Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dating

Seeing as it's been a little while since I've posted, I've decided to discuss an issue that's been grating my mind lately. 

I'm now 20 years old, and the whole romantic world is something that is still completely foreign to me. Aside from the issue of intimacy (which I've discussed briefly here), I'm having a difficult time understanding the way in which relationships manifest themselves. So much happens when traveling from Point A, where you and the other person are mere acquaintances, to Point B, when something exclusive is going on - whether it be a relationship, friends with benefits, even something that neither of you will call a relationship but clearly displays an attraction to the other person alone, thereby displaying such exclusivity. A lot of signals are discreetly communicated, little body movements, eye contact, brain signals that are transferred into subtle twitches, signals which inform the individual whether they will make or break the night. 

So much goes on behind flirting that I have yet to learn. For years I thought that you'd gussy yourself up, smile at a boy, and BAM! You'd have yourself a boyfriend. Unfortunately, you hardly ever get anything merely by wanting it - you must put in an effort and send out the correct signals to the other person involved, and if those signals are well-received, then perhaps something lovely will spring to life. 

I'm learning that the right things must be said as well so the other person doesn't get turned off, and it all must be done in a timely manner before the guy you're interested in gets bored and moves on. I'm learning all of this the hard way, after all this time. It's been one of the hardest and most stressful things I've ever had to make myself aware of. We'll just say this past semester's been extremely difficult, haha.

I've also come to realize, though that the rules of appropriate flirting are something that everyone must learn. From what I've observed, they're generally acquired sometime around mid-adolescence, but there isn't really a time limit on when they can be learnt. I've been stressed out since a lot of my friends currently have boyfriends (not that this is a competition or anything), but I've noticed that even more of my friends are experiencing the same problems as I am. The nervous blushing that taints middle-schoolers' cheeks  when they see their crush walk down the hallway happens to students in college as well, causing us to stumble our words and make our brains rush through a premeditated list of insecurities regarding our foolishness for even trying. 

Where do nerves end? Confidence. As long as we are confident in our abilities to interact with others, with time, we will meet someone whom we are compatible with. This confidence may take years to acquire, but I have faith that with practice and self-esteem, anyone can get there. I'm not there yet, but hopefully I'll be able to build my confidence up. 

It's a difficult journey, but by paying attention to the right rules, I think it can be done. This applies to any goal you may be working towards, not even a relationship. Failure will happen as well, it's inevitable, but we must learn from our mistakes so we can grow. Hopefully I'll get there, as will everyone else out there. Self-confidence is one of the best things anyone can have, and something that everyone deserves. 

I don't know where I'm going with this. Sorry if I ramble a bit! Let's just get out there and work on it. 

3 comments:

Gavin Bollard said...

The best advice I can give you is to keep trying and to stick with people about the same age as yourself.

It's the advice I'll be giving my kids as well.

Why?

Because in the late teens and early twenties age group, most people are "beginners" and most couples are quite forgiving of eachother's mistakes. After all, if your similar ages, you and your partner will both be making mistakes all the time anyway.

Keep safety paramount, remember that you can get as many "home runs" as you want in your life but once you've made the first, you'll find yourself losing the thrills of first base. (I think that's as obliquely as I can put things).

Finally, don't be afraid to say "No". There are plenty of fish in the sea and you've got at least ten years of saying No before you need to be a bit less particular.

At some point, you're going to discover that men and women just aren't compatible - really - for some bizarre reason, we're so different that we really don't get along easily. When you start to reach that point, have a read of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". It will help to explain why when you feel upset, it's easier to talk to people of the same gender.

good luck.

Rachel said...

It's so amazing how different Aspies are. My point of view on this is very different from Gavin's--except for the safety issue, which I agree is the most important thing to remember. Always.

1. Except for my ex-husband, I have always had relationships with guys older than I am. I felt that they could understand me better. Having "been there, done that," they had perspective that I didn't. Perhaps it's also the fact that Aspies tend to do better outside of their peer group. I'm not sure. Anyway, my first serious boyfriend was 17 years older than me, the second one was 10 years older than me, and my present husband (and soulmate) is 14 years older than me.

2. I don't think you should ever be less particular about who you get involved with, no matter what your age.

3. I'm don't think that all men and women have difficulties with compatibility. I have very close friends who are men, and I talk to them as easily as I talk with my close women friends. My husband and I don't have a lot of problems relating to each other, either. I'm an Aspie and he's NT, but it's not a problem. We enjoy our differences and find them interesting.

But you know best what will work for you! Don't ever sell yourself short.

just me said...

I do not have aspergers and I have to say that dating is tough for everyone, aspie or not :)

I think almost everyone has some of the feelings that you do while dating.

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