dating: I feel ill

so. I have not always selected my romantic partners with the utmost care– hell, I don’t know that I’ve actually so much selected them at all– more like closed my eyes and tumbled into whatever was right before me.

I’ve gone in for the headlong plunge time and again. and ended up involved with some guys whose priorities were way off from my own. so this time I’m trying to go about it differently. coached by my counsellor, I’ve recognized and owned that what I want, the bottom line, is a partner. and I posted a pretty comprehensive personals ad to this effect on craigslist (it was a good one, if I do say so myself) and have spent the last week fielding responses and meeting a couple of people. that is, two exactly. got several responses, immediately deleted several, did a couple of exchanges with a handful of others, and at this point two have materialized to the point of going out, one of them twice. these two are pretty great dating prospects, I think– our priorities are way more aligned than I’ve experienced in a really long time, heck maybe ever. I like both of these guys right off the bat quite a lot– and now I feel utterly sick about this whole process: dating, choosing.

I know I shouldn’t feel sick about this, it makes no logical sense– but I do, literally. evidently I’m having a really hard time making the process of getting romantically and physically involved more conscious and mindful. evidently I’m a bit of a junkie to the eyes-closed-forward-plunge approach. instead, now, this way, I have to be more present for and accountable to my decisions. it’s all much more substantively real as a consequence, the stakes higher.

truth be told, the collapse of my marriage eons and eons ago still somewhat plagues me. I do not ever ever ever want to find myself so utterly lost inside of a relationship, so confused and unrecognizable to myself and damaging to someone I love. taking the steps actually, actively, consciously to seek out a partner is terrifying to me.

ohmygod, I’m being very dramatickal and annoying, I know. I’m kind of embarrassed to write about this at all, but I need to process this. it’s cuckoo.

I owe myself the opportunity to be selective. I owe myself the time to gauge how I feel about a person before getting involved physically and having my judgment inevitably swayed by all the complicating that involvement sets in motion. I deserve to seek out the very best alignment of people that is available– and the other person deserves this, too– a sarah who is fully present and engaged and standing open-eyed with her decisions. this should not be something that makes me feel ill.

if you have some thoughts about why in the world this would feel so wrong and crazy-making, I would love to hear them.

possibly it’s a cognitive behavioral thing simply, breaking from the comfortable course of habit to a more difficult unaccustomed way of proceeding, that creates this feeling of “wrongness”.

it’s really kind of awful, though. these are lovely people. and conceivably there are even more lovely people sitting in my email inbox, and I’ve simply hit a point of overwhelm and can’t bear to pursue any more if two is already too many. I don’t trust my judgment, apparently– I question the validity of finding two people so appealing right off the bat– like, maybe I’m not being selective enough. at the same time, I don’t want to not choose either of these people, really dislike the thought of dismissing someone– I know this may sound greedy and gross– what it is is I struggle with boundaries, with saying “no” to people, with disappointing them.

jesus, I feel like a certifiable mess. but I swear– I don’t want to be alone forever, lord help me.

8 Replies to “dating: I feel ill”

  1. You are so NOT a mess. You are just considering these two people and their feelings and that makes it hard. That is what makes you a great potential partner for either and many more.You don't need to choose right away. Now is too early. Just be up front that you are not exclusive, take you time and continue to be open with what you want (this means open with yourself as well as with these men). I think this is a marvelous leap of faith in yourself. You are more than your past. We all are. We just don't always give ourselves a chance to prove it.Much happiness to you.

  2. oh, sweetheart. thank you. I just want to keep reading your words over and over again. god damn this feeling rushed feeling– I guess I can imagine where it comes from (not the potential partners), but it's really bad. you're right. I do not need to choose right away. there is nothing wrong with what I'm doing. simply remain clear with these people that right now I am dating non-exclusively in order to make wiser decisions– if anyone has trouble with that, then it wasn't right to begin with. just pisses me off that self-advocacy should be so bloody difficult. ugh. gr. :)

  3. I'm with Een. Just go out with them for a while. If they're really simpatico, they'll get it, and if they don't, they're not. After a couple weeks you'll settle down and things will be much more clear. There's lots and lots of time. And don't hide from that inbox, either – hey, you're a hot property!

  4. You won't be alone forever. Remember, however alone you feel you are still connected… And the fact that you've found 2 "possibles" in such a short time tells me that there are plenty of options out there for you. Don't rush it. The right thing will feel right.

  5. I'll "third" what Een said.Breathe. Be good to yourself. P.S. I am a "faller-inner" too. Once you figure out this rational dating thingy-majig, perhaps you could write a self-help book for the rest of us! ;)

  6. ohmygod, I'm being very dramatickal and annoying, I know.Or not. Look, none of your concerns strikes me as illogical, especially given your past experiences. (Though, who expects everyone to be rational all the time, anyway?) You felt unsure about something important and sought out reassurance; there's nothing wrong with that.if you have some thoughts about why in the world this would feel so wrong and crazy-making, I would love to hear them.One thought is, like most of us, you feel that falling in love shouldn't be so much work, that it should just happen. Maybe the idea of having to select someone to date is bothersome because you feel if you were to find the Perfect Partner, it would be blatantly obvious.Also, it may have to do with, as you've said, the fact they're lovely people and you don't want to disappoint anyone. Maybe, too, because it's so difficult to choose, to determine who is the loveliest of all. In this case, my advice would be seek the one around whom you feel most yourself. Even if the other is somehow more exciting, that's hardly worth (in the long term) having to pretend to be someone you're not.Don't despair. Even if this whole dating two guys at once thing turns into a complete disaster, you'll have learned something from it, to only court one person at a time. As kitty said, ending up with two good prospects in such a short time would suggest there are plenty of other options for you, even if neither of these works out.Good luck. We're all rooting for you.

  7. It'll be okay, even when it's not, eventually it will be. You're great…and anyone who doesn't see and appreciate that doesn't deserve your time.

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