I’m Not Meant To Follow Dating Rules, And I’m Not Sorry

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Screw dating rules.

We follow rules in every other aspect of life – we shouldn’t have to when it comes to dating, yet we feel pressured to.  I know I do at least. I have spent the past week in such a state of frustration, confusion, anger, and hurt because I broke supposed “rules” about dating.

But here’s the thing – none (or at least a minimal amount) of those emotions are directed at the person who “hurt” me. They’re directed at myself. I’ve been chastising myself, wondering what I could have or should have done differently to avoid my current situation.

Should I have texted him less? Should I have held back how I was feeling since it was so much, so soon? Should I have put my foot down about meeting each other’s families so quickly? Should I have played hard to get? Should I have forced myself to sound happy even when I was having an awful day? Should I have acted like someone who is good at taking things slowly?

In simple terms, should I have pretended to be someone I’m not?

The answer is no. If two people enter a relationship so carefully, so calculatedly, picking and choosing which parts of themselves to show and which to hide, what hope does that relationship have in the future? Undoubtedly all the good, bad and ugly will come out anyway.

I used to think I was cautious when it came to relationships, but in the past few months, after beginning and ending several “relationships,”  I have come to a realization – I jump head-first, hurtling toward the finish line, miles ahead of the other person. Do I know this is dangerous? Yes. Do I worry about being hurt? Yes. Do I do it anyway? Hell yes.

And the reason for that is because it is who I am. I feel emotional highs and lows on such an escalated scale in comparison to other people. Either that, or others are better at hiding what they are feeling. Regardless, I’m done feeling ashamed of the fact that I care about people so easily, that I tend to be vulnerable. It makes certain situations more difficult, but it can also make them better.

I had a long conversation with a good friend and he made a solid point. He said, “Beth, you have a big heart and you care. A lot. If someone can’t appreciate that, then they aren’t the right person for you. If your lows with him weren’t so low, your highs wouldn’t have been so high.” And he is right. I know that not everyone can keep up with the pace I set in a relationship, and that’s okay. Most people aren’t that reckless, but I’d rather be reckless than hide my heart.

That being said, I still respect the other kind of people, the kind who need to take a relationship at a slower pace. I just can’t quite navigate a relationship with them, especially after jumping in. I struggle to slam on the brakes and back up. I feel like someone I’m not. I take it personally.

But here’s the thing – it isn’t about me. It’s about them. It’s about their feelings, their doubts, their past relationships, their wishes. The truth is that who I am would have eventually collided with who they are, so why not sooner rather than later?

There isn’t something I should have done differently. This isn’t because I texted him twice in a row one time. It isn’t because I cried on the phone one night. It isn’t because my eyes held his gaze a little too long, communicating the feelings I was afraid to voice. It isn’t because I told him I missed him. It’s not about me.

Do I want this to be over? No. Not even a little bit.

Do I want him to miss me? Of course.

Do I want him to be able to keep pace with me? Yes.

But am I going to change who I am in order to make that happen? No. I can’t. This is who I am.

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