I’ve been thinking more about marinating and why I struggle with it. I think it is because I like to know where I stand.
I think back to when I was on the job market. That was a crazy-making experience, filled with massive amounts of insecurity, anxiety, and self-doubt. I did not land my position for Fall 2014 until April 2014. I had to send out many, many applications and materials to get to my position. I consider myself fortunate that I ultimately landed in a place with excellent colleagues and I feel wanted here. Even before I completed the interview process, I knew how much they wanted me. It felt good. And I still feel supported. If I do my part, I know I will get tenure because my university hired me wanting me to ultimately get tenured.
Doing the “small talk” on Tinder with guys is, in essence, like submitting my CV, seeing if I get past the first round. Granted, I would prefer that this small talk take place in person as opposed to in messages, especially if it is the same old what do you do for a living, where do you live, how many classes do you teach, what do you teach, do you do research, etc. It can get really awkward, too:
I can tell if I actually like a guy if we can get a good repartee going. For instance, tonight a guy and I went back and forth about Donald Trump, upping the ante in terms of ridiculous declarations. It was great! (Note: It was not the guy above).
It is those sorts of organic interactions I enjoy and have no problems with. I can let those unfold.
I’m talking about after that, when I’ve gone and caught feelings. Not necessarily deep feelings, but feelings nevertheless. It’s not like I catch feelings about every guy I’ve been on a date with or any guy who has been nice to me. Despite some appearances, I’m not that brand of crazy.
I’m told men “catch feelings,” but this is the other thing that leads me to feel so… uncertain. I don’t know if/when a guy has caught feelings for me. That lack of standing, rather than leading me to have more fun and games as I suppose other, less neurotic people do, leads me to want to: a) try and make myself more appealing in some way; b) lay on my “I like you” pressure really thick in hopes of reciprocation; or c) cut to the chase to figure out where something is going.
Obviously, none of those things work. At all. Ever.
Combine my debating whether or not he has “caught feelings” with my knowledge on gender roles and dating practices, advice columns I’ve read, things my friends have said, socialization of how women are meant to behave, feminist responses to said socialization, a healthy dose of personal insecurity, and (though I’m ashamed to admit this because I know it is fake) a rare glance at astrological compatibility… and you get why I overthink things and struggle with just letting things fucking be.
I need to just trust that when the right guy comes along, things will fall into place on their own like they did with my job. I will feel wanted.
My friend was asking me how my new-ish situation was going and I mentioned how I am leery of sending too many messages. She told me to not overthink it so much because he should like and want to hear from me.
It shouldn’t be this hard. Dating, unlike seeking a career in academia, shouldn’t feel like the culmination of everything I’ve worked toward at this point in my life. Also, there is more of an even playing field in dating, in that he is not coming to the scene already otherwise “employed” (hopefully!).
I need to give myself permission to let a man fall in love with and want me. We don’t have to be in the same state of feelings catching at the same time and it does not do any good at all to try to force it. Maybe it won’t happen at all.
I honestly don’t have high hopes for my new-ish situation. I feel myself starting to do options a and b. I sense him trying to politely push away in response. I don’t think he’ll get to the place where he actually desires to hear from me, especially as he has yet to initiate conversation. Those are my overwrought thoughts as of right now anyway.