a work in progress

painfully awkward dating

{I was a little too nervous to put the picture I wanted to use on this page…but it might be on the 29 / 92 Instagram}

For me, 2016 has been a year of dating. It’s been largely unsuccessful dating, but dating, nonetheless. I didn’t introduce this major social element into my day-to-day life because my pain improved, but rather in spite of the fact that it did not. With this addition have come some lessons which I am so generously outlining below. Take them either as a guide of what to do, what not to do, or just a reason back and think “Wow, I am so happy I am in a stable relationship and don’t have to deal with this nonsense.”

Issue : Doing things, Solution : Don’t do things

As much as I want to say yes to every lunch date, movie, and post-work cocktail hour, it’s a bad idea. I have to be realistic about my abilities and required recovery times. When I’m living in an I-don’t-have-chronic-pain fantasy world is when things start to crumble a little bit. So I’ve had to block out entire weekends – telling him I was, unfortunately, going to be completely unavailable. Was every moment scheduled? No. Could I have squeezed in something? Absolutely. But I was thrilled when the unscheduled time finally came around so that I could do exactly what my body needed, and I was better off for it. And let’s be honest :  once my pain gets to a certain point I become a slightly more difficult person to be around. It’s better to wait until you’ve known someone at least a month to let them see your true colors.

Issue : Saying no too often, Solution : Show interest in other ways

The biggest problem with the above is that you can come off as uninterested, particularly in the beginning. To make up for this I do two things. First, I might have said I can’t hang out, but that doesn’t mean I can’t check in and see how his day is going. Sending a text when the other person knows you have other responsibilities conveys that you’re thinking of them even when they aren’t around. The second thing I do is propose a new activity when I say no to something else. For example : “No, I can’t watch football with you on Sunday, but what do you think about having dinner on Wednesday?”*

Issue : Not being able to do certain things, Solution : Give and take

This one is tough. At the beginning of a relationship, I’m talking about dates number one through three, it’s not necessarily a good idea to say “Oh I can’t do that. I have chronic pain, and walking around for more than twenty minutes is out of the question.” That’s a surefire way to get the person to run in the opposite direction. But you also want to be flexible, honest, and participate in activities that are going to allow you to get to know one another. The only solution I have for this involves having a firm understanding what you can and cannot handle. Stick to your guns when he proposes an activity you should not / cannot do, and if something a little iffy is on the agenda, rest up and go for it. Then schedule plenty of downtime for after. In the formative days of a relationship I’m willing to go through a little extra discomfort. This isn’t necessarily true for a first date {because that can be a complete bust and it’s never worth it to put yourself in a shaky situation for a person who isn’t going to work out}, but rather that period when things seem to be headed in a good direction and you’re trying to figure each other out.

Issue : Shirking all other responsibilities, Solution : Accept the fact that some things are simply going to go undone 

I have a hard enough time keeping up with all the typical adult activities i.e. doing the laundry, earning my paycheck, and keeping the dog happy. Throw in an additional variable {like a major bump in my social life} and something has to give. That something is usually the housework. It’s really the only thing I’m able or willing to let slide…to a certain extent. I’ll let that pile of clean towels sit unfolded for a day or so. I’ll pick up takeout one night if it means I can sit on my butt and watch Netflix instead of devote time to grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning the kitchen. Every single activity has a price, and it’s usually just a matter of figuring out your tolerance.

So, just to be clear, while I am doing some dating things are a far, far cry from a Sex in the City episode…and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. For a while dating not only seemed outside the realm of possibilities, but I didn’t even know how to even go about it anymore. Then I convinced myself I didn’t care about attempting a relationship at all, and that was not only a lie but also a bummer. There’s been a serious learning curve, and I know I still have a lot to figure out, but I’m trying. And that better count for something!

 


 

*This paragraph is cracking me up…it’s like I think I’m that Dear Alice lady or something. Is that what the advice column is called? Dear Alice? Or is it Betty?? Either way, this post is getting ridiculous.

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