Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! Today is a great day to be around people, have some fun times, and of course, grab a margarita in a salt-rimmed glass to enjoy Drinks with Jess!
On this celebratory day, I tend to see the good in every situation, even the common issue many people face: should I stay or should I go, especially when somebody is casually dating others. In fact, I’m actually going through this myself. It’s because of this, that I’d like to take my personal experiences and connect with you.
First, many people jump into relationships without getting to know someone, or without building a foundation. Yet, we wonder why:
A: it doesn't work out, or,
B: we have to pick up the pieces when it falls apart.
This is why, before you get into anything, you have to take the time to identify what makes you happy, and make yourself happy. We see it on facebook all the time. “Oh, I have to find this person,” or “I need a girlfriend”, or “I need a boyfriend.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting to share your time with somebody, but you don’t need it to be happy.
The second thing that’s important before you jump into dating is to know exactly what you want. You can look at your previous relationships to see what you didn’t enjoy about that person, or about the relationship and how it was going, and you can use that to build your list of what you do what. Essentially, this is where expectations and boundaries come in. For example, I had dated a woman who used to text all the time. She was so unavailable to call, and I didn’t, nor don’t believe in forming connections via text. In fact, it’s almost impossible. I took this past situation and said “Okay, I want a relationship or I would like to share my time with a person who has no problem communicating via phone, and no problem with face to face communication.” That’s one of my expectations when dating people.
Have expectations. It doesn’t have to be a lot, because you have to allow some people to make the cut. Have some deal breakers. Those into drug use, overly needy, or who can’t take care of themselves, are deal breakers for me. Because I set this standard, when I go out on a date with somebody who has one of these qualities, I know that I won’t continue dating them. It’s that simple. But what happens when you go through, and I know we make fun of it on the radio: the “90 day rule”. Let’s say you’re casually dating people. That’s where my situation comes in. When you’ve been dating for awhile, you’re starting to build a nice foundation, and then suddenly things start to go not as you expected, there are a couple of things you have to remember.
Number 1: Your dating life, your relationship life, is under your control- not somebody else’s.
Number 2: You can’t wait around to see what they’re going to do. You create what you want to create out of your experiences.
So, let me tell you a little bit about my experience. I was dating about 3 or 4 people, when I ran into someone from my past that I met years ago. We would bump into each other here and there, and it finally got to a point where we got to go out. It was great, and she is an amazing person. The more I got to know her and see that she was a person who possesses the qualities that I desire, I started to weed out the others. We get past the 3 to 3 ½ month phase, which although slow, is still enjoyable. This is so very different for me. I eventually got to a point where I said ”Listen, I’m really enjoying this, I’d like to see where it goes. I’m not interested in dating anybody else at this point.” She said that she’s enjoying getting to know me as well, but she’s still dating other people. This is where we’re not on the same page. It’s at this point where I would normally advise you to walk away. However, if you’re really interested in sticking it out to see what transpires, there’s no reason why you can’t keep dating this person but jump back into the casual dating pool at the same time. As they say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” but only if you’re honestly comfortable with this solution. Right now, I’m “ok” with it, however, I do have a cutoff point.
I have no problem going on casual dates with other people, but there’s going to be a time, probably in another month or so, where I’m going to have the conversation again. That time is my cut off point if there is no advancement. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care, it doesn’t mean that I’m not interested, it just means that it’s not the dating experience that I want to have. If you are in this situation, don’t get crazy about it. Just relax, and really know what you want. Set that time, and stick to it. We don’t like saying goodbye to someone, especially when getting to know them. We don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, and sometimes, we're afraid to get back out there. But also, remember during this 90 day period, to be yourself. You don’t need to spend 24/7 with this person. Keep spending time with your friends, keep going out, because if it’s not a situation where you’re on the same page at the same time, you don’t want to be the person at the end to pick up all the pieces.
Take the 90 days. Be an individual. After that point, if you want to continue on, bring it up. If you’re not on the same page, it’s your choice to stay and see what happens for a limited amount of time, or to go and weigh your options. Either way dear readers, you are going to take control of your dating experience and continue to join me for another Drink with Jess!.
Jess is a dating coach, best selling author, and radio personality in Philadelphia. She provides the LGBTQ community with no-nonsense, straight forward advice to understanding your mind in order to navigate the complex dating scene and go after and get the people you desire.