Category Archives: Dating & Realtionships

I Heard You, But I Wasn’t Really Listening

This is the first (and maybe only) very personal post I am going to write but I think it’s worth writing because I have to think that I am not the only one out there who is making this kind of mistake (over and over again):

Most people who know me, know that I am really social, talkative and outgoing. (yeah, I know, sometimes to a fault.) I always seem to meet guys everywhere I go and am always “talking to,” “seeing,” or “dating” (depending on your definition, and that could be a whole post in-and-of itself, but I digress…) one to several different great guys at a time. Yet, I claim to be looking for a serious relationship and haven’t really been able to turn the corner and find myself happily in one.

Most of the guys I end up dating for a few weeks, some for a month or two and we have a lot of fun together until I lose interest and “forget” to return a text and/or a call, and that’s that. But on the flip side, the guys that I really like are almost always the ones that end up ending it with me in some form or fashion just when I am ready to get rid of the rest of the above-mentioned “riff-raff” and get a bit more serious… and I think I finally figured out the root-cause. (<– Business School Speak)

I came to a very sobering realization the other day about a pattern I’ve noticed, or perhaps it could be more accurately described as a bad habit I have, when it comes to my relationships…

Now, as a woman, it would be really easy to say “Those guys were all jerks! They led me on.” After all, that’s usually what we do. (At boozy brunch when we’re recapping our weekend or talking about our latest heartbreak with our girlfriends.) But the fact of the matter is, these guys weren’t jerks and didn’t lead me on. Most of them were honest-to-goodness really great, nice guys, who, for whatever  excuse reason, just didn’t want a long-term relationship with me, but they liked me “enough” to keep hanging out with me as long as I would allow it. And, honestly after much reflection, I was the one who allowed it.

The kicker is, most of them were outright honest about what they could offer. As an example, I even had a pointed conversation with one guy (that I was more than a little smitten over) who got a job out-of-town shortly after we started seeing each other when I asked him if we should stop dating… it went a little something like this:

  • Me: So… you’re moving and we haven’t been seeing each other that long… and I really like you, but you’re moving…so…should we stop seeing each other? (uh, yeah, I get nervous when I’m really into someone, okay? Lay off!)
  • Him: Well, I don’t want to stop seeing each other but I also don’t want to get into a long-distance relationship.

So, what did I do with that information? I continued to date him for another month and a half, developed more feelings for him, and then when he moved away I was actually disappointed (that’s right, disappointed) that he hadn’t changed his mind about wanting to get more serious with me. While all the while, in his mind I had just signed up for what he told me honestly he was able to give me from the get-go.

I had asked him a question, he had given me an honest answer, I heard him and yet I chose to ignore him, not believe him, see it as a challenge, think I could change his mind, think “he probably doesn’t know what he wants” or whatever excuse justification I could come up with. He’s not the only guy that this has happened with and guess what always ends up happening? Yep, that’s right – people have a funny way of knowing themselves and what they want; hence my sobering realization.

What I should have done was – gotten up from the table, given him a kiss, told him how proud I was of him for getting that great job he wanted, wished him luck for the future, said “If you’re not open to see where this is going then it’s just not what I’m looking for – but I hope we can stay friends.” and I should have walked the EFF out of his apartment. – Ain’t hindsight grand?

I would venture a guess that I am not the only woman (or person) on the planet that does this; hears what people tell them, but doesn’t actually listen to the message.

Now that I am aware of this pattern/habit, I am trying awfully hard to break it. So, when someone tells me what he is looking for, if it doesn’t align with what I am looking for, I am pretty quick to walk away; unfortunately it’s made for a lot of quiet Friday nights at home. But, as the idea of this blog is to always find the glimmer of positive, I remain hopeful that my lack of social life is only temporary. As I begin to learn how to better identify the type of people who want the same things as I do, I’ve taken a big step toward meeting that right person. 🙂

peace, love, and Happy New Year!

– d

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