How the hell are we supposed to know what’s up in this climate of ambiguous sexual/romantic networking? There’s a whole spectrum of involvements from talking to dating to being official, but at what point is it serious and at what point does it become exclusive? It’s hard to know where you stand, especially when people don’t tend to talk about it.
For instance, Tinder has brought about a new wave of sexual/romantic opportunity. That’s all well and good, but not without its complications. Talking to, dating and hooking up with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is going to develop further since, chances are, other people are on their radar too. But what if they do mean something?
Whether I’m the person wanting to keep things casual or the one who’s after something more meaningful, I feel like I’m walking on emotional eggshells because people (myself included) can quickly become attached. When it comes to love and sex, we make ourselves incredibly vulnerable.
For two of my friends, they began talking and things just developed naturally. They never stopped to think about it or pop the “will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend’ question as they found it too reminiscent of year eight, but everyone knows that’s what they are. I’m wondering whether this is some unique case of a perfect twenty-first century romance, because it never plays out that well for me.
My latest endeavour, for example. An old friend, haven’t spoken in years. We match on Tinder, sort of ironically, but begin talking every day and there’s a tangible spark. After months of flirting, we kiss. At this point I’m thinking this is more graft than anyone would put in if they were just looking for one night. Fast forward again to two days after sleeping together, I receive a message out of the blue clarifying that nothing is going to happen between us.
Technically he didn’t do a thing wrong, but still, I was crushed like a proverbial eggshell. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened; whether those were always his intentions, whether the timing was unfortunate and he just wasn’t into me, or if it was only ever the thrill of the chase. Should I have held out for longer, or should I have given him a heads up that I was attached? This is already problematic for me; I resent the mind-set that I should resist sex for the sake of it because it shouldn’t be used as a game to keep someone around for longer.
It would appear that the solution here is better communication. I’d ask why people (myself included) can’t just be more upfront about what they’re thinking, but I think I know the answer(s): it’s terrifying to be the first one to put yourself on the line and risk getting hurt, and it can put people off if you come across too intense too quickly. Plus, if you haven’t quite figured out what you want, you may prefer to see how things go without the pressure or commitment to talk definitions and labels straight away.
Clearly I’m guilty of over-thinking, but honestly, I feel like I can’t win. Anyone else feeling a little lost? Please tell me I’m not the only one struggling to navigate single territory.