Dating Blog

Dear Dateable (Feb) Advice Column

Dear Dateable,

What if I can’t tell if he loves me or not?

DD:I went back and asked if this was a current relationship or a crush because I think the answers would vary a little and I’ve decided to answer it both ways. It may be worthwhile to check out my post on signs he’s into you.

For a crush: There’s a lot of uncertainty for the two of you, so not knowing if he loves you or not is very stressful. Since he is your crush I imagine you’ve been paying a lot of attention to him. Does he make an effort to talk to you, ask you about your days and hobbies? Does he ask if you’ll be at that party this weekend or try to find ways to be around you? If the answer so far has been mostly No then maybe he’s not good at expressing his thoughts verbally and you need to see his actions instead. Does he find ways to be near you? Does he do little things that make your life easier?

If the answer is still No then a lack of maturity could be the issue or sadly, he just might not be that into you (link older article). One last thing to keep in mind though is have you made it obvious to him that you like him? Could he read those questions and mostly answer Yes? Have you been honest and straightforward “I like you, I would like to date you, what do you think?”

I know it’s scary to put yourself out there like that but this not knowing will fill you with doubt and destroy your peace of mind from the inside out so even if it’s not the answer you’re hoping for, it’s better to know for sure than always wonder.

For a relationship: It’s very possible you might have a different love language than your significant other. That’s very common and nothing to fear. The way in which you show love and expect it to be shown back to you might be very different than the way your significant other naturally shows their love for you. For example, you might be vocal about your love, writing love letters, showering them with compliments, and always ending an exchange with ‘I love you’. Your significant other might be quiet or reserved and you may be hurt that they never compliment you or say I Love You first. This is where it’s important to 1. Figure out your love language and your SO’s love language and 2. Directly communicate to your SO that you need to be shown some love in your love language (to continue the example, you might ask them to write you a note of appreciate or love or to make the effort to compliment you more).

It’s important you find out the love language of your SO other because this can help you notice the ways in which they ARE showing their love. For example, they might show love by spending quality time together. No matter how busy their schedule is, they make sure that they are home to spend every dinner with you. And sure, you are capable of walking the dog by yourself, but they walk with you every time for that extra one on one time. This extra effort may have been going by unnoticed to you. You may have even gotten annoyed when they asked you to check your social media apps after dinner but now you’re realized how much they cherish that time of undivided attention and connection.

Aside from realizing all the ways you are being shown love, you can also make the effort to show them love in that same way as well. You’ll feel connected again when you start making this effort along with seeing them make the effort to speak your love language too.

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Public Love Letter to My Valentine

Last year I wrote “I’d be a really good girlfriend“, and I still stick to the anti Valentines Day mayhem but as it’s my first time being in a relationship I’m making this one exception. You all might have also recently learned, I’m not the romantic one around here so I’m going to write about the things he does that I appreciate!

First off, right from the start I never had to second guess how he felt about me. I had been around the dating app scene for over a year and could never commit to anyone or find anyone willing to commit to me. Boyfriend made sure we were ‘official’ ASAP and I was thrilled. The second way he made me secure in his feelings for me was how verbal he is about them. As he mentions in the Q&A, he said I love you first to me.

He’s a romantic, leaving notes in my work bag, cooking for me, and gifting me with little things randomly. Like on that weekend trip, we were in a bookstore and we walk out and I see he has a necklace in his hand for me. He takes care of the things I accidentally leave at his place and makes sure I always get to my car safely and checks that I made it home okay.

He also shows me he wants to spend time with me by basically planning out our next date at the end of the one we’re currently on. He’ll talk about things and adventures he wants us to do together. If I ask if he wants to hang out Tuesday or Thursday, he says both. Definitely in the beginning, he liked planning dates, going to the beach or docks along with dinner.  I’m lazy now and just want to watch Netflix but he’ll always ask what we’re doing and how to make our time together fun.

I love his work ethic even if it does mean regularly going into the office saturday mornings. He shows dedication and hussle to succeeding at work and I know that transfers over into all aspects of his life. It also shows his commitment even when time are hard or you’re doing things you really don’t feel like doing. I wouldn’t have lasted more than 2 months at his job so how he’s survived, I’ll never really know but I sure am impressed! (And definitely look forward to him working a job that does not have these long stressful hours.)

He’s also very funny in a creative way. He does impersonations and bits of fictional characters. He’ll use props around the house to add in on the fun. We also both like stand up comedy (kinda how we met) and I have a lot of fun incorporating comedy lines into our day to day conversations.

I’m a very anxious person and can get flustered easily but Boyfriend helps me not take life too seriously. He slows down my panicked pacing, letting me actually enjoy my surrounds and take a breathe. I’m always afraid of the rules, never wanting to get in trouble while he considers any deviation from the approved path a fun adventure.

If i’m upset he’ll try to call or even come over and see me in person so he can soothe away whatever is troubling me. If he’s already with me when I’m sad or frustrated, he knows to try to wait for me to talk it out or to distract me with light conversation. He handles my mood with just ease and I’m lucky he doesn’t seem to mind.

So there you have it, my boyfriend is the best and you poor suckers are missing out haha.

What’s Better the Spark of New Love or the Slow Burn of an Old One?

As I’ve been on the dating scene for a few years, I’m inclined to think I know a thing or two about short term relationships. But seeing as my current relationship is my longest, I needed to call on some friends who have been in multi-year long relationships to get some true insights on that slow burn. And here’s what I learned:

If you’ve been together for multiple years you’ve probably experienced some major life events from birthdays to funerals and new chapters of your life such as graduations and job changes. We change and grow over the years and it’s important the relationship grows as well. You go through struggles and celebrations together strengthening your bond.

Common issues in short term relationships like self doubt and self consciousness fade out. All shared experiences and trust over the years have made jealousy a thing of the past. Any girl can go up to your man, you’re confident in your relationship and you know she’s just wasting her time. Your man loves every weird inch of you, and trust me, by now he has seen it all! There’s no hiding anymore, he’s experienced every one of your odd behaves and they didn’t scare him off! You’re more relaxed and secure in your long term relationship now.

Being committed to someone for multiple years gives you faith in love and hope in the future. Being able to depend on someone for anything that life throws at you makes you confident in yourself that you can handle all of life’s ups and down.

I, personally, have never been able to date someone if I didn’t see a future with them. So being with someone for many years makes it more certain that they could be a life long partner. Life doesn’t really give you a lot of guarantees but knowing that you’ll always have this person beside you could ease some stress. Making future plans with this person could be exciting to think about and plan for.

This leads us right into cons of long term dating though since having to factor someone else into your future means less freedom. You can’t just take that job a few states over, you have your significant other and their career to consider as well. You can’t just buy that new car if you wanted, you have to talk to your significant other about future housing and other expenses. You’re not just looking after yourself now.

The other side of the coin of having someone there for you always, means that you can become dependent on them. All that confidence you had suddenly evaporates when you have to do something by yourself. For example, I have social anxiety and get very anxious having to shop for groceries. I’ve now gone to the grocery store with my boyfriend a few times and that anxiety has really receded (granted probably because my focus is now concentrating on not yelling at my boyfriend for walking too slow but that’s besides the point). Now if I go to the grocery store by myself will I be pushed right back into that same anxiety or will the positive shopping experiences healed that issue for me? Will I be dependent to only go shopping with my boyfriend?
I’ve heard from lots of long term couples that they don’t think they could handle modern dating now. Dating apps seem shallow and hopeless and finding a new partner would be a difficult journey. This could make someone feel trapped in their long term relationship, like they’ll never find someone else to love them as much again.

They have forgotten that the beginning of every relationship is new and exciting! You’re thinking of all the endless possibilities and early love gives you hope for the future. The beginning is still fun and light. There’s no need to dive right off the deep end into tough situations and deep insecurities. For now you’re both showing your best selves and seeing if it’s worth the risk to be vulnerable and show the rough sides too.

In the beginning, every new conversation, date, and touch gives you butterflies. And you still get to keep your freedom too as you two dance around each other, give one another space and not trying to seem too desperate for the next date.

On the other hand, the dating world creates a revolving door of people in your life and the lack of stability and support can make a person feel lonely. This could also make you feel hopeless that love will never work out for you. You begin to think something is wrong with you, afraid to show your true self because you’re not sure what might makes them leave. You meet new people that you have fun with but you haven’t met the person you can be sad with.

Sure, a new spark will catch your eye and make you wonder, but it’s the slow burn that will keep you warm through a cold, dark night.

What’s it like Blogging about a Current Relationship You’re in?

Some people might think it’s kinda weird to tell a bunch of strangers your inner thoughts on such an intimate relationship. Others might be more open minded. I think in a lot of ways blogging helps my relationship. I’m able to sort out feelings, become self aware as I continue to reflect, and I think it helps keep the relationship honest.

What I mean by keeping the relationship honest is that we can’t really sweep issues under the rug when I’m analyzing them, debating various outcomes, and asking for advice on here. Boyfriend then, of course, reads these articles and depending on the situation perhaps learns where I’m coming from and any hidden anxieties that are contributing to an issue.

I may also be able to work out some personal hang ups by writing them out and saving us from a future disagreement. It’s important to be self aware and know what topics you’re sensitive about. I might be able to discover the true reason why I’m upset about something whether it’s because I was hurt before in a similar way or I was just deflecting  because I didn’t want to face the true issue (i.e. being mad at your girlfriend for always being late but you’re actually upset that she doesn’t value your time/effort).

It allows him insights he might normally not find in positive situations as well. It allows me to express my appreciation for him since I usually have a hard time verbalizing my thoughts. (I think I get romantic brownie points but let’s be honest, after the 30th poem I think the shine wears off) He may also learn things that help to ease his worries as well, ones that he might have been too nervous to tell me about or just have yet come up in the relationship.

Blogging about my current relationship is kind of like having a free relationship counselor.

Are Crazy Exes a Myth?

Now I’m not saying that crazy exes don’t exist, because they totally do. I’m just saying you need to acknowledge the role you play when it comes to stirring the crazy.

For example, Stubborn drove me crazy. Just like anyone would go crazy by being tempted by the thing you so desperately want just out of reach. Your thoughts can go crazy wondering what he’s doing and thinking, reading into all words and actions, and craving the attention that runs hot and cold. The uncertainty would put anyone on edge, you don’t feel safe when you’re surrounded by all this doubt.

Of course, maybe she’s just insecure and you haven’t done anything to make her question your trust. Yet she still acts ‘crazy’ and you wonder how you yet again have ended up with a crazy ex. I’m sure all your exes are bitchy and insecure, the question is why do you keep picking these girls? Do you want to fix these girls? Are you self sabotaging because you’re not ready for a relationship?

Lastly, love is crazy. The chemicals released in your brain for love are strikingly similar to some mental illnesses. So even a chemically well-balanced individual may experience some out-of-character thoughts and behaviors while in a relationship. You’re a strong independent woman who don’t need no man! And yet… just one day without your significant other makes you ache with need and you wonder how you let yourself lose this much control!

So I’m just saying, yes, your ex might be crazy but did you make her that way?

Dating Expectations (The Learning Curve)

For those well versed in dating apps and the modern dating world, you probably are familiar with how much expectations can mess with a date. I went on many first dates but second dates were few and far in between. And when I did agree to a second date with a decent guy and good conversation, it usually tanked horribly! How was that even possible?!

Well when you go on so many terrible first dates, you start to think they’ll all suck (because they do). And then you finally have one kinda decent one and in comparison it seems amazing! Then you get your hopes up that you finally found a decent guy and your excitement for the second date and potential for more plays a huge factor in why they so often fail. At the end of our second date, the boyfriend and I both admitted to being extremely worried the date was going to go terribly because we’ve both experienced it so often in the current dating world.

Luckily that second date went well and our relationship blossomed, but this is still my first relationship. I was learning how often couples text and hang out. When the right time is to introduce your significant other to family and friends. I was experiencing the learning curve of being in a relationship!

But perhaps my lack of relationship experience is helpful when it comes to expectations. When you’ve been in relationships before you might think you know how it will all play out but certain behavior that your ex was okay with may make your current significant other uncomfortable. You need to learn your new SO’s communication style. Do they not like texting? Do they walk away during an argument? You’re also learning what makes her happy and what topics/situations stress him out. Everyone is different making every relationship different. And having expectations can sometimes make that hard.

 

Dating App Run Through

Tinder – probably got its fame by becoming notoriously known as the Hook Up App. No reason to spend time writing up a bio or putting up more than one picture, minimally effort required to Netflix and Chill. People also use Tinder as an ego boost, racking up as many matches as possible without ever messaging anyone. A game to pass the time, a swiping addiction that’s hard to stop even after you’ve found the one you want to exclusively date.

Bumble – Is like Tinder in the regard that there’s a short area for a bio and it’s the swiping game. The main different is that the girl has to be the one to make first contact. Some guys AND girls have issues with this because society says men should be making the first move and pursuing the woman. If your fragile ego is bothered by this then just stick to Tinder. The other difference from Tinder is the time limits. The girl has 24 hours to make initial contact and after that, the guy has an additional 24 hours to make that first response and establish a connection. I enjoy this because it forces acknowledgement. You don’t have to wonder if they’ll message you or if they even saw the message. The rule is simple, you snooze you lose. My one issue with Bumble is that I do wish it included ‘last active time’ because I know there are profiles that have not been touched in months and yet they still get in rotation. If you haven’t been on your active account in 2-3 months then it should be deactivated. Bumble also stands out because you can send picture messages which is not always the case with other dating apps.

OKCupid – I have given the nickname ‘Build-A-Boyfriend’ to OKC because it allows you to create criteria when searching for matches such as education level, body type, ethnicity, drinking/smoking preference, and ‘what you’re looking for’ (i.e. friends, long-term dating, casual). OKC is also very in-depth by asking prompt questions such as ‘self summary’, ‘what I’m doing with my life’, ‘favorite books, music, movies, food’ and survey type questions to help you match people with similar answers.. This allows you to really get to know a person and understand if you’re both looking for the same things. It also has a lot of added features that you can paid for with a monthly subscription. I also like that OKC has a website page as well as the app which both Tinder and Bumble do not.

Plenty Of Fish – has a lot of similarities to OKC like body type, ethnicity, and religion as well as creating a decent bio with an ‘about me’ and ‘activities’ section. POF also has a website but I strongly prefer OKC to POF and I believe it has to do with the landing page and the systems just seeming so out of date. I feel like my laptop should have a dial-up when I visit that site. I’ve heard plenty of relationship success stories through Tinder and OKC where as I’ve never even heard of anyone meeting up on POF but maybe it was more popular back when it started in 2003.

Match – is another old landing page. I know Match’s demographic leans older but the website could really use an update. The reasons I tried Match was in part because of those new commercials that seem to be targeting a younger demographic. I was curious to see if the marketing had worked and since you have to pay for Match I figured more people seriously looking for a relationship would gravitate there. The Marketing Campaign does not seem to be have much of an effect on the membership age so far since there is still a limited amount of 20 somethings aged profiles. Even if I was 20 years older, I would not be impressed by Match.

Coffee Meets Bagel- is unique because it severely limits the amount of profiles you can view in a day. They will either pick out a ‘bagel’ for you daily or allow you to browse 10 profiles and pick one for that day. This forces you to take each profile more seriously instead of mindlessly swiping for hours. Something CMB used to do but has since gotten rid of was getting feedback from you whenever you ‘passed’ on your potential match for that day. The other odd thing about CMB is that connections only stay open for a week and thereby the app forces you to forfeit the communication or move on to another messaging app. Although CMB is an app only dating space like Tinder and Bumble, it encourages more in-depth bios by including height, religion, self summary, likes and hobbies, and what you’re looking for in a date.

Hinge- is oddly exclusive as the app could only be downloaded if you have an iPhone until now with the launch of the app for Android users. Hinge has you log in via your Facebook so that they can access your friends network and start matching you with friends of friends. I think this paired with the fact that you’re only given 15 or so matches a day ups the chances of finding someone looking for an actual relationship. If you’re just looking for random hook ups you probably don’t want it to be someone you could run into later at a friend’s BBQ nor would you want to limit your ‘hey you up’ text to only 15 people. A downfall though has perhaps been the limit of users because with over 600 Facebook friends, I regularly pass the same profiles every week and began visiting the app less and less.