Well hello once again, readers! Two posts in a row! I know this week was supposed to be a podcast, but I have a very special one for next week, so make sure you tune in! Last week, I mentioned my commitment to the new addition to my family. Nacho Man! Unfortunately, we had a rough start and we decided to move forward slowly for his comfort and safety. Don’t worry, he is still my man. However, in one night, I learned more about relationships from a pup than I’ve learned in years! Over the next few weeks, my posts will probably reflect all that I’ve learned, and are still learning, as his transition becomes complete. But for tonight, make yourself a Salty Dog and enjoy a Drink with Jess!
What a weekend. Actually, what a long, not-so-quite, 24 hours. Here is a brief play by play. When Nacho came home, I took him to the pet store. He was so lovey, to absolutely everyone. It was great to see him like this. We had a fun and exploratory night, letting him sniff, play and bond during his first night in a new home. He even slept cuddled up in my armpit as he snored the night away. Yes, he stuck by my side. Yes, he was quiet, cute and more of an entertaining clown than what I had imagined. I was instantly in love. It was our first date!
We all know how that feels, right? You meet someone new and the first date is exciting and fun. Both people finally let their hair down, learning and enjoying each other until the night ends, or the morning begins. Those sometimes awkward or not wanting to say "goodbye" goodbyes, leaves you anticipating the next date. But what happens in the meantime?
Ring, ring, ring. Beep, beep, beep. Ok, I get it. We all continue to feel great the next day and wonder if we are on their mind too. That wonderful man or woman may just want to express thanks for the previous night. They may want to divulge what a great time they had. That's pretty natural. Hell, I can even understand a few texts throughout the day, like Nacho checking in as he was adapting. However, there is such a thing as "too much." With a dog, this is a part of the process. With dating, it can become overwhelming.
Picture it. Once in a while, as we hung out, he would venture to another room... quickly to come back and see if I was still there. He was getting comfortable and independent- so I thought. He followed me to the bathroom, where I finally closed the door to separate us. He was not thrilled. He scratched and whined. But I made sure I did a routine like peeing, coughing, turning on the sink and opening the door when done. One minute tops. I waited a while, and did it again, taking a bit more time… two minutes or so. Only one scratch, yet he was still standing on the other end lovingly waiting.
Yet, when it comes to dating, why is it that we expect a reply right away? Many of us, like a new pup, become anxious if we don't hear back from our new interest immediately! People have busy lives filled with work, family, friends and other daily responsibilities. Your text is probably not the top priority and after one date, it shouldn't be. Try not to let insecurities sneak up on you and run the show. Space is good. In fact, it's necessary for building a strong relationship.
Now, Mr. Nacho, doesn't understand the need for space. This is something he must learn. I thought he realized this when
he finally went in the crate with ease. Yay! This was my chance. I gave him a treat, and went out the door. Not five seconds later, I heard scratching at the front door. He got out of his crate! I should really make his nickname Houdini! He was barking, feet up on the door and pushed out one of my glass panels. Thank God he didn’t get hurt in any way. It was difficult to do, but I took him back to his foster family. I thought a slower transition would be better and he was not ready to be here for eight hours alone come Monday. Don’t worry people… he’s still mine! We worked out a slower transition plan.
You see, without time and space, possible insecurities can often result in clinginess. This happens so often at the beginning of a new relationship, and many times, it causes an end to the relationship. If you try, however, to understand where the insecurity comes from, you are more able to create the time and space needed in a healthy way for both people.
The trainer I spoke with put it this way. She said, “you met this dog a week ago, and he is spending his first night in your place without knowing you, your schedule and your environment”. I started to chuckle at this point, because I thought of the typical lesbian U-Haul perception. Yet, it made sense. She asked me “when you go somewhere for a night, do you sleep well?” Hell no! I toss and turn and feel unrested. New smells, schedule, sights and sounds make me want to take it all in. But, it also makes me uneasy. Add into the mix, if a person that I’m newly engaged with wants to go out without me, yes, it can be scary because I don’t know if they will come back.
This is how my new pup feels, and why it’s important to take it slow in order to become accustomed to each other. The best relationships are when we allow the other people to be who they are and they let you be you. It’s about slowly building that foundation of trust knowing that we don’t have to be by their side every moment and even at first if it feels uncomfortable, it can get better. The space we give and receive is how we grow. Seriously, how can you expand and be and do everything you want if you're caged in?
So get that anxiety out of your mind, people! If it’s new, and yes, I understand that you want to relax and have good times, it does take patience, effort, and understanding. So take it slow like me and Nacho! He will be here full time soon. Build that foundation, get to know each other, and feel comfortable in your own skin even when they are away. Dogs want to know that their alone time is for them to relax and enjoy themselves. Isn’t it the same for people? So finish up that cocktail, enjoy some personal time and make sure to join me next week for a special Drinks with Jess podcast!
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.