This week I have a lot to say – so here we go.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written about a variety of topics that deal with the less *glamorous* side of the dating world, where things don’t really go as planned. With pieces like “Let it go,” “It really be like that sometimes,” and, most recently, “Stop overthinking everything,” I got pretty deep into the type of psychological strength it takes to just let things happen when it comes to dating.
And while I’ve become more inclined to take my own advice recently and do just that – just let things happen – there is a gray zone. Sometimes, the hardest part of not being able to just let things happen is the uncertainty: not knowing if the other person is remotely interested and whether or not all your interactions seem like they might mean they’re interested because you’ve overthought every detail. Not knowing if there actually is any chemistry between you or if you’re projecting because you like them, but are maybe too scared to admit it because you’re just trying to let things happen.
It’s being uncertain of if you should take the leap and potentially jeopardize whatever platonic relationship you have with someone. All this is because you’re unsure how they feel about and you don’t want to ruin what you already have but aren’t opposed to potentially having more because the chemistry is there and other people see it too.
It’s like in international relations (I’m a political science major too, okay, bear with me): in an archaic world, realists and liberals hate uncertainty because there’s risk involved. This is also in economics and free-market theories, for all of you who might relate to this by that approach.
Basically, the uncertainty of the situation – of whether they might like you, of whether they’d be down to try to build something with you, if there’s actually chemistry or if you’re projecting – is scary. The “maybe, maybe not” of it all can really wreak havoc on your mental state and can cause even more overthinking, which, as I’ve previously written, we should try to avoid.
If the whole world would just be upfront about what they wanted, we would all be so much better off. Imagine that: someone likes you? They tell you straight up. Don’t feel the same? Tell them. You have a loathing for someone’s entire existence? Woah there, but also, you do you boo, tell them and it probably won’t be such a big deal because everyone would just be telling their feelings all the time.
Honestly, all this is just to say that the gray area in any aspect of life is hard to deal with, but it can really take a toll on your mental state when it comes to relationships. Personally, I would just want to know how people feel about me to avoid the whole guessing game and to undercut all the “maybe, maybe not.”
This brings me to my next point – two for one this week! – in the case that things don’t work out as you hoped and everything goes to shit (re: “Shit happens, routines fail”), just allow yourself to feel. It sounds simple enough, but often we’re upset at ourselves for being so upset about things not working out as we hoped. Instead of being upset over actually feeling an emotion, we should just skip a step and actually just feel everything – and then move on. Trying to prevent yourself from the natural process of reacting to something, especially to something sad or shocking, will only do more harm than good and will also likely cause you to overthink.
SO, to sum all this up: 1) the gray area sucks, so try creating as few as possible to avoid heartbreak; 2) if you get heartbroken, allow yourself to feel and then just move on.
Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria