing.” Food is the way to his heart right?
Him: *His eyes light up, he knows where he will be tonight but responds: “You can’t cook.”
Both parties carefully chose their words and in the process almost totally neglect showing their actual feelings. However, If you guys are determined enough to push through the texting round, you can move on to the next round.
The next phase is hard to title, some people refer to it as intermediate dating. You guys know what I’m talking about about. Our generation has dubbed it “talking” “hanging out” “Just kickin it” or my personal fav “situationship.”
It’s damn near impossible for us to logically explain “talking” and “hanging out” status’ to ourselves, so I’m not quite sure how I can get it on paper. Are we friends? Are we dating? Are we just fuckfriends? Could we be any more vague? I’m not sure so I conducted some research:
What does it mean if you are “talkin to” someone?
“It’s that thing where you’re not sure if you’re best friends, sex-buddies, boyfriend/girlfriend, or enemies with a person who you interact with regularly.” – Kirsten Corley
“it’s a sad excuse for people who fear commitment and don’t know if they want you yet. Kind of like test driving a car. And during that phase, you can’t drop the fuck off the earth without an explanation because you aren’t dating yet.” – Kirsten Corley
“It could mean they want to be friends with you or date you or fuck you. No one knows. You just have to guess what outfit would work the best and pray that you’re right.”- Holly Riordan
We actually let ourselves live in a space where we cannot identify what we are with someone else. And for fear of the unknown, we have become ok with this. The “talking” round is where most of us have been letting our relationships live. But this round is by far the most complex. It is full of so many unspoken rules it’s like being in the wild wild west.
We shouldn’t text them too much.
We shouldn’t ask them why they haven’t answered.
We shouldn’t sleep with them too early.
We shouldn’t come across as too eager.
We shouldn’t appear as if we want a relationship RIGHT NOW.
We’re trying to follow a specific set of dating rules, so even if we like someone, it’s impossible to let them know. These semi-ridiculous guidelines stop us from moving at a natural pace and developing something…. authentic.
Both parties have made it to round 2, their situationship, because despite the fuckary surrounding the dating game, they see potential in the other person. Yet the potential isn’t enough to end the game.
The stakes in round 2 increase. No one wants to put a label on the relationship so they can keep their options open. No one wants to make the first move towards the real thing, because then you become the weak link. No one wants to be apart from the other, but neither party can openly admit it.
At some point in the “situationship,” people’s feelings actually become involved and it begins to get hard to play the “I don’t care that much” role. Hanging above us by this point is the ultimate fear: If we reveal that we’re looking for someone to spend the rest of our lives with, we’ll scare everyone else away. They don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that we want something semi-serious that could potentially turn serious if the planets aligned the right way.
So instead of revealing our hearts desires, we follow the rules of the game. We get comfortable in the waiting area. We play the game. Why? Because in a world where our friends are getting married and having babies, at least we’re doing something.