You guys, I met a guy. Like one I actually like and am attracted to and who seems like a really good human. And just when I had perfected my dating apocalypse outfit and its accompanying survival tools (aka accessories). Here I am in that uncomfortable in-between, not yet ready to have the DTR “will-you-be-my-boyfriend” conversation even though I’m pretty sure that’s what I want.
So, It's Been a While...
And between you and me, it’s been a second (translation: about five years) since I was in a committed relationship. Because of pride, I feel obliged to clarify that for three of those years, I was practicing self-imposed celibacy at a Zen monastery. And yes, I totally still have dirty monk fantasies, thank you for asking. Besides a weird kink that, so far as I’ve seen, doesn’t yet exist in any niche dating capacity, I’m not sure what that whole sex- and relationship-free period afforded me.
So now I'm writing this post and wondering, what did I actually learn about myself? Here goes my best attempt at distilling the wisdom of a horny monk (hey, pretty good name for a memoir, ammirite??):
Before the DTR Convo
First, I learned what it’s like to be my own boyfriend. Before you have the DTR convo, this is something I'd suggest you try. I guess some people are naturally emotionally healthy and boundaried and just know how to be in a relationship without losing themselves. Good for you, healthy, normal people![note]This exclamation has been italicized to draw your attention to its tone, which I’ve intended to be sarcastic in nature. I can’t believe you read this footnote! If it weren’t so inappropriate, I might make a comment about your attention to detail and capacity for follow through. And what that might say about your potential skill as a lover.[/note] For me, learning how to act like one of those people took a lot of internal work, and the bulk of it had to do with deriving self-esteem from my own attitudes and actions rather than from another human being. *vomits a little in mouth and swallows it*
Second, I started to see what it’s like to just be open-minded about who I’m meeting. It’s easy for me to obsess about how I’m coming across to the person I’m interested in, but it turns out I have a much better time when I’m just present with someone else and curious in what’s going on for them.
Which brings me to my third and final point: having fun. When I feel good about who I am and I’m not trying to get something from another person, the result is usually that I can actually enjoy myself. Let me say that when someone else is all, “just relax and have a good time!” I want to stab them in the throat with a pen or something. But seriously, maybe dating doesn’t have to be such a big deal? (Please note my dramatic hypocrisy here).
Thanks for helping me process, guys. You're way cheaper than a therapist. I guess I'll just try to follow my own impossible suggestions pre DTR convo. We'll see what the universe has in store. I am hoping it involves some naughty monks roleplaying. You say sacrilegious, but maybe you actually mean sacrilicious? ;)