Dating is foreign to me.
Hell, the whole concept of the female species is foreign to me. I’m clueless.
From as early an age as I can remember, I lacked the confidence to be a shameless womanizer. I possessed a shyness so detrimental to any sort of approach I made that I remained single for much of my young adult life.
I’ve only had two girlfriends; I’m currently on my second and, wow, time is flying by. She is, for all intents and purposes, the woman I’ve wanted and far beyond. She is the woman I’ve needed and will always need. When did that happen?
When, in my short life thus far, did I reach the point where I began dating with serious plans for the future? When did I find someone who I adore so much to where it’s not scary to think about?
As a high school bachelor for most of those four years, with way less freedom and nowhere near as lackadaisical as a standard bachelor, I never “dated around”. I never reached the phase of sloppily, drunkenly making out in a stranger’s house on a Friday night. I never got a black eye or my nose bloodied over a girl I would forget in a year. I was an anomaly; I was a jock who barely went to parties and barely talked to girls.
Of course, now I know there was nothing wrong with that, but back then I was lonely. I was so lonely and all I wanted was female accompaniment, but I had no clue how to go about finding it or where to begin to look.
It was embedded in my mind that college would be my saving grace.
I told myself, “In college all the girls will look for a guy like me. The quiet one with the brains and motivation. I’ll have to beat ’em back with a stick.”
Only I didn’t.
No girls were interested, and the handful I was interested in didn’t return the same sentiment. In a school contaminated with the “ring before spring” culture, I remained just as single as I always had been.
My mindset moved from “I’ll find the girl for me at college. All the educated girls want a life partner and I’m marriage material,” to “I’ll be single for a while.”
I dove in head first to that mindset, warping my opinion of relationships and life in general. I longed for any morsel of affection I could find from the opposite sex, but I would never commit. That hesitation was out of fear and out of acceptance disguised as contentment with being single.
This wasn’t detrimental to me, but to those who came into my line of not-so-friendly fire. Wanting to feel the intimacy of another human being without settling down or being exclusive was harmless in my mind, but I was blissfully ignorant of the path of destruction I was leaving behind me.
That was then, though. Somewhere along the way I grew up. I matured and learned that all those types of “relationships” were damaging to everyone involved. Unknown to me at the time, it was damning to me, too.
My image of a relationship was warped. I was never made aware of how a real relationship worked. My first girlfriend was manipulative, and to guard myself from her knife in my back, I would stab first, more silently and gently than her. I became a manipulative, selfish man, the exact opposite of who I was raised to be.
For so long, I kept it at the forefront of my mind that my first relationship would be my last and that I was dating for marriage. Even as young as sixteen with my first girlfriend that was my mindset. After her, though, I never gathered any moss. Nothing was ever physical, but emotional. I would invest time and effort towards learning about people, making them feel secure, and then leaving just before we ever became official or serious.
I had a need for attention, and when that was satisfied, I moved on to the next one. My mentality, embarrassed as I am to admit, was that the thrill of the chase was a greater experience than the catch. I was a predator, chasing my prey up until the moment I could sink my claws and fangs in, only to stop in my tracks and walk away.
Dating was never serious for me after my first girlfriend. I looked for it, but never allowed myself to be a part of a relationship.
Here I am now, though, nearly four years removed from my ex and in a serious relationship. Aubrie was so welcoming, with the brightest eyes and biggest smile, that she never allowed me to get my guard up. My defenses were shattered from the moment we met, and have remained so since.
When did this happen? When did I, the boy who could never commit, commit to a relationship? The moment I met her.
Dating is different now. It’s different at our age and it’s different after all the experiences I’ve gone through. We’re at an age now where we’re dating someone seriously to be with them for the rest of our lives. We don’t have time to waste beating around the bush. I’m well aware that even though I’m still young, I am growing older. My exteriors will fade, but my mind can stay sharp. Finding someone who appreciates and adores my mind along with my physical features made it easy to fall in love with her. But it’s not all just how she feels about me, but how I feel about her.
I’ve never been intimidated by a woman’s intellect and completely enamored with her beauty at the same time, but I am with Aubrie. I’ve never found it so easy to talk to a girl before. I’ve never even entertained the possibility of a girlfriend being a best friend, doing anything and everything together, but it’s all been so easy. She was the one that allowed me to keep my guard down and she showed me an entirely different world where I had refused to be a part of for so long. Now dating is real. This relationship is real and these feelings and emotions are real.
When did all this happen? The moment I met Aubrie.