Dear Aphrodite, I am trying to figure out what to do about my frustrating and disappointing relationships with men. There is a man that I’m very interested in, who initially seemed interested in me, and still may be for all I know, but who basically ignores me! At least that’s how it feels. We’ve been intimate which was good. But he doesn’t check in with me, doesn’t really text, but seems happy to hear from me when we do talk. I don’t need to be romanced off my feet, nor am I looking to be married right now or anything life changing. But I do want to feel appreciated, seen, cherished and know that a guy wants me. I don’t want to go into my head and create stories about what he’s thinking or feeling either. It all just feels… distant. I just don’t understand what makes the men I attract blow hot and cold. Is this what dating is like? Signed, MF
Dear MF, In a nutshell, yes, this is exactly what dating is like. Think about it: there are 124 million single adults in America looking for their right match, and how many of those people they date will be the “One”, or even get close? Not so many.
Here’s one distinction that may help you. Dating is not about building intimacy; it’s about getting to know the other person well enough to know whether those initial feelings of curiosity and chemistry hold long-term potential. This intuitive decision, in all likelihood, is often made relatively quickly, though sometimes it takes a bit of time for us to fully recognise whether we’re getting a green or red light for True Love (and to be clear, having sex is not a green light: sexual chemistry is only one check box on the long list of qualities you require for long-term partnership). When one of us gets that intuitive knowing before the other does, it can be confusing for the other. It sounds like that’s happened with this person. He’s decided this relationship will only go so far. Maybe he’s keeping his options open with you, keeping it “casual”, but at some point you will have to decide whether that is what you want, too.
You mentioned texting and being in communication as important to you. You have Virgo on your fifth house cusp of dating. You are romanced by good and open communication (both listening and talking), humor, intelligence, sensitivity and attentiveness. Think of these qualities as non-negotiables for your dating life; if a love interest possesses these qualities, you will open the door to the next step. If you’re not getting these from a potential paramour in these initial stages, you tend to become perfectionistic and critical- both toward your dates, and your self.
When a potential courtship feels distant, it is. That’s not cause to question or change your self but an opportunity to understand it is simply not the right fit. Dating is never personal. How can it be? You don’t even know each other yet. So hold your heart’s desires dear. You deserve everything you want in a partner, and to get there you must go through the humbling process of letting another person in. Feeling cherished, romanced, seen and known can only happen when both people say yes. And that’s a yes worth waiting, and dating around, for.