Too often these days, we lead with our head instead of our heart in the early stages of dating.
While the heart holds all of the words we want to say and actions we want to take, the head is a rational voice of reason. Our head tells us to play it safe. It is our internal executor of checks and balances.
The early stages of dating are a test of self-control more than anything else.
Instead of focusing on our significant other (reading their body language, listening intently to what they’re saying in conversation, being in the moment), we are concerned with our own mannerisms.
I don’t want self-control with you.
I don’t ever want to think about doing something for you and then scratch plans to go through with it because it’s too “over-the-top.” I don’t ever want to edit a text message I’m about to send you for fear that it will be misinterpreted otherwise. I don’t ever want to hold your hand or kiss you and then restrain myself from doing so because of what kind of message it would send.
I don’t ever want to worry that something will scare you off. I want to be able to do and say what comes naturally to me with the confidence that it will make you swoon or, in a worst-case scenario, you’ll know was done with the best of intentions.
So many of us fear getting into a relationship with someone who ends up not being who we thought they were, when in reality, we’re rarely completely authentic ourselves.
The hope is that any changes in your partner are positive, and that the doors opened over time reveal their quirks, embarrassing traits, and all of the things you wish they had shown you from the beginning. Until we know they really are, we hesitate to show our own true colors, then justify it later to support ourselves regardless of the outcome.
If we reserve parts of ourselves and the person we’re with ends up being someone we do not wish to associate with, we’ll say that we were right all along to hold back. If they end up becoming someone we fall even harder for, we’ll say that we were just trying to protect ourselves in the beginning.
Dating should not be a game of self-preservation.
Dating shouldn’t be a series of strategically planned moves that are more analytical than emotional. Dating should be an enjoyable experience, not a challenge. Unfortunately, the figurative shackles we place on ourselves often prevent that from being the case.
I don’t want self-control with you, now or ever.
I want you to accept me as I am or not at all. It’s fine if you turn over rocks during the course of our relationship and learn new things about me over time (in fact, I hope this is the case), but I never want you questioning who I am at my core.
When you look back on our relationship, I want you be able to say, “He’s still the man I fell for.”