Dating; not a series of picnics

Ah, dating, that awful, brilliant, awful thing…

I don’t ever want to be a heartbreaker. I’ve had my heart ‘broken’ (let’s say temporarily bruised/punched/squashed) a couple of times. It’s horrific to be on the other side of things, alternatively, and I have even taken breaks from dating in the past purely because I can’t deal with the guilt I’ve felt at being the one to turn someone else down (I know how I want to feel about the person I end up with, and I would rather not accept less). Feeling less for someone else than they feel for you is an awful feeling and communication of that fact is a delicate moment (and I know exactly how painful it is to be on the other side of it).

Then, after the dating sabbaticals, after it all feels a bit too traumatic, stressful and mean, I have snapped myself out of it, realising I need to be ruthless, learn something from the practical types in life and look out for my own interests (I want to find someone of my own, after all). All I’m looking for is one person. Apparently I have to kiss (or awkwardly hug) a lot of very pleasant frogs along the way.

But chemistry is that terribly inexplicable thing, almost entirely unrelated to appearance and can’t be predicted at all (I have felt the most chemistry with some quite unlikely candidates and had a long relationship with the most beautiful man despite later realising I didn’t particularly fancy him; one of the men who made me cry wasn’t aesthetically-wonderful, though the chemistry was through the roof).

What if you WANT to feel chemistry with someone, but it simply isn’t happening? The internet is full of forums thick with floundering self-despair where this question is discussed (and I know, because I’ve been trawling them recently for second-hand advice!). What happens when a man meets you for a drink, has almost everything in common with you, makes you laugh a bit; takes you out on a picnic on a hill where he serenades you with the most beautiful guitar and voice; on another day books the best table at a restaurant which he has personally gone in earlier to choose and select candles for, packs a telescope in his car (yes, I did ask how big it was, but only accidentally) to show you Jupiter if the clouds clear, and brings you a present of one of the most beautiful notebooks you’ve ever seen, because he knows you like writing…. but there’s a problem. You can’t trick yourself.

You just don’t feel that physical attraction, excitement or palpable interest in growing a connection with him. I wish things were different, and that our intuition and heart were always in line with our rational minds, but, as friends have consoled me, there’s no point sulking or hating yourself for not possessing an instinct towards someone that you’d like to possess. Even if life with that man would probably have been very lovely. And musical.

One of my main characters is taking things to a different extreme: she’s made the decision to fall in love with the next person who asks her out, regardless of who they are or what they do. It’s a dangerous (but liberating) decision, and things are already getting quite interesting for her.


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