It was after the second date when no sparks were flying, no kissing was occurring, that I started thinking, well maybe I'm not feeling it because he's being too much of a gentleman... He hasn't made any sort of physical move on me. Maybe if we get a little physical, I'll start feeling the sparks. Maybe I have to create the sparks... maybe they won't just come to me.
So I started turning on the flirt. Giving not-at-all-subtle hints that he could get a little more.... aggressive.... with me.
Hi, red flag. Nice to meet you.
As any heterosexual male would do when opportunity smacks him in the face, he accepted the offer. On our third date, we went to a bar close to where he lived. He didn't seem too keen on staying there long. Go figure.
And guess what? My brilliant plan had not succeeded. Despite getting physical, I still was not feeling feelings. Are you surprised? All that happened was that I realized that making out with him only made me uncomfortable.
On our fourth date, he asked me to be his date for Valentine's Day. The thought it made my insides writhe. Not because he was a bad guy, or even an unattractive one, but the thought of faking emotion on V-Day made me recoil. So I said no. I made up an excuse about promising to spend it with a fellow single girlfriend. Which wasn't a total lie, that is what I ended up doing... but you can bet my answer would have been different if the guy was different.
Although it had clearly been coming, the V-Day request was when I knew for sure that I was not interested.
Finally, after I continued to reject his requests for further dates, I had to tell him that I wasn't feeling it for him and no longer wanted to date him. I could have just ignored his calls, but it feels awful when that happens to you, and personally I'd prefer to know for sure than slowly come to terms with being ignored. The whole ripping off the band-aid idea.
Why do I feel so much pressure to decide whether a dating experience is "going somewhere?" I have an obsessive need to categorize things in my mind: It was a good date, or a bad one. I want to pursue a relationship with him, or I don't. He is a romantic partner, or a platonic friend. Nothing in between. I have difficulty seeing the world in shades of gray... things are black or white. I'm uncomfortable being in limbo, so I try to assign labels to compartmentalize my brain.
If that wasn't bad enough, then I constantly worry about assigning the wrong label. Have I written him off too quickly? What if he's the one I was meant to be happy with, and I'm screwing it up? But if I'm NOT meant to be with him, am I wasting my precious partner-finding time?
I've been told that I need to stop thinking in questions, and instead only deal with what I know... not what I don't know. A good idea in theory. Not so easy to put into practice.