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No One Knows What They’re Doing

It Might As Well Be Kindergarten

The game of romance changes very little as we mature. I remember being about 6 years old and writing a note to Billy, a boy I had a big crush on telling him I loved him. I asked a friend to give him the note at recess for me. Someone intercepted it before it got to Billy so then everyone on the playground knew that I was in love with Billy. I nearly died from embarrassment. I don’t remember what outcome I expected in first grade to telling a boy I was in love with him, nor do I remember what happened after the gut wrenching humiliation on the playground.

Most of us aren’t as bold about professing our love interest as adults. Instead, we rely on dropping subtle hints about our romantic interest in another. We flirt. We smile. We make eye contact. We carelessly touch them as we laugh. Some take a more direct approach. It’s a dance.

In current times we now have the digital dimension of courtship. I guess I’ve received notes on dating sites which would be the modern day equivalent to the note I dropped Billy on the playground. If it isn’t an email, text or instant message, we don’t get much in writing. Texting in particular can become rather intimate as I think we will say more in the unreal digital world than in real life.

I’ve seen relationships begin in fits and starts. A guy will be all hot to meet me after connecting online and then all of a sudden he has a girlfriend and isn’t sure if it would be fair to her so he cancels our date at the last minute. It seemed he wasn’t sure if he “had a girlfriend” before he tried to take our conversation to another level. This man is 57 years old, and is not in high school. To be fair, the same man wanted to know what I was doing looking online if I already have a boyfriend, and, for that matter, a husband as well. Perhaps I haven’t learned much since I was 6 years old.

Maybe we think a relationship is “progressing”, and then experience the kick in the gut that we call “ghosting”. This is the definitively immature way of ending a relationship. We mysteriously disappear and cut contact rather than openly discuss our feelings around wanting things to end. My 30 year old niece recently asked me if she should break up with her boyfriend on the phone or via text. I suggested she do it like an adult: face to face, and tell the truth. She was shocked last year by the story of how I did just that with a gentleman I was no longer interested in seeing. Each of us was befuddled by the other’s generation way of handling this.

I’ve seen married couples separate, then divorce, then remarry.

I’ve seen people carry on relationships while living in different states and even different countries.

There are married people living separately under the same roof.

We think we are evolved grown ups. Sometimes this messy dance goes the way we hope it will. Still and all, we don’t exactly know what we are doing like that little girl on the playground.

Thank you for reading :)