From a female 23 year old’s perspective.
Let me start by saying 23 is an awkward dating age for the very simple reason that you’re too young to be looking for something ultra serious but a bit too old and tired of fooling around for prolonged periods of time. Bit too free but at the same time bit too busy on trying to put your life together, thus, not always having the time to devote to a prospective partner.
On top of the personal reasons of why you yourself are confused in regards to what you’re looking for in a man/woman, it’s also super blurry as to what to expect from others and how to distinguish what the fuck it is that they want.
I personally came out of a two-year relationship around March so I’ve been exploring the “field” ever since and I’ve come to receive a general feeling of detachment and distrust which leads into uncertainty and sometimes distress when it comes to meeting someone new.
Step 1: The meeting method
Let me go ahead and dare to give an estimate that 2/3 of your potential dates are going to come out of the web; specifically, let’s say tinder-bumble and such or Instagram. The old fashioned “met at the bar” has almost ceased to exist. That by itself means that the element of surprise is absent; sure, you might go to a bar with the sole purpose of meeting someone to bang or potentially date, but there are so many other factors in that scenario to be taken into consideration; in a bar you can’t just assume that everyone around you is looking for something. When you decide to go on tinder it almost always means that everyone you’re matching with IS looking for something, and it’s almost always sex, which is normal, everyone wants sex, but it’s sometimes overwhelming playing the guessing game of “could he/she be interested in something beyond that”?
Again, 2/3 of the online dating world are just looking for sex, so when you go like “oh I actually don’t wanna come over to your house for wine because I don’t know you” or “I do not wanna smash on the first date” you receive an aura of disappointment and you feel like you’ve wasted valuable time. I don’t know what it is but I feel like the circumstances of the era are pushing us towards shallowness and unwillingness to be open to anything that might lead to future complications and bonds.
Step 2: It was going well, you smashed, now what?
Oh well! The first, or first few dates were super enjoyable, the conversation was flowing, the topics were on another level, the atmosphere was sparkly, all of which led you to yours or his/her house where you had some extra drinks and you ended up doing the dead. Now you’re just waiting to observe the after-sex atmosphere because we all know it gives away everything about the other persons’ intentions.
In my experience so far, it varies from him getting dressed and being exhaustively silent, which translates to “I’d like you to go”, to getting some awkward food, which is followed by some awkward conversation. When you go home it could go two ways; he’ll either call you after a few days to go on another date, or you’ll never hear from him again.
Step 3: He calls again.
SO you got that phone call or text? Congratulations, you’re probably about to get into 2017 dating. It starts by having a couple more of successful dates which always leads to sex and after a week you’ll start wondering where is this going. That’s when you’re gonna have the lovely DTR (define the relationship) talk. He/she is going to say that they’re very busy at that particular point in their life and they’re not looking for something serious but they like you and they enjoy spending time and having sex with you.
“Let’s be friends and just try to have fun”!
So this is the time for you to decide if you’re in the same phase. If you’re not walk away NOW and try your chances with someone else.
Step 4: You agree to “just friends”.
Yayy! You possibly just added in your life something that eventually might become inconvenient and messy. The thing is he/she said they aren’t ready for a relationship but when you spend time with a person attachment comes naturally; FACTS. As you go through more and more dates it’s gonna be fun and that person is going to start expecting and asking for you to do stuff together that are inappropriate in terms of a friendship and would be characterised as “couply”. Like getting food together all the time, sleeping over after sex, sex by itself, cuddling, watching movies in bed and such.
Naturally, you’re gonna start expecting to do stuff together too, accompanied with feeling threatened from other girls/guys and sometimes being jealous. You will struggle not to show it but it will slip out occasionally. That’s when you’ll receive the “you can’t claim me” response, but at the same time he/she is going to be negative and angry when you flirt with others. That is going to make you push away other guys/girls even though you’re actually single. Basically you’re always gonna be making yourself available in case your “friend” decides to ask to spend time together.
The unspoken expectation will be “I need you to be loyal but I’ll do what I want”, and when you get mad because he/she doesn’t follow the same unspoken rules the answer will be “we’re not together, you can’t control me”. You’ll probably catch feelings because the attachment will be growing and he’s gonna be giving you just enough to keep you there.
So, after 2-3 months into this “friendship” he/she is methodically gonna push you away and become distant because you caught feelings. When you question it the answer is going to be…
“You knew what this was…I told you, I’m not ready for a relationship”.
If he/she asked you to stay after you first smashed, if he/she just let it flow and didn’t ask questions, didn’t put insecurities and stupid expectations of this era ahead of the awesome vibe between you, if he/she didn’t lead you on, then he/she is a keeper. Congratulations you found a window out of the shitty modern dating scene. Enjoy!