Like a volunteer at a hypnotist’s show awaking from a trance, there was a moment of clarity and realization that hit me all at once: I am different than most people my age, and it is just now starting to really sink in.
I think differently.
I’ll be driving to work, pass somewhere and think, “Wow, that would be a great place for a date.” I’ll regularly watch a movie or listen to a song and think of elaborate potential wedding proposal ideas, despite the fact there is no woman in my life. Even if I never meet that special someone, I’d still want someone to use one of these grand ideas just so they could potentially light up their partner’s face.
I see things differently.
I’ll go on a date with someone on a Wednesday or Thursday and ask to see them again that weekend because I want to see them again… soon. I see it as a sign of interest, not desperation. I’ll be walking through a store, see a small souvenir or item someone I’m seeing or interested in may have mentioned in conversation, then buy it because they’ve already expressed that they have an affinity for said item. I see it as a thoughtful gesture, not a declaration of love.
I’ve spent more than two and a half decades trying to come to terms with the reality that some people — most people — are not wired the same way that I am; that most people don’t think the way that I do; that most people don’t see things through the same lens that I do.
Some people only want to see you once a week (or less) in the beginning stages of dating because anything else is too much, too fast. Some people don’t know how to react to someone giving them a gift in the beginning stages of dating because they don’t know how to interpret it.
“Aw, this is so sweet… (Unless, like, does he think we’re in a relationship? Does he consider me his girlfriend? Is he going to ask me to meet his parents soon? Oh my god, is he about to tell me he loves me? I can’t handle this. I can’t do this. I’m out.)”
The struggle with being an eternal optimist is that you struggle to grasp the concept that some things will never turn out the way you had hoped, regardless of your actions.
Nothing you could have done would have made them stay. Nothing you could have said would have changed their mind.
Coming to terms with that reality is not something that will be done through any number of conversations with friends, or even failed attempts at dating; it will just happen one day. The switch will flip. The light will turn on. The answer will be clear.
You two were just a round peg and a square hole.
It was never going to work, no matter how much time or force goes into it.
We’re all just different shapes and sizes looking for our other halves.