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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Adventures in Dating

{Image Source: Curly Girl Design}

The number of potential suitors that I have encountered has certainly risen this year compared to years past but I find dating to be a weird sort of adventure in which I am still trying to figure out how it works. I feel a little like I have stepped back out in society, gotten off the bench, and am trying to sort out dating as an adult in a world that is not quite familiar.   

I spent a lot of this year doing what I call testing the waters dating. Different kinds of guys have caught my attention, sometimes they have pursued me and sometimes I tried out pursuing them. I met people while out with others or through friends. While my adventures in dating this year have not yielded a relationship, getting off the bench has actually been a great experience. Trying out all of these different types of people has given me a clearer picture about the type of person I would like to commit to when that time comes. In the meantime, you win some, you lose some and either way you are able to share an experience with another person. Hopefully, you even bring a little bit more awareness to yourself.  

Throughout my dating adventures this year, I've learned a few things about myself and gained lots of questions about how people date. As stone age as it sounds, I miss a little good old fashioned courtship. Two people meet, they flirt, man pursues woman, if she accepts his advances then she will happily return the favor. This is simple stuff that seems to be way over complicated these days. I have had fun this year and will continue to do so but I realize that the man that will actually halt me in my tracks will be one that takes a much more traditional approach with me. 

Maybe some of my insights into myself will resonate with you or maybe just peak some thoughts on dating for yourself. Either way, I am happy to share what dating has taught me this year.

Dating was easier in high school.
When a boy and a girl liked each other, there did not seem to be any of the guess work we put into play these days. He would get your number, actually call, you would return the favor and call him, then there would be some written note passing (my personal favorite), and before long you had decided whether you liked each other or not. You committed or you moved on. You called when you wanted to, did not abide by any rules, and always seemed to know where you stood. People say that we have so many more factors as adults but I think those are just excuses, ones that I myself have used. The reality is when it is someone you want to pursue or be with, you make it happen.

I am a girl that needs a little wooing from a man.
Maybe it is because individualization, woo and communication are my strengths but someone who is thoughtful about doing things that are meaningful to me or who communicates is a person that will really win me over. I appreciate thoughtful gestures that display someone's affection for you. For me, it is not grand things but sweet, simple, attentive ones: making one of my favorite meals, my favorite flowers, sending a quick hello I'm thinking about you message, or actually calling to talk to me. And if someone really wanted to win my heart, there would probably be a card/note with some personalized thoughts inside. Those acts that affirm and woo you get me every time.

I love to give love and to be loved.
I love people in love. I love the way children love without reservation. I love the way loving and being loved makes you feel. Plain and simple, I just love love. And when I love you as my friend or significant other, I'm all in. My ideas about what it will look like when I am in the right relationship with the right person may not be important to some but I need that butterflies, out of the ballpark, I love you so much it makes me initially scared but ultimately secure, we are in it together always, I love you more now than then kind of love. People may say that is unrealistic but it is lucky for me that I have people in my life that love someone else that deeply. I will happily wait or be alone because anything else just is not right for me.

Someday I will need one man in particular.
I was not raised to be a need a man kind of girl but someday there will be a man who I will choose because of who he is, who he helps me to be, and what we are together. I will still have an independent, I can do it by myself streak but he won't be phased by it. Maybe he will even like it. And while I may not need a man, I'll need that man.

The men in my family are a tough act to follow.
Most girls dream of having their fictional heroes in their life but I am blessed to know real men that are the living representations of those idols. My guys are intelligent, full of integrity, and the most hard working people I know. Bless them for marrying the strong women in my family but they are not intimidated. They would protect us with every ounce of themselves. So for the man who wants to join their ranks, well, he will have to be quite as special as they are.

Being in love scares me but I will do it anyway.
All of the great experiences I have had were initially met with some fear but I did them anyway. Love is a little like that for me. It is uncertain and I cannot control it nor create an action plan to manage it so it makes me nervous and cautious but I take the leap every time. It has never not been worth it.  

{Image from Dirty Dancing}

While it is not yet known what the duration of time my adventures in dating will be, I think it is safe to say that this post is "to be continued".

x. j

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