“Well, that’s not what I’m really asking you. I’m curious about whether you like him.”
The silence on the other end of the line, as I waited for my friend to respond to my question, was deafening
But, it usually is when someone is having a breakthrough moment. A moment in which their perspective shifts and that changing “ah-ha” energy is palpable.
I can’t tell you how many times a girlfriend, mentor, or coach has asked me a question that cut to my core, eliminating my “I’m okay” armor and had me seeing things, for the first time, clearly.
For me, having someone else point these things out always felt a bit shameful because they were able to see things that I wasn’t able to, making me think, “I should have been able to see that.” I know that’s just my ego talking, but still.
But now, here I was: the one pointing things out and asking the questions I knew would shake my friend to the core. And not just because it was about this one guy she was dating, but because it would shine a light on how she’d been showing up in all of her romantic relationships.
I know because I used to do the same thing when I was dating, and when I realized what she realized, I was ashamed of my behavior. After all, I was supposed to be more of a feminist and more confident than that.
So, I sat, listening to the still-present silence on the other end of the phone.
After a few minutes that felt like a few hours, I heard my friend take a big breath in and a big breath out.
She then uttered, “Oh. My. God. I actually don’t really like him. I’m just so desperate for him to like me, and I’m so tired of being alone that I couldn’t see it. I forgot to think about if I even like him. I can’t believe it.”
What transpired from this comment was a long, heartfelt, and honest conversation about the intricacies of modern dating and romance, and our triggers and wounds, which we all bring to the beginning of a new romantic relationship—or really any relationship.
Our conversation got me thinking.
How often do we lose ourselves in the beginning of a new romantic journey?
We’re excited to feel wanted, desired, and that we’re (finally) not alone. We await texts. We await calls. We anticipate every single date. And we play a dance. Being vulnerable, but not too vulnerable. Sharing, but not sharing too much. Being available, but not too available.
We don’t want to get hurt. We want our new romantic interest to remind us that we’re wanted. And the thought that they may not fully be committed or “in it” is a scary thing, and let’s be honest, it can make us feel, well, somewhat crazy, paranoid, and insecure.
But the thing is, we have to let our ego fall to the side, so we can ask ourselves the big question—do we actually like this new individual we’re getting to know, or are we caught up in the “goal” of being with someone…or our ego?
You see, I had to ask myself this question all of the time when I was dating. But, it’s a big question. So instead of asking it, I’d ask myself these things:
Is this person making me feel heard?
Are they making me feel like I matter when I’m around them, and more importantly, when I’m not around them?
Do I feel like they’re seeing me?
Asking these kinds of questions in the beginning of a new romantic relationship, instead of getting so caught up in where the other individual stands in the relationship, allows us to come back to and learn more about ourselves and our needs in an intimate relationship.
And it’s through these findings that we’re better able to express our truth and find partners that actually make us feel seen, heard, and like we matter.
Because we do matter. And as soon we realize that, we allow others in our lives to see that too.
Author: Corinne Dobbas
Image: Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis