reaching the first dating milestone

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why am i not surprised by your condition, when you look at me and ask me what to do, and i say to you, “you need to think this through.”

so i have a few friends that are in this interesting spot of dating. and what really hits me is that they all begin to react to this dating milestone in the same manner.

i’m talking about the two or three month in, stop and think about where this is going, intersection. and i think this is a really hard spot in dating for all parties involved. it is this pivotal moment that demands our  attention and action.

it is usually in this period of time when you’ve gathered enough information about the person that you’ve been seeing/dating to know whether or not you wish to continue. yes, i believe that it takes a minimum of 3 months of dating to really begin to get an accurate understanding of who the other is, how they do/will/would fit into your life, and what the next few months could look like. what i see happening in my friends is the half unconscious half conscious evaluation of the costs and benefits of dating the person they are, understanding what they like and dislike about the person, and what comes next. and coincidentally my friends all seem to lean towards ending things rather than continuing.

what sucks for everyone involved is that when the three month period becomes this crossroad point of dating there is usually one party that wants to continue dating, enter the next milestone and commit to the relationship, and one person usually saying, “eh”. (because if both parties want to continue then this moment doesn’t inspire any introspection, and is usually skated through. and if both parties think that it is going nowhere then it usually doesn’t even last 3 months.) and the “eh” party has one of two choices: actively break it off with the other, or passively shut down and wait for the other to pick up on it. and i guess what i’m trying to get at is that owning up and breaking up with someone is as difficult as being broken up with.

obviously three months is long enough to become attached and know someone pretty personally. and for any relationship to get that far is an accomplishment, for both parties. but i think the reason that some people begin to shut down, and avoid dealing with the breakup is because they DO care about the other person. and therefore don’t want to do the hard thing- tell someone that they DO care about that they just don’t see a future with that person. it just doesn’t seem to fit.

and sometimes, there isn’t really a specific reason to give the other. sometimes what seemed right in week 6 of dating doesn’t in week 9. and to articulate that, in a sympathetic way, to someone you care about is ridiculously difficult. so, often, that conversation is avoided at all costs. or it is done over the phone, or over text. where the ‘dumper’ doesn’t have to see the disappointed face of someone they care about.

and really this just sucks for everyone. after having the initial ’shut down’ reaction, one of my friends decided NOT to go this route. decided to to have the difficult conversation.

and it was hard. and made me proud and thankful for the accountability attached to this breakup. and weaving this in with my lesson of 2008, i think that this is the way it should go.

this is probably the most common relational intersection. the moment of ‘is this going where i want it to.’ and so i am going to just throw a little nonjudgemental perspective into the wind. we have all been at this moment, and many of us will have numerous more pauses at this very intersection of life. and we have all probably been on both sides of the do i want to continue this fence. and it is hard to be on either. so my suggestion. be present in your dating life. chose that you want to continue or end with the person and own that decision. if perhaps you decide not to continue know that the greatest thing you can offer to that relationship at that moment is truth, honesty and accountability. and if you are the one wanting to continue, and the other doesn’t, know that you put in what you could and that the decision was difficult for them.

dating is hard. non of us want to be broken up with. but none of us want to be the bad guy either. so stay true to yourself and give the other person the courtesy of not having to deal with a jerk.

this is your own mess that you’ve got into
have a cigarette hope the best turns out for you
and i say you you need to think this through
why can’t we just laugh forget and move on
let’s make a toast from coast to coast for all the things we’ve done

separation, shades of perspective, try try again | | 2 Comments

2 Responses to reaching the first dating milestone

  1. steph says:

    well, two years later. I’ve added some layers to this scenario. including email breakups, mutual interest that DOES last until the 3 month (to the day?) point, 3 months is enough to know someone more than ‘pretty’ personally, and yes, dating is hard… if you’re not trying.

    live and love, forever.

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