Dating Games: Heart says yes, head says no

At some point in our dating life we will all find ourselves dating someone, anyone, for the sake of not being alone.

Dating Games Cartoon 521 (photo credit: Tamar Capsi Shnall)
Dating Games Cartoon 521
(photo credit: Tamar Capsi Shnall)
A Jerusalem Post reader recently wrote me asking for advice about a predicament he’s in. He’s been dating a woman he met on JDate for the better part of the past year but says he “knows she’s not right” for him. There was “instant attraction and the physical intimacy remains to this day, but the emotional connection has waned.”
The writer says he has deep feelings for his girlfriend and gets “heartsick when she doesn’t call” but knows he should find someone “kinder and more available” and is afraid he is staying with her because he doesn’t like being alone. She pushes him away and then pulls him close only to begin the cycle all over again as soon as he starts to feel a closeness. But he can’t let go, he feels “addicted” even though he knows she’s unavailable and, frankly, toxic. His heart is telling him one thing while his head is telling him another, an all-too-common scenario.
He asks, “Is anyone better than no one?” At some point in our dating life we will all find ourselves dating someone, anyone, for the sake of not being alone. Better to spend our time with someone we don’t like than spend another Saturday night at home, right? Wrong. If you’re busy devoting time to someone you know isn’t right for you, that’s time taken away from the opportunity to meet someone who is. You’re cheating yourself and the other person. You’re wasting your time if you know it’s not meant to be. The longer you wait to end the relationship, the harder it will get. And what about the other person’s feelings? It’s simply not a fair shake for either of you.
At some point in our dating life we will all find ourselves dating someone, hoping that the feelings will grow and deepen as time goes on and then we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a long-term relationship and wondering how we got there.
When Julie dated this guy named Jason it started out hot and heavy but then tapered off. Jason is a great guy and Julie thought her feelings might mature. After five months she began to cringe every time he called, became nauseous at the sound of his voice and wanted nothing more than to never see him again.
Staying in a relationship in the anticipation of something developing is nice... in theory. Your intentions are nice because you’re giving the other person a chance, but you need be honest with yourself – if you’re not seeing the future with the other person after just a few months then it’s probably not gonna happen next year either.
At some point we will all find ourselves dating someone who has us wrapped around their finger, just as the letter writer claims he is. And the worst part is, his girlfriend is abusing this power! When one half of the couple has the upper hand, they know it and you know it. Someone’s always going to have “the ball in their court,” but for the most part your relationships should be as equal as possible. Some people enjoy being bossed around or teased and some people enjoy doing the bossing or teasing, but most people want a relationship where they both have a voice. If you don’t like the division of power in your relationship, you can always talk about it, but most likely your other half won’t want to change the dynamics.
The overarching problem is that breaking it off is easier said than done, especially for our letter writer, who is completely aware of his situation and yet hasn’t taken action to change it.
The reason? Our hearts can often veto our heads.
If you find yourself in any, or all, of the situations above try making a Pros vs Cons list so you can see your dating life on paper.
S o m e t i m e s seeing it in black and white is all it takes to get your head and your heart on the same page.
This is not the place to list “fat ankles” like Ross did when he was making a list comparing Rachel to another woman on Friends. This is the place to figure out how you feel in the relationship and how you feel towards the other person.
While you have pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) make a list of who you want to be in a relationship, what roles you want to play, what kind of relationship you want and what kind of partner you want. This is not what you want from your current partner or your current relationship, this isn’t about changing yourself or the other person, but rather who you want to be in a relationship and who you want to be in it with. Once you figure out the answers to these questions then your head and your heart will be in sync.