Stuck in the Middle with You. Dating’s middle ground.

Coming off a my first ever bit of dating disappointment I initially was not interested in going back on my dating profile. I wasn’t hung up on getting ignored indefinitely but I just wasn’t feeling a need to. After experiencing the first negatives that can come from dating and chatting, the lure of it all was gone for a bit.

But it came back. Like I’ve said. Nothing excites a person like another human being does. So I was back on my dating profile. More confident this time, fear of rejection was gone now.

Not sure how many messages I sent or how much time had passed before I found Dana. I saw her view my profile, so I messaged her. I remember her saying “I was hoping you’d message me”.

That struck me for two reasons: First, wow it felt good to be wanted in the sense she was attracted enough to want to talk. Second, why didn’t she message me first if that was the case? I realized if I wasn’t getting messages it might not be because of me, many women don’t initiate. And ladies, many guys don’t too. So if someone catches your eye, go for it!

She was very funny, well at least I thought(I also think I’m funny, so that should tell you something). Our senses of humor and our sarcasm flowed very well. The banter was witty with just the right about of flirtatious. We had a lot of fun getting to know each other.

To be honest though, as much as we got along, I realized there was so much more than that to dating. Simply put, we weren’t going to be a good fit for each other. We both knew it. And this is where I learned there is a bit of a middle ground to dating that I had earlier dismissed, and had no interest in. I did actually go on dates with Dana. My first dates ever. They went well, mostly just grabbing a bite and chatting until it got late and we had to say goodbye. Yes we weren’t a fit, we had a lot of differences in goals and life outlook that I won’t get into. But we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

We continued to see each other, have fun and we got a little bit involved intimately. The guy who didn’t believe in a middle ground between hookups and serious dating was now there. And enjoying it. What’s the harm right? It’s better than being alone after all.

Well I learned that it’s hard to just stop when you have that kind of relationship. Neither of us had ever really considered it dating. And neither of us felt like we were doing anything wrong for each other, and really we weren’t.

But in reality it wasn’t fair to either of us in a way. And Dana realized that first. After a few weeks of this quasi-relationship, she realized what we were cutting each other off from the potential of other people. We were not exclusive, we both understood we were looking for other people and one day that time would come. What neither of us knew was how we would handle that. Well being the good looking girl she was she found a guy that caught her eye. And was a better fit than me, who was admittedly not her future.

She told me of course, it was no issue. I was a little bummed that the intimacy would have to stop, but we knew that and I respected that. Our dates got less frequent, eventually stopped and that was expected too. We no longer talked everyday. It was a gradual and acceptable falling out.

Fast forward a month. She messaged me to say hello and small talk. Oh and by the way, “I’m moving”. Well that was some news indeed. That’s life. But she explained she was moving in with the guy she had hit it off with. Part of me was a little bummed by that. Why was I bummed? Who could really know. The fact that we had shared things in the past and she was going to live with another guy made it very real that she had found someone worthwhile. And I had not.

Well I didn’t say much other than good things. Congrats, hope it works well, and the like. She was still a friend and I wanted the best for her.

After a few weeks, being a good friend and reaching out to her to say hi and check up, she was very different. She was short with me, replied sporadically and seemed cold to me. Well she still was talking so I continued to say hi at times and didn’t overthink it.

Well she came home one weekend, and the floodgates opened. She messaged me non stop all weekend. Telling me how she loved him, but hated the way their relationship was. He didn’t like her messaging people, especially another guy. He checked her phone often. And was just a not very nice 90% of the time. According to her, the few times a week he was sweet was worth the struggles they were having.

I gave her advice about standing up for herself and being vocal about her opinion and her relationship needs. As well as maybe talking a break and moving out. I said everything a friend could say in that situation. She insisted that they loved each other and it was going to work out. I talked to her for hours offering her all I could to help. I can only imagine how a relationship like that would feel. Most importantly, if its not fixed fast, than it needs to stop. No one deserves to be in a relationship that unhealthy.

A week later she came home again, this time she asked if we could meet each other. Not knowing why, but possibly fearing bad news, I agreed. We got something to eat and just small talked for a bit like we used to. She was in high spirits. I knew there was a reason for the meeting but she wasn’t spitting it out.

I asked why she wanted to meet me, point blank. I was a little surprised by the answer. She wanted to thank me for the advice. She told me everything was going great for them now, she spoke up, made her feelings, concerns and needs known. And he was sorry, and he wanted to change. And they were making strides.

Obviously I was very happy for her. And the fact the advice from a guy who had never been in a real relationship had helped her was really awesome to hear. I do try my best to help people, and actually succeeding was rewarding.

But now things got very weird and unexpected. I gave her a hug after hearing all the good news for her. Well when separated from that hug she pulled me in for a kiss. Like a hand on the neck full contact. Not a peck. Freaked out, I grabbed her hand and asked what the hell she was doing and thinking.

She told me she wasn’t surprised how I reacted. Ya think? She told me part of what she had talked about with her boyfriend was her wants of a polygamous relationship. And she wanted me to be part of that.

Put on the spot and trying not to be rude, I told her I was just unsure and had to think it over. Well, Dana if you ever end up reading this, very unlikely, but I’m sorry I lied to you initially. I didn’t need to think it over, that is not something I’d ever want.

So later that week after the shock went away I had told her thank you but no thank you. Nothing against her, and I wasn’t that at all, that style of relationship isn’t for me.

Talking got less frequent again, we went back to the old norm. And things seemed to be a lot better for her and her relationship from there forward.

I learned a lot from Dana. Mostly about myself. And I also learned about the middle ground of “temporary dating partners” and the comfort of familiarity you establish.

What I went forward in life with, for me at least:

Avoid the temporary dating. If it’s a mutual understanding it’s fun, it’s mostly harmless, its comfortable and it’s better than being alone right? Those can all be very true, and mostly are. But things can complicate quickly. It is never so straightforward, and it’s hard to define what “we are”. And you might be okay with this, but it is time spent that can be used developing maybe a relationship with someone better for you.

If you decide on it, be realistic. Talk about the day you get tired of it, the day you find someone you want to pursue, the day you catch feelings(might not ever happen, but it could). Establish the fact it could end badly and be ready for it.

Be honest. It boils down to open communication. People, feelings and situations change. Fast or slow. Just make sure your partner, that really isn’t your partner, knows if things are changing for you.

 

So yes the guy all about serious dating found himself somewhere in between. It wasn’t all bad and I won’t say never to do it. Just know what the outcome can be.

For me, I would much rather have someone I’m serious about. I want to invest myself and grow with someone. I don’t want to feel like I need to be careful with my feelings and heart. I want to give someone my all.