Congratulations! All those days (months…err years) of swiping left, talking to weirdos at bars, getting set up with your friend’s friend that they swore was “like totally a good guy”…has paid off, or at least you think. You’re dating someone and it’s fabulous and wonderful and you’re like “thank goodness someone still finds me attractive.” And then suddenly you are stuck in an internal debate of whether or not you are really quite sold on them.
You are what I like to call “stuck in the but.”
For some reason you find yourself explaining this wonderful new person to other people in your life, and then you follow up with the comma and the but. If you haven’t personally been in this kind of relationship or dating experience before, then I can assure you one of your friends has. Some of the “buts” that I have either heard from friends or have experienced for myself have included a whole range of reasoning from attraction, to lack of a job, to basic personality and politeness, to really nothing that you can quite pinpoint at all. Sometimes you can find yourself saying “They are wonderful, but I don’t know if…”
And it’s okay to be stuck like that, because it means you are discovering who and what you are looking for in the world of love.
You are stuck in the “but.” They are fantastic, beautiful, successful, funny, what have you. But they aren’t doing it for you. There is that “but” that is keeping you from sealing the deal. You are stuck with trying to discover why you would want to give up on a chance to grow something with someone wonderful, but for some reason you are questioning whether or not you can envision a growth past the few dates that you have been on with them.
Last year, I found myself going on a few dates with someone that was just so wonderful. He was kind, handsome, and successful, but there was something that I couldn’t put my finger on that was keeping me from wanting to pursue a more serious relationship with him outside of the few dates that we went on.
He was a wonderful person, but I just wasn’t sold. Eventually it came out that I wasn’t interested in him outside of a friendship that we grew together, and it was one of those dating experiences that I found to be a positive growing experience for me. I realized that it was okay to tell a perfectly wonderful human being that I was not interested in them. As someone that came out of a long-term relationship that continued far past it should have, this was my first step to learning that I can choose what I want in a partner. I learned that I can be picky and not settle with someone because I had no reason to not be with someone other than “I don’t know”.
The beautiful thing about the journey of finding a meaningful relationship is that you are allowed to be as picky as you want. You are at the age where you are able to date whoever you want for as long or as short as you want. But you are also at an age where the next person you meet could become the person you marry. And that’s pretty nuts if you think about it. You are able to be as picky as you want because to settle into something you’re not really sure about is not conducive to your time, your feelings, and your future.
Settling into something that you aren’t quite into is not only unfair for the other person, but unfair for you as well. While you can just go with the flow and see how things happen, why waste your time and theirs? When you’re stuck in the “but,” you’re ultimately toying around with someone who is great and could be a wonderful partner to someone who seems them as perfect as they are.
You are also leading yourself into the land of limbo where you are stressing every time you see them, wondering if that spark will ever come to you, or perhaps questioning if this is just completely normal to feel. You should never be so desperate for love that you end up fooling yourself and them into thinking that it was something more than just false hope.
There is no “I think he is the one” when you are considering a serious relationship with someone. There are no “buts” about having someone in your life that you could consider spending more than a few dates with. There are no “maybes” in trying to find out if you want to continue to pursue a relationship with someone.
At the end of the day, knowing who you are and what you want – and who you want to share all of that with – can be the most relieving thing in the world. Even if you haven’t found what you have wanted just yet, you have the opportunity to explore that with every new person you meet and discover whether they surpass that “but” that has stuck with you for everyone else.