• Optimistic Thom

The Biggest Mistake I Made While Casually Dating

Updated: May 15, 2020

As many people know, the dating life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Romantic comedies do a great job tricking us into thinking dating is carefree and dynamic, filled with laughter and never-awkward sex. The reality, however, involves basically the opposite.

While dating, you’re in an incredibly vulnerable spot in your life. Your self-esteem is consistently taking a beating, and your anxiety can skyrocket with a single risky text.

I know because I’ve been there. For about a year, I was a part of this dating scene, getting to know people over drinks, walks, and the occasional museum visit when I really wanted to look cultured. It was fun, but it for sure wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine.

During it all, the highs and the lows, I experienced the same reality many people go through. What was different, though, is how I talked about my situation with people close to me. Looking back, I can identify one thing I did (or rather didn’t do) that made this part of my life a lot harder than it ever should have been.

I stopped showing excitement about meeting someone new.

When something new is happening in my life, I naturally want to talk about it and I can recognize that I’m more on the extroverted side of the scale. Still, I believe everyone has this need to talk to a certain extent. The difference is, some people will only talk to the people they are closest to, while others will explain the ear off of anyone who will listen.

The common denominator between everyone, however, is when we meet someone new, we crave to talk about our excitement. We are happy, nervous, hesitant, and overthinking all at the same time. These aren’t precisely emotions that should be kept bottled up.

Dating is complicated, and everything complicated gets more comfortable when you talk it out. I stopped doing this, and it was the biggest mistake I made for my mental health at the time.

Why I Stopped Getting Excited

When I first started dating, I inevitably started showing excitement whenever I felt something click. When I expressed the excitement multiple times over the year, suddenly, people started labeling me.

It got to the point where every time I showed optimism, I was slapped with the same remarks.

“Who is it THIS time?”
“How long do you think this one will last?”
“Let’s check back in a week when you’re thinking straight.”

These remarks cut deep because it made me question what my intentions were as I thought I truly wanted something serious. These comments made me feel sleazy, categorizing me as some guy wanting to sleep around. I started to believe I had severe commitment issues even though deep down, I was ready for something real.

I then began to question a lot of things about myself, and it started snowballing out of control. I started doing everything I could to avoid being labeled by the people I knew. I shut myself off from talking about new relationships, forcing myself to stop getting excited about something new.

I’m not alone in all of this; many people out there want to avoid being labeled in the same way. Privatizing that part of your life, however, is such a detrimental thing you can do when it comes to navigating new relationships.

Why We Need to Show This Excitement

When you close yourself off from this excitement and ability to talk with people who want to listen, you lose clarity on the situation. Suddenly the only voice you have is the one inside your head, you know, the one consistently reminding you the three hundred ways your life can go wrong.

Not exactly a voice of reason.

Not only that, but you now don’t have a second opinion about anyone you’re seeing. Someone could be utterly wrong for you in every single way yet you’re ignoring the red flags in the pursuit of shallow companionship.

We’ve all been there, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your friends are there to help you identify these flags, and talking out new relationships can uncover issues and hidden assumptions we would never recognize.

At the end of it all, we are still making decisions about our own lives, but sometimes it’s just about getting outside your head. I mean, therapy exists for a reason; it’s so you can talk out your problems and find resolutions without overthinking them. The same logic applies when enthusiastically talking about relationships with friends who care to listen.

It is okay to be excited about someone new! Sure, it might not work, and you might have to deliver the unpleasant news as the cost of talking about it, but again, you aren’t alone in these experiences. Anyone who judges you for these highs and lows in your life frankly isn’t worth your time anyway.

Getting excited about a new relationship lets you talk about it genuinely, and can be the one thing anchoring you in this unpredictable time in your life. Embrace it as this part of your life won’t last forever.

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