I'm 24 and have almost no dating experience, and I need help knowing whether I should pursue things further with this guy or end it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm female. Because of shyness and anxiety, I never dated in college and high school, so I’m behind many of my friends in terms of dating, sex and romantic relationships. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve never had sex. I've had a string of one-off dates and "platonic" hang-outs that once I thought about them, still had some undercurrent of attraction on my part.
I’m still trying out whether I could ever have a close guy friend without feeling some level of attraction to him; so far, the answer seems to be no. So for the sake of putting this question and my current thought process in context, here are three guys I’ve been drawn to in some fashion since I’ve ventured into the dating world over the past year or so:
Guy 1: Super-cool, similar interests as me and fun to hang out with, but I didn’t feel physically attracted to him. He responded to a craigslist ad I'd posted, but by the time we decided to meet up I was freaked out by how into me the guys I met seemed to be right off the bat and I told him I just wanted to be friends first. He said this was fine (he later faded out, so I guess it actually wasn't)
I think what made me consider him more as a friend was that he was introverted, like me. Once we hung out with a friend of mine, and he was very stiff and quiet. At the time, I thought I didn’t want to be with someone who would force me to be the social one if we were at a party, but now I'm reconsidering. Since then, I also wonder if I’ve placed too much emphasis on appearance, and whether I would have dated him if I hadn’t been so concerned over looks.
Guy 2: Confident, extroverted and attractive. We met at a Meetup and I really wanted to date him after one platonic coffee meeting, though he wasn’t interested in being in a relationship with anyone at the time. I acted too overeager to hang out with him, and he ended up feeding me a line about being too busy to hang out again.
Guy 3: Cute, similar interests as me, but he also was introverted and his quietness meant there wasn’t that much conversational chemistry between us. He would sometimes not say anything and leave conversation up to me, which drove me up the wall.
Which brings me to Guy 4. Based on my experiences with above-listed guys (and others similar to Guy 2), I thought that primarily, my type was someone who is extroverted and a good conversationalist. I guess I'm realizing I'm attracted to how they make me feel--less shy and awkward, and more like a good conversationalist, by virtue of their drawing me out of my shell.
Given this, Guy 4 is not the type I thought I'd be interested in. He's pretty soft-spoken and not a talk-easily-with-any-strangers type, such as Guy 2, but conversation flows pretty well between us, and he doesn’t let conversation die, like Guy 3. He’s also a science grad student and outdoorsy. I’m a writer and very indoorsy. What we have in common: interest in foreign films, certain TV shows and a common love for certain ethnic cuisine. Less stuff in common to talk about than Guy 1 and me, but I do enjoy spending time with him. We had two dates over the weekend, both of which lasted about three hours each, and we've texted back and forth between them. I enjoyed hanging out with him both times. I know he really likes me, and we're going to hang out again sometime in the near future.
All of the three previous guys I was excited to get texts from. When this guy texts me, though, I don’t feel any highs. It’s more like, “Oh. Cool.” It has been sort of nice, though, not feeling like my entire day is made by whether this person gets back to me or not.
Also, after hanging out with Guy 1 and the one time with Guy 2, I left feeling really buoyant and energized. With this current guy, I’ve walked away from our two dates feeling that it was a pleasant time, and I’d happily hang out with him again, but again—no high. It's nice, just not limerance-y or exciting.
I know that similar questions about ambiguously spark-y dates have gotten answers like “Grab their hand, and see how it feels” or “Kiss them, and that should clear it up.” But I don’t feel comfortable doing that sort of thing. Not even hand-holding, because I am not naturally a touchy-feely person. I’m also scared that doing so would give this guy the wrong impression that I’m more into him than I actually am. Like me, I don’t think he’s had much, if any, relationship experience. He hasn’t even initiated a hug with me yet. I know he’s into me, though, and I don't want to do anything that will encourage his attraction when I'm still confused. So...how best to handle this?
Some commenters on these AskMe questions have suggested that the person feeling "meh" at least be honest with the other person about how they feel, just so that they're both on the same page. I'd like to be honest with this guy about my feelings, but really, what's the best way to say "I think I kind of like you and would like to continue seeing you, but I'm probably not as into this as you are. What do you think?"
That's my main question. But because I over-analyze everything, I have two other concerns:
1. I just moved back home after living in a different city with some college friends. Part of me is worried that I’m just trying to fill a social void by dating. In my previous city, I had one friend who I could contact or hang out with pretty much any time when we weren’t working. I fear I may be looking for something similar by seeking a relationship.
I think the sudden lack of a social support network is what drove my interest in dating right after a moved back home the first time, post-graduation. It also probably led to me unintentionally stringing Guy 1 along. I liked having someone to hang out with consistently.
I have since realized how problematic this is, and in addition to dating, I’m trying to expand my social circle by taking up hobbies and connecting with old high school pals. So I like to think I’m being smarter about dating this time. But even so…I don't want to use this guy and lead him on.
2. This person is the third guy I’ve met off OKC since moving back home. (I've been using OKCupid on and off for about two years.) I know people say it’s better to just keep messaging and keep dating, but I find it exhausting, especially because my city's small-ish, so there's not a huge pool to choose from; a majority of dudes I message don't reply; and I've never been one to experience a flood of messages in my inbox.
Subconsciously, maybe part of why I’m reluctant to break things off with this guy is the rarity that someone I kind of still like-like after meeting them in person actually likes me back. Usually it’s imbalanced on one side or the other. So I think, deep down, I'm afraid that I'm interested in him because I won't be in this situation again for awhile. Like, if he did the slow fade and never spoke to me again, I don't think I'd be too torn up about it. But I also don't want to ask if he just wants to be friends, because assuming that a friendship could actually work out, I'm scared that I'd one day find myself attracted to him, but he won't feel the same.
So as you can see...I have a lot of fear and uncertainty clouding my mind right now. Fear of stringing him along, mixed with maybe a fear of commitment and dating in general, I guess. The last thing I want to do is hurt Guy 4. We've been texting tonight and he's already told me a few times how pretty I am. I'm not used to such talk, so I really need advice on how to proceed here. My throwaway email is firstname.lastname@example.org