Well, all good things must come to an end. The good news is that most bad things come to an end as well. For every first date, there must come a last date. It’s true, just in some cases that last date is a divorce proceeding or something more final (that sentiment is a little darker than I intended). Sometimes you are luckier than that, and it becomes clear early on that things aren’t going to work out. In fact, plenty of first dates are last dates. But when that isn’t the case, there may be some damage control to take care of.
It’s always a bummer when you are more interested in a possible paramour than he or she is in you, but being in the opposite position is not any better. There is no easy way to break the fact that you don’t really like someone. In an ideal world we would all be mature enough to either deliver or receive that news directly, but maturity tends to be at a premium in this day and age. Sometimes we just avoid the confrontation, well aware that the other party will catch what we are throwing down.
I can admit now that I have been a practitioner of the “fadeaway,” as Garfunkel and Oates call it. It is certainly the easiest way to take care of your problem, but it is also the most cruel. When I think about how I feel when such a tactic is used with me, it makes me cringe at the way I have treated others.
No, it is much better to face the person whose feelings you are about to hurt. The matter at hand now is how honest you should be with your opposite number. I personally prefer to have the realities of the situation laid out as plainly as possibly – if the young lady I was unsuccessfully trying to woo just isn’t into me, well, I would like to hear that. There’s a level of closure there that I can accept. But it is difficult to give that kind of closure, and not everyone is ready to accept it. It is much easier to dip into “it’s not yous.” By taking on the blame for the failure to engage, you still take on the position of bad guy, but the other person isn’t allowed to put all of the heat on you. Some classics in this category include “you remind me too much of (blank),” “I’m too crazy to be anyone’s significant other,” and “blah blah blah…which isn’t fair to you.” I have used some of these, and some have been used on me. It is sometimes the nature of dating, and it sucks.
Finding another person is difficult. It is hard enough for two people to agree on trivial things like movies or politics, so involving something like romance only makes things more complicated. For someone like myself, who has a difficult time finding people he likes spending time with period, it is doubly daunting. If I do like the person – if I find myself eager to talk to them and spend time with them – I tend to dump everything on them at once. If I don’t like the person – if I’m eagerly waiting for the other person to stop taking, the way I do at a concert – well then I want to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. And more than a couple times I have sabotaged what could be a promising interaction because my mind hadn’t made a decision. All of these outcomes tend to lead to the same place: an ending.
I have never been gifted at sharing my feelings with others. Writing this blog has actually helped me to do that in some ways. And this last year (I still live my life in school years, because I never grew up) has seen a lot of emotional growth for me, both personally and romantically. I still default to robot mode more often than not, but I have come to realize that it’s okay to feel bad when a promising situation doesn’t achieve it’s potential. It’s also okay to be relieved when a not-promising situation falls apart. None of us are perfect, and there are casualties in the search for that perfectly imperfect partner. The key is to accept that fact and keep moving. Don’t be the shark that stops swimming.