The Dating Game: A Land of Limbo


‘I’m not ready for this’, ‘I don’t want to commit’, ‘I don’t want to be a dick but…’ OH please. Does this sound all too familiar to you?!

Dating is a funny, fickle and quite frankly fucked up game; inherently laden with its own set of rules, politics and etiquette. It’s a transitional period, a time for discovering whether or not two souls are compatible in body and in mind: it’s a period of excitement, adrenaline, face-splitting smiling, butterflies, sleepless nights in the strange arms of a strange man who you’ve suddenly found yourself content to intimately spoon with on a regular occasion. Being in the thralls of  ’honeymoon’ dating, you find a few months flying by at incomprehensible speed – with the days merging into one another as you wait in anticipation for your next organised ‘hang out’ session. Everything seems brighter, the sky seems bluer and you suddenly feel sexier than you’ve felt in a long time. It’s great. BUT it’s a temporary state, one that cannot last, realistically, more than a few months. Feelings get involved, attachment – whether it’s superficial lust, oxytocin-induced infatuation or the deep shit – either way spending constant time with someone and engaging with them regularly in different areas of their life is bound to cause stirrings.

You tell yourself it’s chilled, that it’s cool – you play down your expectations to your friends, your family and yourself but that not-so-subtle smile plastered brashly across your face, that post-sex glow, the cheeky blush in your cheeks and energetic skip in your step ain’t fooling anyone girl. You’re in trouble. You’ve been seduced into the Land of Limbo, and that’s a precarious, unstable and ultimately goddamned dangerous place to be. It can only go two ways and you don’t have time on your side to decide; before you know it you have found the tummy bubbling excitement starting to be replaced by an disconcerting anxiety you can’t quite pinpoint: ‘where is this going?!’ you ask yourself. ‘It doesn’t matter! Live for the present!!!’ You hopelessly try to reassure. ‘But why hasn’t he text me all day?!’ You despair. ‘Don’t be such a psycho- he’s busy!’ But you know, you can feel it, the dreaded ‘talk’ is looming and there’s no way you can avoid it.

Once the seed of doubt has been planted you can do nothing but face it head on and ask him ‘What is this?!’ And maybe you already know deep down what it is, and that’s why you don’t want to ask. Or maybe you would prefer to carry on in sweet oblivion, but it’s futile, trust me. Once you start thinking where it might be going there’s no way to just carry on going how you are. He’s either in it or he’s not, and if he’s not then you gotta run. Your time, energy and emotions are valuable things and it’s VITAL you choose how you spend them well. As much as you may tell yourself going along with something that you know fine well isn’t going anywhere is, well, fine – whether you may think you want it to or not and whether that’s due to time constraints, emotional unavailability or a serious case of committaphobia – you’ve got to really think how much it is worth it for you to carry on blindly, hopefully and, I hate to say it, foolishly. You’re worth so much more than that. If you feel your emotional integrity and your self-worth are being compromised in a game of uncertainty that shifts temperature between hot, cold and lukewarm, then you have GOT to acknowledge the danger signs of emotional unavailability and remove yourself from the situation.

Someone should want to be with you 100%, even if that 100% doesn’t immediately come with a guarantee of longevity. If someone isn’t in it with two feet, are just content to dabble their foot in the pool when they feel like it then you are missing a crucial thing that should be part of any intimate relationship, official or not, and that’s consistency. I’m not saying they need to be ready to dive into the deep end straight away, but they have at least got to be fully immersed in the shallow end. And I’m not saying that consistency necessarily means you need to be texting constantly, but you need to be comfortable in yourself amidst your times of non-communication that the situation is stable and constant and if you’re not then something is wrong, and you gotta figure that shit out. Why are you feeling insecure? Have you put expectations on this guy that are unfounded? What do you want from this situation? Can you even talk about it with him?! And if you can’t then you’ve got to get yourself to a point where you can. Be clear, be honest and be truthful in your expectations. If they don’t match his then talk about it, try figure it out but never be someone’s emotional doormat.

Everyone’s confused, everyone has their own emotional baggage to deal with, but if you are grown up enough to engage in a one-on-one intimate relationship with another person, consistently, then you should sure as hell be grown up enough to discuss with them your insecurities and issues.

If you feel you are bruised from a previous relationship and not ready to commit then simply DO NOT put yourself out there under a facade of emotional availability for someone to come along and fall into. It’s just not fair. Casual sex and hookups are all fine and well but to actively pursue someone knowing you aren’t able to offer anything, even potentially, is not right. So boys, for crying out loud, save us both the hassle and sort yourself out before you ask me on that drinks date please?!