A little history:
When I was in college, I didn't have all that much interest in dating or relationships. I had (and still have) a large number of close female friends who provided me with the right amount of emotional support and girlfriend activities (going for food/coffee, cooking together, watching TV, daily text conversations) to satisfy me. Physical aspects of dating were often taken care of at parties with strangers.
Well, now that I've graduated and moved into the realm of adult life (closer to my 24th birthday than my 23rd), my attitude towards dating has changed. I'm starting to look for an exclusive girlfriend. I've been on many dates in the last year or so with a wide variety of fantastic, beautiful and intelligent girls. Ambitious professionals, starving artists, a farmer's daughter, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Democrats, Republicans, Americans, Europeans, Asians....you get the picture.
Despite this, I've never been "seeing" a girl for more than a few weeks. There's always something stopping me from changing that Facebook status and introducing her to my friends. Most of the time it's intangible, even undefinable. Literally my answer when the "let's just be friends" conversation comes up is "I'm just not feeling that romantic connection". I liken it to the romantic trials of the cast of Seinfeld, who always found some silly reason to break up with a girl/guy and remain single and alone.
I tried defining my "perfect girl" on paper, thinking having clearly defined idea of what I'm looking for would help me get over this commitment hump. I realized I was in trouble when this spring I met a girl who ticked all the correct boxes (advanced degree, health conscious, interesting job, enjoys travel, strong family ties, well grounded, intelligent, philanthropic. Blue-eyed brunette to boot) and I simply did not feel any passion. We stopped seeing each other after 3 weeks.
For those of you in exclusive relationships...am I missing something here, emotionally? Or simply expecting too much? Are the close friendships I've developed with girls clouding my judgement of what the proper "romantic" emotion should be? Am I trying too hard?
I'm thinking I'm going to keep plugging on with my current path and just enjoy getting to know all these great girls, but I'm starting to draw unfounded but understandable suspicions from close friends and family about my sexuality, or my quality of character because of my inability to go steady with a girl for longer than a month. (For the record, I've only gotten physically intimate with a few of the girls, the majority of the time we don't move past the first kiss before going our separate ways. In fact, it's usually during the kiss when I realize there's no romantic connection).
Sorry for the wall of text. Thanks in advance for any advice!
If you have this "problem" at 44, it may be a real problem. At 24, you just haven't found the right girl.
My abstinence educators would also say you put too much importance on intangible physical attraction. You seem to think fireworks will go off the first time you touch the girl who is "the one." That only happens in the movies.
And now you've got me worried that we used discontinued envelopes for our thank-you notes...
Does the phrase "Over-thinking" mean anything to you?
Jonathan, it amazes me how much I can relate to you. I felt like I was reading my biography.
Unfortunately, since I'm in the same situation as you, I can't give you advice. Sorry. But hey, at least you know you're not alone.
Commitment is scary.
If you're not aware of any fear, there are two possibilities:
* You don't have any
* Part of you doesn't want to face it.
I suggest you explore both possibilities. The less you want to, the more you need to, I think. Note that I am not saying that's it for you (how would I know?) but it often is, so it's worth knowing.
For those of you in exclusive relationships...am I missing something here, emotionally?
Yes and no. Yes, you are not in love and a committed relationship. No, you are not broken or emotionally lacking, you just haven't found her yet.
Or simply expecting too much?
And what exactly are you expecting?
Are the close friendships I've developed with girls clouding my judgement of what the proper "romantic" emotion should be?
Yes. I think so. Those relationships are like casual sex in a way. You get some of the benefits of a committed relationship without the costs yet you rob yourself of ever getting the greatest benefits. I think by giving and taking the emotional exchange in those friendships you are not open to having it shared with a significant other and in a way, dampen it. Put it this way (I find it easier to look at these things as if we were talking about sex). Imagine you were having lots of sex with these girls (think of the amount of time and energy given to these friendships and pretend it was sex) and trying to build a significant relationship with one (by having sex with her). Would you ever discover the special aspect of the one you're dating? No matter how good you two bond you would always be thinking "well Monday night friend does this move better, Tuesday night friend is fitter, etc".
Am I trying too hard?
Depends on what you mean. Do you mean by trying to find the perfect girl and critizing her like Seinfeld does? Yes. But by taking the easy road by keeping all your close female friends (rather than keeping it all for one with the risk of having no one), I think you aren't trying hard enough.
Good news and bad news.
Bad news is. You've squandered your best years and best chances. It will never be as easy to meet like-minded woman than when you were in college. They are out there but college does a great job of grabbing a significant number of the best ones and putting them in one place along with giving them ample time to date you. Likewise, although there are great ones left, the pool is going to get much smaller. Your wiser male cohorts have already picked off many of the best. There are still gems out there but increasing you will find that much of what's left is either still available for a reason or damaged (from suffering from getting burned by picking the wrong ones when they were college age).
The Good news. 24 is still very young. At your age I still had two degrees and two careers ahead of me, not to mention both very bad and very good (the best and final in fact) relationships to come.