Two red Rubbermaid coolers sit on top of an apartment counter. Red Solo cups decorate the surrounding area in the sloppiest way possible. Neon lights on either side of me set the fluorescent mood of a mid-June party flooded with college kids. Part of me comes to these parties primarily to hang out with my friends. The other half hopes I can find a woman to talk to who shares a fraction of my interests.
I look out into the stuffed crowd that piled into my friend’s living room. I’m of the party, but not at the party. Until I hear a girl discussing my favorite film with her friend.
The 180 degrees I spin into could have started a small residential tornado. There’s no way I found anyone locally that has seen, or has even heard of, my favorite film. I had to talk to this girl. Once I see her face and she confirms that she was talking about “Shame,” I become immediately attracted. There’s no way I let this girl go with asking her out. Just from that small piece of information alone, I know we are cut from the same cloth.
This is just one of many situations that has spawned in my elongated dating life. My mind doesn’t go to, “I would love to be friends with this girl,” the only thought that rushes through my mind is, “I must date this girl at any cost.”
We didn’t date, but I talk to her whenever I see her. Why didn’t we become friends? For me, it isn’t that easy. It isn’t because I only see a woman as a prize that I need to win, and if I only get the runner-up prize of a platonic relationship, I feel like a defeated man with a dent in his pride. My attraction, along with time and presence, will have me magnetized to almost all women I come across. I’m a hopeless romantic.
I do have women in my life who began as romantic or sexual endeavors that either didn’t work out or ran their course and now we keep in touch. I don’t have any close friends that are girls, but I have a few that I talk with. Time and presence could change my feelings on them so I naturally don’t choose to talk with them often.
Even women I don’t initially find attractive at first can work their way to becoming far more attractive than I ever imagined simply from being friends. Their flaws I previously saw become unique aspects that linger on me. As harsh as it sounds, my friends that are girls are typically ones that I don’t find attractive. They may be very attractive physically, there just may be an aspect of their personality that blocks my romantic field from opening up with them.
Women feel that way as well. If a man is upset that a woman doesn’t have romantic interest in them, it could be a various amount of things. Men complaining about the eye-rolling concept of the friend-zone are usually men that don’t make their intentions noticed until months down the road. They get upset and wonder why after months of showing no romantic or sexual interest that a woman doesn’t see them as a partner. They’ve simply seen the man as a friend because that was the only screen he was putting up for her.
Or they just don’t see you like that regardless. I try to make my intentions, whether they will hurt a woman’s feelings or not, known as soon as possible. Within the last few months, I’ve gone on dates with women that I wanted to date immediately because our connection was that great. They only wanted something casual. A weak or inexperienced single man will see that as being rejected, but won’t see a woman’s side of the story in each situation.
Sometimes things just drop out and if you let the rejection and the negative feelings linked to it control you, they will. That’s not to say that there won’t be times when rejection will flat out hurt. Even with someone you’ve only known for less than a week. I was recently drop dead enamored with a girl I met. She said off the rip that she wasn’t looking for anything serious. I was disappointed, but still excited to see where it was going.
We talked nonstop for over a week. We connected on things that I thought were impossible for my personality to ever click with another human being—let alone a woman I was attracted to. We went on one date that lasted over four hours, to the point where the coffee shop employees had to kick us out because they were closing. Pure overzealous joy filled me. This was it.
It wasn’t. I never talked to her again. I can only assume that me calling our get together a ‘date’ scared her away. Her first comment of a casual relationship never left my head, but our talks spoke a different language to me. It crushed me. Sometimes it will. Sometimes you can just brush it off, but sometimes rejection will strike your core. To the point where everything feels like your fault and you get absolutely fed up with putting yourself out there.
What if months later, this girl hits me up to say she’s sorry to have left me hanging and she’d like to be friends, but any type of relationship is too much for her right now?
I don’t know if I could. I would only agree to be friends to work back into her life to eventually date her. Once I’m emotionally and physically attracted to someone, it’s next to impossible to erase those feelings and try again. To try a take two where I can only look at her in a friendly manner instead of revealing my true emotions. To be utterly invested in her—inside and out. Sitting next to each other, being pulled towards her with attraction, but knowing you can’t do anything about it because the feeling isn’t mutual anymore.
Was I mad afterwards? No. I was frustrated that I felt something real fall through, but you can’t dictate another person’s attraction or free will. Regardless, it hurt. It made me recollect all of last year of failed relationships or anything that just faded away without ever starting. It made me rethink myself.
I talk in my first book about how my 21st birthday made me realize I needed to change myself. And I did. I feel the start of 2017 had a similar effect. I don’t feel I need to do a complete rebuild of myself like I did previously. But there starts to become a point where I’m questioning if my relationships aren’t working because I’m just having a bad hand at dating or I’m the card dealer with the problems.
This goes back to how a man should act in relationships or platonic relationships. Not every woman will find you attractive. Or see you as a partner. Just how I don’t see every woman in the same light. Men will tend to forget the times we get advanced upon by women we don’t see as attractive and how much that must hurt the opposite person. Yet we brush it off as a weird incident.
This will go without saying, but people don’t owe you anything. Women aren’t objects that you can put nice compliments and dates into and they spit out sex. Don’t be disingenuous with women. They will find out immediately. They can read you and know instantly if you believe in what you say. If you aren’t on the same page as a woman, tell them immediately. If you only see them as a casual partner and you think they are forming feelings for you, a talk must happen. Continuing with this type of relationship when you only want sex is a surefire way to get a very upset woman at the end of it. Don’t be scared to lose someone just because you don’t want to be upfront with them. She will respect you for being transparent, even if she doesn’t agree with how you do or don’t feel.
You will reach a point that feels like you can’t progress anymore. You’ve put yourself out there too much and got more sadness than happiness within a plethora of relationships of the opposite sex. You want to give up. It’s perfectly normal to have absence periods of romanticism. But you can’t stop putting yourself out there altogether.
You will always be let down in one aspect of your life or another. Not putting yourself out there because it hurts will only lead to the rest of the pillars of your life to crashing down upon you. If you rest on making yourself available, you may sleep on someone that can easily be loved by someone else that is trying.
Don’t lose sight of yourself. Don’t ever believe that positive aspects of your personality need to be changed to attract a certain type of woman. Those aspects make you different and will attract the right one down the road. Changing yourself to appeal to an image of a woman that you’ve developed in your head isn’t healthy. They are them and we are us. The idea of them shouldn’t be used as a clutch to save your status or get you out of a personal slump. There is a reason that a partner is also called a companion. They should be a part of your life, they should never be your reason for life.
Building towards yourself and not in the realm of doing it to attract someone. Women love a man that is unapologetically himself. Your life will always be more enjoyable if you do everything ideally for yourself without stepping on the toes of others to do so.