Editor’s note: Catch up on Nikki’s previous Dating Diaries posts here.
One year ago, I was recovering from the worst break-up of my life and my dating resolutions for 2012 were mostly aimed at getting me out of the quicksand. This year it’s more about finding the tricky balance between caution and joyous free fall and maybe minimizing some of the loopy overanalyzing of every single word and action (but we are who we are).
1. Get over this ‘man of action’ obsession.
After getting involved with a lot of indecisive men, I began to get obsessed with this idea of a guy who knew he wanted to be with me and would prove it by coming to get me. No one wants lukewarm affections, but I’m not a princess at the top of a tower waiting for the bravest knight to declare his passion for me. It hurts when people change their minds and are unsure, but they’re allowed to up until a certain point.
2. Know when to quit.
Eight months of 2012 were spent still entangled with a guy who broke up with me in 2011. Breakups are scabs that I never manage to leave alone. I always go back for more—because I’m bored, because I still like him, because I can’t ever leave a question unanswered—and it is never a good idea. Things ended for a reason and while second chances can be warranted, they’re the exception and not the rule.
3. Date older men.
Age is just a number, so maybe it would be more accurate to say, “Date men who are not merely ‘loosely’ employed, exhibit an ability to commit to something (anything) and have enough experience under their belts to know how to communicate effectively and empathize with people they are intimate with.” If only the English language had a word for that…oh, it’s maturity. I find that at the age of 26, I’m caught between this impulse to spend irresponsible late nights with someone who, like me, might be a little lost — and the desire to get things in order, take care of myself and those that I love and find someone who feels the same. I don’t know if I’m ready for a full-blown, grown-up, long-term relationship but I think I’m done with getting jerked around by guys aren’t ready to give even a little bit of themselves to another person.
4. Quit angry texting.
So, if you’ve dated me and also angered me then you have gained the unfortunate knowledge that I have a bad temper. And if I feel like I have nothing to lose, then I will yell at you for being a jerk and it might be over text message. I don’t think anger is in itself a bad thing and generally I don’t think girls express it enough, but I definitely don’t need to show it via text; that’s really just unspeakably stupid.
5. Stop Facebook stalking my ex-boyfriends.
There are two things I use Facebook for: hate-stalking and wistful-stalking my exes. It makes me feel bad; it has to stop. This resolution is like dieting and remembering to floss–it goes on the list every year and well, you know how it ends.
6. Listen when a guy gives me a warning.
Maybe it’s because the apocalypse was supposed to happen this year, but several of my romantic interactions in 2012 began with ominous cautioning from the guys themselves. One guy told me pre-first kiss that he didn’t want to get serious. A different date told me that all his relationships end because he’s too busy and the women can’t keep up. Another said he didn’t think he could feel love the way he thought he should. We’re all cynical these days, I guess. As much as I wanted to be hopeful, none of those relationships worked out and the reasons were exactly what they warned me about. People will straight up tell you what’s holding them back and it’s important to actually listen.
7. Don’t assume the worst in people.
This is one I’m still struggling with because trust has to be earned, but after getting my feelings hurt so many times I’ve become almost violently defensive. Instead of assuming a guy doesn’t like me anymore when he doesn’t call and then actively trying to erase him from my mind, I should slow down, take a beat and make sure my reaction is proportionate to what’s happening.
8. Date on my own timeline.
Every day there’s a new Facebook engagement but I have to remember: that has nothing to do with me. If I get married next year or 10 years down the line, my choices are still valid and I can still be happy. Easier said than done.