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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Non-Dating Dude

For one year of graduate school, I had a very intense emotional and spiritual relationship when I Kissed Dating Goodbye. We spent every weekend, all weekend together. We went for coffee, out to dinner, took classes together, went hiking together, spent days of randomness together, went to church together, led worship together...but we weren't dating. HUH?? Everyone thought we were lying.

It happened in everyone's full view at the School of Music. They saw us walking and talking together. They saw us flirting. I would sit next to him during football games while he played with the band. We discussed spiritual topics over coffee and did homework together. He played guitar for me and sang to me. His ex-girlfriend accused him of breaking up with her to date me. He told everyone that "we met on an elevator." Sometimes he would look at me, say, "Cute as a button" and touched my nose.

We almost kissed once. He gave me a lingering hug goodnight. He placed his hands on the wall around me and leaned closer. I looked down and away though we stayed inches apart. The funny thing about that moment not going anywhere was that he had thrush on his tongue--that's a yeast infection in your mouth. So, I wasn't too eager to kiss him, but we cared about each other very deeply, and that was a very intimate moment. He was everything a boyfriend should be. He called me all the time, we would meet for lunch and dinner on campus. People saw us together all the time. He drove an hour to hear me sing. We put together a trio where I sang and he played his instrument. I met his family and stayed the night there.

Never mind that he was enraptured with I Kissed Dating Goodbye and didn't see us getting married. He had admitted that if he was older than me as opposed to a few years younger, I was exactly what he was looking for.

In the midst of that, a girl who had never had a boyfriend, accused him of leading her on. She had a lot of health problems. He put him arm around her as they walked down the hall as a friendly gesture. To her, it was the whole world. Even I thought her accusation went too far. But there were those who took her side. Guys don't do that usually if they don't like you like that way. Though in European culture it is common to kiss people on both cheeks in greeting.

For allegedly not dating, our breakup was really bad. He went away for the summer and didn't contact me at all. It was very difficult for me. When he came back he declared that what we had been doing was wrong and he didn't feel like we should spend so much time together and called it our sin. Ironically, I just found those letters today--along with the cute little ecards he had sent me.

People were confused and asked me what was going on. His roommates thought I was making things up, even though they had seen us spend time together. He took me hiking for my birthday and we had fallen asleep on opposite ends of the couch. Others thought we had been lying about us being "just friends" when they had seen evidence of a strong spiritual and emotional relationship. He said, "If you really like me, just think how much more awesome the guy for you is going to be. I just don't think it's me." Where is that guy? Bass said the same thing really. "I can't be the only guy. You're really sexy and sweet. You won't be alone for long." Really? So how come I'm still alone?

His friends didn't get what it was really like until he met a girl the next summer at the same summer camp where he worked the summer before. He called and texted her throughout the day. He neglected his studies and texted her during class. When my informant from the school of music told me about this, I said, "Imagine even if he did a 3rd of that." He replied, "Wow. Now I get it." I hadn't dated or kissed anyone in three years, except for him--which hardly counts. Before that I didn't date anyone between my ex-fiance and a relationship with a much-older man. When I hit New York, I didn't date much either, but felt like I had to try. I'm still in that mode today.

It may seem to some that I'm looking for love in some wrong places, but I've been going out on dates with people and getting to know them. That's what dating is for. I'm making mistakes now that my cousins made in college. I choose who I go out with and who I kiss for reasons I determine at that time. I'd rather have some trial and error than sit at home and knit. Besides it's hard to find a guy in his 30s or 40s who doesn't have some baggage. Guys in the their 20s are busy working on their careers--at least it seems so. It takes time to suss out if it might be worth pursuing.

No one in my family quite understands how this could have been a relationship without kissing or us calling each other boyfriend or girlfriend. Therein lies the dilemma of being "special friends" or non-dating. It's something, you know it is. But people who haven't seen it or heard of it don't understand. I don't quite understand how I got myself into that mess. Today I would only spend that much time with a man if we are dating seriously and talking about getting engaged. I wonder when that will come for me. I've come so close to being with someone at the altar, so close to that special kind of commitment and yet it eludes me. And not just me, but so many of us. I don't appreciate the view that something is wrong with us because we are still single. Settling for a non-dating dude at this point is tantamount to torture. That's why I hate that book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Please read the reviews on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble. I know I'm not alone.

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http://ikdg.wordpress.com is it wisdom or foolishness?


single/certain said...

just because you don't call it dating, doesn't mean you're not dating. you and that guy were dating. taking the word away doesn't change anything. reminds me of me and seth... we hung out all the time. we were, for all intensive purposes, dating. we were connected emotionally and spiritually, spent a good chunk of time together, and most of our friends thought we were together.

in my experience, not a good thing. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Savvy,
I had a similar experience, and if it's possible it was even more vague than yours. He and I met at church in high school. I fell in love, he fell in love, but as is often the case, neither of us had ever had any experience dating. He was outgoing and extrovert, but unsure of himself with girls. I was unsure and much more introverted. Add to the fact that we fell in love, I mean, really in love, that kind of takes the wind out of your sails and elevates the whole situation to very serious status. Getting that emotionally involved before you've even had the first date really, really makes it hard to connect. He and I went on like this for 10 years. 10 YEARS. Coming in and out of each other's lives, admitting we cared for each other, then one of us running away. Trying to connect and it not working. However, we never dated. Never kissed. Never held hands. Never did any of that stuff. But I think he may have been the love of my life. I've never felt that way about anyone since. Oh, sure, someone may say, young love - everyone experiences that, but this was different. This was love that would last a lifetime. It had that much force behind it. I finally ended it in a letter when I was 27. He got married about 7 years later. I knew he was getting married, (I wasn't invited) and I saw the announcement in the paper. No picture of her. Strange, I thought. I'm curious to see what kind of woman he picked. Now I know the reason for that. About 3 or 4 years ago I googled him and there was an article and photo of her (his name is mentioned in the article, that's how it came up). OH MY GOD!!! She and I could pass for sisters. Not dead ringers, but definitely a very strong resemblance. Now I know why he never comes to gatherings, why he never comes to church anymore when he's in town, etc.
All this to tell you that I totally understand how you could have this situation.

SavvyD said...

Stinkadelic!! This should not have happened to ANY of us. I know it has happened to guys too! When you aren't dating at all I think it leaves you more vulnerable to situations like this and more naive to how things actually are.

How many anons do I have reading?? Some seem nice and some seem judgemental.

anurag said...

I m still confused!! rather bedazzled!!

how to find whether u r undergoin some dating or not...how to find wats goin inside a gal when she is vry introverted in nature and don't want to reveal her concerns n emotions ...i know its very complicated to understand a gal and her emotions...??

Amir Larijani said...

This is a perfect portrait of the damage that Joshua Harris--for all his good intentions--has done to Christian singles.

Of course, in a better-functioning church, some Christian men would have taken the initiative and told Mr. "We're not really dating" to "crap or get off the pot."

At some point, the guy has to make the call. Stringing a gal along--and creating the confusion over whether you're dating--is just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think that the intense emotional intimacy coupled with spending a lot of one on one time together in an intergender relationship (assuming heterosexual orientations) may be indicative of a relationship that is not healthy because boundaries between platonic and romantic have become blurred. I do have plenty of friends of both genders, but my male friends and I set clear spoken and unspoken boundaries on how much we disclose and how we spend our time together. Anonymous #1 got burned and it is very unfortunate that I, along with some other women have had very similiar experiences. I can say that my experience happened because I let this guy walk all over me because I was so anxious to earn his approval. If I have to be in a perpetual in between, ambiguous state suspended between platonic and romantic - then there is something wrong with the situation.

I think that we can go on ad nauseam about the apparent power differential between Christian men and Christian women and why so many Christian women apparently get left in the wings waiting. But I know that I have a choice on how I will handle the way I manage my intergender relationships, particularly with men I am attracted to. What consequence can come from just letting go and not caring about what these men think? People break up and get divorced because of hiding and lack of good communication. I'd rather lose an entire ambiguous relationship than to settle for something that is a substitute for a real one.

Anonymous said...

technically you were dating. the microsoft encarta dictionary says:the activity of going out regularly with somebody as a social or romantic partner. You were dating. email me at adoniere@ec.rr.com

SavvyD said...

Yes, to be sure, we were. I agree with you. I should have been keeping a blog back then and I would have avoided myself some confusion. :)

SWC said...

Ugh... I think that book made the already-difficult field of Christian dating even more difficult and dangerous. I hold that author responsible for so many failed Non-Relationships. Your Non-Dating-Guy story is so much worse than any of mine... :(

SavvyD said...

@SWC - I feel better, and somehow worse!