A while back, I went on a date with a lady. It was nothing terribly unorthodox. Just coffee.
But that first date turned into a second, which turned into a third and so on. Before I knew it, we were getting together two or three times a week and planning two and three dates ahead. Things were going well. It appeared to be on the verge of turning into a *GASP* relationship.
That nebulous phase between casually dating and full-blown relationship is hard to navigate. There’s usually no clear line separating the casual from the formal. Such was the case here. But, being the guy I am, I wanted to know. I wanted to know where that line was and had we crossed it or were we on the way toward crossing it. But most importantly, because I knew what I thought about the situation, I wanted to know if she was thinking similarly.
The problem is that the only way to find that out is by asking. And asking such questions can either be a great idea or a terrible idea. And you never know which it’s going to be.
Nonetheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that with dating, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. After spending a couple days trying to work up the courage, I finally decided I had to ask. With “No guts, no glory” being repeated over and over in my head, I asked if we were kind of thinking similarly about the direction the relationship was going. I told her I was in no rush to put a label on things, but rather just wanted to know if our brains were working the same.
And she said no. She wanted to keep things uber-casual and I was thinking the thing was drifting toward the formal. She was just not interested.
And then she did something weird. She apologized. I asked her why she was apologizing. She said it’s because she really liked me but not in a relationshippy way and she knows it sucks that I was thinking it was headed in that relationshippy direction and she didn’t want to upset me and blah blah blah freakin’ blah.
I told her she had nothing to apologize for. She was honest. And that’s all I could ask for. She didn’t try to string me along. She didn’t ever suggest that she might be more interested in me than she was. She told the truth.
Honesty, especially when it comes to figuring out the dynamics of your own relationship with someone else, is always the best policy. Too often when people start to date, they worry too much about upsetting the other … to the point that it becomes very hard to break it off because you’re deathly scared to tell the other person you’re not into them.
And that, folks, is ridiculous. You may not always like the truth, especially when it comes to figuring out if you and your new Friday Night Date Buddy are on your way toward full-blown boyfriend/girlfriend status. As in my case, I didn’t like the truth. But I’m glad I know it. If she’d just kept me thinking things were moving in a more formal direction from casual dating, it would have wasted a whole helluva lot of time. This way, we can both make a super-clean break and move on.