Saturday, November 29, 2014

How Do You Know?

I don't actually expect anyone to have an answer to this.  If they did, they'd probably be the ruler of the world.  But how do you know how you truly feel, and how do you know how they feel?

It's easy for someone to say "I love you", or "je t'aime", or "ahabak(ik)", or any other way of saying you love someone.  They're just words.  Anyone can do things for someone, or kiss them, or make love to them.  But that doesn't necessarily mean they love them.

So how do you know?

It's a question I wrestle with routinely.  About both my own feelings and the feelings of others.

I say I love Becky.  I believe that I do.  I believe this because of how I feel when I'm around her, when I talk to her (whether on the phone or through online chat), because of how I care about her.  Whenever I hear about something happening in her country or whenever the power goes out over there, I worry about her safety.  I feel genuine sadness at the thought of never talking to her again.  I wish very much for her happiness in life.  I think that's all great evidence in support of the idea that I love her.

But, how do I know?  How do I know it's not because she's the only girl to want to consistently stick around me for this long?  How do I know it's not because I think she's the last shot I have to ever find someone?  How do I know?

And the answer is that I don't know.  And can't know.  I don't live in a world in which I'm choosing her over many other women.  She is the only one.  I have to put trust in myself that I know what I'm feeling is in fact love, and not desperation or loneliness.  And trusting yourself is often the most difficult thing to do.

On the other side of the equation, how do I know how Becky feels?  She's terribly hard to predict.  Hard to lock down where she stands.  One day she'll say she loves me, the next she'll say she doesn't want a long distance relationship and has a hard time saying she loves me over the phone (something she still has never done).  She'll say she's coming here to visit, but that I shouldn't wait for her. She'll text me to say she misses me, but doesn't sound like she's in a hurry to see me.

So how do I know she's serious about wanting to give us a shot?  How do I know she's not saying these things to avoid disappointing me or to avoid making me hate her?  I'm not exactly someone accustomed to having women be interested in him, which only compounds the problem.

I've asked for people's thoughts on the issue, and some have chimed in.  And I encourage anyone else reading this to chime in too.  But how do you know about your own feelings?  How do you know about another person's feelings?  Am I just an idiot for believing this might work out?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miscellaneous Notes About Honesty, Decency and Communication

I'm not sure if I've ever gone on record saying it, but I have no problem with "the fade".  I also have no problems with making up excuses or having non-answers like "I'll let you know" or "I'll check my schedule" as a way of rejecting someone without coming out and saying it.  I'm an adult, and somehow an adult who gets social cues fairly easily.  I understand that anything other than a "yes" is a "no".

But, there does come a time when you need to be honest with people.  When putting something gently or being passive-aggressive, or coy is not an attempt at sparing someone's feelings, but just a way of implying that they're stupid.  Telling someone after three dates that you can't see them anymore because you're not over your ex, or some other variation of "it's not you, it's me" is acceptable.  Saying that to someone you've been married to for 10 years, not so much.  It's not even about the length of time you know the person, it's more about the degree to which trust and honesty is deserved.

I was reminded of this recently, hence the timing of this post.  Someone I had hoped would have the decency to be honest with me given the similar difficulties we face, but who instead went the passive-aggressive rejection route.  I'm not even talking about romantic rejection, because I didn't see this person that way, it was more of a personal rejection of me as a person.  I don't know what kind of issues this person is going through, nor their reasons for their actions, but given what I did know of them, I had hoped that clear communication would have been possible. I hold no ill will and the door is always open for them to return, but I do hope this person finds what they're looking for.  I got the hint though and I'm backing off.  Thanks for everything, and take care of yourself.  I really mean that.

This isn't really about one specific person though.  This post is about how we should interact with anyone in our lives.  Knowing when honestly is owed and when it's not is a crucial part of interpersonal communication.    The little things can sometimes go a long way.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Wow. It's Been Four Years

So I've been doing this for four years.  Yup.  Go check.  My first ever post on this blog was 11/21/2010.  I was in my last year of college.  I was really done with college at that point, I could have finished that summer instead of going a whole extra year.  Mentally, I had checked out already.  Didn't help my GPA of course.  Though, all things considered I did fine, could have done better, but also could have done worse.

It had been three months since Becky left to go back to her home country.  I had sent her an email that she never replied to, and for all I knew at the time I was never going to hear from her again.  In six months of being on Okcupid, I had gotten zero dates, and only three replies to my messages (one was a girl who told me she only wanted to date men from her culture but still agreed to add me on Facebook).  It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so it was right in that terrible time of year where it sucks to be single.

Three weeks after I wrote my first post my grandmother died.  The good grandmother, the one who actually cared about me and my family.  I don't "hate" my other grandmother, but it's clear that she's not a person that wants to spend time with other people.  So that was a pretty terrible time.  I'll tell you the story one day of why I feel like a piece of shit with regards to this, but for now I'll just leave it as is.

So, I was a 22 year old senior in college.  Most of my friends had graduated so it was basically just me on campus alone.  I hadn't really been on a real "date", hadn't kissed a girl, hadn't even held hands with a girl before, had zero post-college job prospects and graduation was fast approaching.  My grand plan of meeting some girl in one of my classes or just in school in general was fast becoming an unrealistic dream.

So I hope that paints a good picture of the setting.  The "fertile ground" in which this blog began.

When I started this blog, my hope was that I would post on here and that people would read and give me advice on what I should do.  School kind of interrupted my ability to post consistently, and I think by the spring I was at three or four posts and zero comments.  That's when I decided maybe I should record my activities and progress, with the eventual goal of acting as a blueprint for others in my shoes.  Like a science experiment, or a traveler's guide.  As the months and years stretched on I realized that was only going to fill up so many pages, especially given the lack of dates I was going on.  That's when I added commentary and social critique to the content here.  Helps bridge the gap between my failed dates.

Since I started the blog I've certainly made some progress.  I've been on some dates, I've actually held hands with a girl, and kissed a girl on the cheek, I've had a girl tell me she loved me (albeit not quite in the way I wanted her to love me but whatever), and I've told a girl I loved her.  I now have a full time salaried position with a stable company and I'm on the way towards having a more independent lifestyle.  Still though, I think I'm still in many ways the same guy.  The same guy who is unsure and shy, and insecure about himself.  I still wonder in the same way what a girl I'm interested in could possibly find attractive about me.  I'm not sure exactly how or when this will ever change.  It's something that has been with me for a long time.  I hope it's not part of who I am, but it definitely could be.

I also still find women of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent extremely attractive.  I don't think it's a fetish in the way that people have Asian fetishes or what have you.  It's not something I intentionally seek out, it's just a trend I've noticed.  I think it hurts me in that it limits my dating pool though ironically the only women who have ever even agreed to go out with me were of those descents, so I don't know.

It seems fitting that one of the blogs I follow (BrownGirlBloggin) is doing a reveal video as a probable retirement of her blog this coming week. This blog (my blog) is (hopefully) not forever.  I will end this blog when/if  I get a girlfriend.  I'll obviously not leave anyone hanging.  I'll write some wrap up posts, and a farewell as well as a place to find my current writing and a way to get in touch with me.  And I'll leave this blog up for anyone who wants to find it and read about my journey.  For now though that day has not arrived.  So fear not, The Inexperienced Guy is still here.

I've toyed from time to time with the idea of doing a "reveal" of my own.  The thing is though, this blog is anonymous for a good reason.  Very few of my friends know that I'm a completely inexperienced guy.  Most people think I'm a cool and calm, "manly man" who doesn't fret about how girls don't like him.  If I reveal myself, that all goes out the window.  That's not to say that no one knows how I look or who I am.  I've befriended one reader of this blog a year ago and would certainly reveal my identity to anyone else under the condition that they don't reveal my identity (unless it's to help me get a girlfriend, then I'm ok with it).  I've tried to befriend others with mixed success.  If you read this blog and you really do want to know who I really am, please drop me a line and I'll add you on Facebook or I'll send you a picture or something.

Suffice it to say, I've been here four years.  I'd really not like to be here for another four.  Hell, I'd like not to be here another four days.  But, I'm glad that if I have to be on this journey, that I have whoever is reading this along with me.  Thanks everyone, and I promise I'm not going anywhere.  At least not yet...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How About a Movie Review?

Wow.  I'm perilously close to the fourth anniversary of the founding of this blog.  I guess I'll have to post on Friday commemorating this occasion.

For now though, I'm taking a break from talking about dating and relationships and talk about something more fun and entertaining: movies.  Specifically a movie I saw recently, you may have heard of it: Interstellar.

I saw it twice.  Saw it the first weekend it came out in a regular theater, and saw it again on Thursday in IMAX.  The IMAX theater I saw it at also had a model of the ship on display as well some kind of virtual reality tour of the inside of the ship.  I didn't stay for that part because I got out of the theater at 10:30 pm and I had to get at up 5 in the morning.  If you haven't seen the movie in IMAX I highly recommend doing so.  Space movies, or flying movies, or anything really having to do with huge spaces and scenes always look better in IMAX.

I liked the movie.  It had a good beginning and end, good character development, the usual stuff you expect from Christopher Nolan, who directed the film.  What really set it apart though was the cinematography.  The wormhole, the other worlds, Gargantua (their name for the black hole they encountered), the tesseract, all of it was really really beautiful to behold.  That was really worth the 15 bucks I spent on the ticket.

The only somewhat negative thing I'll say about it is that it basically followed the cliche astronaut/space travel movie plot.  I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but if you've seen movies like Gravity or Apollo 13, you know the story line: disaster/unexpected event forces crew to abandon scheduled itinerary and improvise a new way to get on with the mission and/or get back home.  There's no rescue possible in space (at least not currently) so it's a plot that works.  But, it does seem bland and formulaic sometimes.

That said, it didn't take away too much from the film.  It was still a beauty to watch.  Maybe it will rekindle some interest in exploring other worlds.  I know the idea fascinates me.

Anyway, if you saw the film, what did you think of it?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Head Games

Yup.  Just like the Foreigner song.

I've neglected to post for almost two weeks now.  I've been a bit busy and a little downtrodden about the events that I chronicled in my last post.  But I'm here to post again.  Still not about anything wonderful though.

At this point, I honestly think I need to bundle some of these posts and label them "the Becky files" or "the Becky problem".  Because out of all the things that I've written on, I've probably written about her the most.

As you may remember from my last post, Becky (just want to remind everyone that this is not her real name) said "love you" to me at the end of a chat online.  It was an amazing moment of my life, and extremely shocking to me.  She backpedaled the next day when I probed a bit further, which is always the story with Becky: one step forward, two steps back.

Since then, she gave me her phone number, which I called using the Skype app (which is a lot cheaper than calling straight up using your cell phone), and we've talked four times on the phone.  They were the usual great conversations we've always had.  Reminded me of my college years to be honest.  But I recognize one thing: she doesn't feel the same way about me, and that is a fact that is unlikely to ever change.

To clarify, it's not like I ever really thought she would fall in love with me.  She didn't when we lived in the same state and went to the same college, it's even harder for that to happen when thousands of miles separate you.  I've kind of already made my peace with that.  The real mystery going on five years now is why I find myself unable to walk away.

It's not like I'm not accustomed to liking women that don't like me back.  That's a fairly common occurrence with me.  The thing is I'm always able to let go and move on.  The women I've liked or went on dates with in the past, I'm really not longing to be with them.  Yet with Becky it's the opposite.  No matter what I try, be it no contact, space, just thinking about the things I don't like about her (which is practically nothing), I just find myself unable to let her go, despite knowing (intellectually) that nothing is going to happen between us, and despite not seeing her for four years.  And I think I've discovered why.

She seems like she really cares about me.

She will compliment me, encourage me, share things about herself with me, ask me my opinion, ask me how my day is going or how my life is going.  Whenever we talk on the phone or online I never get the feeling that she's in a hurry to go.  She has never asked me for anything.  Not once.  When we were in college we basically split expenses (I paid sometimes, she paid other times).  There are people who have told me that she's only into me so that she could come to the US for citizenship and then bleed me dry.  Becky is smart, she knows that all she has to do is say the word and I'd meet her at the airport with a bouquet of flowers and a ring, yet she doesn't.  If she asked me for some money to help her (she definitely needs it) I'd send it.  Yet she never asks.  Either she genuinely cares about me, or she's the world's biggest saint.

Now I know a lot of you will say "that's just what friends do".  And I get it, but I have friends.  Friends I've known for years, great friends.  None of them have acted towards me the way she does and did when she lived here.  All of the "signals" they tell you are signs that a girl likes you, she displayed.  The hair twirling, the sitting close to you, the crossing her legs towards you, the laughing at all your jokes and smiling like the Cheshire Cat, mentioning specific things she wants to do with you (and then actually following through on it).  All of that, plus the things I've already mentioned made me think something might be there.  Yet there isn't anything there.  Hence the title.

I'm incredibly lucky that she is such an angel, otherwise I'd be totally fucked (pardon my language).  And to be quite honest the next girl I meet might not be so noble.  And that's the really depressing part.  Am I really such a sap that all you have to do to hook me in is say some nice things to me and act like you care?  Will this ever come back to bite me?  Will my hangups about Becky inhibit my ability to develop romantic relationships with other women?  Should I just go ahead and see a therapist about this?

These are all things I've been thinking about since 2 PM yesterday.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

I May Never Wash These Hands Again

I'm kidding of course.  I don't want to help start an Ebola outbreak.  Or much more likely, the flu, common cold and all the other more common diseases.

Seriously though, it's been an interesting week for me.  Particularly the second half of the week.

Some of you already know, but on Thursday I had a discussion with "Becky" online.  It was an odd one, and ended on as odd a note as it began.  She told me she had something to tell me, and the way she said it made it sound like it was something serious.  I'm thinking at this point "dear God, she's going to tell me that she's getting married, and then I'll probably go barf up all the lunch I just ate".  Turns out she only wanted to tell me that she really cared about me and valued our friendship.  That she thinks about me "all the time" especially things I say to her that she later thinks about to make her feel better when she's feeling down.  All of that stuff is very heartwarming, but not quite what I hope for with her.  I told her the truth (which I've told her before) about how I'm glad she's in my life, even if she doesn't feel quite the same way about me as I do about her.  Which prompted her to tell me she's never really been in love, it takes a long time to fall for someone, etc.  By now it was time for me to go back to work as my lunch break was over.  And then she wrote "love u".  Whoa.

Now I come from the perspective that you don't just throw that out there casually, unless you put major caveats on it.  "Love you buddy" or "I love you like a best friend/brother/whatever", those are good ways to use the word "love" without adding all kinds of extra baggage to it.  But saying "love u" without any other context or explanation after the other person just got done saying that they were in love with you?  That's heavy stuff.  Also something I can check off my bucket list: having a girl tell you she loves you.

I followed up with her about it the next day.  I specifically asked her why we couldn't try to make a long distance relationship work.  She alleges (I didn't use the word "allege" with her though) to care about me, and I care about her, we have a lot in common, neither of us is dating anyone else, what's the hold up?  She informed me that she doesn't want a long distance relationship and can't know for sure if she really feels romantically about me until she sees me in person.  Tells me that she will eventually come to the US when her mother comes to visit family.  Doesn't know when that will be but if I'm still single we can see what happens then, but that I should not wait for her.  As much as I would love to believe that this means I can go meet her at the airport sometime in the future and whisk her off into the sunset with me, my gut tells me that this is just her way of telling me she's not interested without telling me so explicitly, and a way to avoid liability if I should "wait for her".  I still do lover her, even thought it would be for the best to walk away.  For whatever reason I just find myself unable to do so.

Now, for the really juicy stuff that you've all been waiting for.

I HAD A DATE YESTERDAY!

On Wednesday, after chatting with a girl from a dating site for about a week, we exchanged phone numbers and I asked her out.  We met up at a Fall festival in our area.  I'm not going into explicit details in case she stumbles upon this blog (highly unlikely but you never know).  I will say though that she was a lot prettier in person than she was in her photos.  That's happened with pretty much every girl I've met from dating sites, so I was happy to see that trend continue.  Also, she had a lovely voice, I love accents and she had a sexy one.  She seemed kind, well rounded, interesting and smart.  All of the things that I tend to like in a woman.

I can also cross some other things off the bucket list.  We held hands.  I had already broken the "touch barrier" prior to this (touching her back, touching her leg when we were sitting and talking, etc.) so maybe that had warmed me up to it, or maybe I remembered all the reserved dates I went on when I didn't go for hand holding and wanted to, I don't know.  But I did it, and she didn't recoil in horror or pull her hand away or none of that.  That was amazing.  I tried to kiss her at the end of the date but she gave me her cheek instead.  That could be good or bad, it's really too early to tell.  She also said she was free this week to go out again.  So I will follow up with her and hopefully that works out.

I like her, and I don't want to compare her to Becky, because I think it's unfair to compare the two given the circumstances.  But no matter how it works out with this girl, I've made some major strides: first time I've ever kissed a girl (on the cheek, but still counts), and first time I've held hands with a girl.

One last thing.  If things do work out with this girl (or even if they work out with Becky), I want to make a promise to readers: I'm not going to turn into one of those douches who gets one girlfriend and is suddenly the expert on dating.  I don't know jack shit about dating.  I lucked into this date with this girl.  I have no clue in the slightest how to replicate that success.  I will continue to give opinion and sometimes advice from my perspective, but I will never claim to have any kind of authority on the subject of love and romance.  If I ever become that guy though, please copy and paste this paragraph and send it to me as a comment, tweet, email, or something.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is the longest blog post I've had.  Maybe it is I'm not sure.  I just wanted to let you guys know that The Inexperienced Guy is slightly less experienced as of yesterday.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone.  :)

Addendum:

So much for the good vibes.  I was quite excited to call this girl tomorrow to ask her out again.  Unfortunately, I will never get the chance.   She texted me tonight to tell me she wasn't interested in a second date.  Something about having different personalities or whatever.  The specifics don't matter,  What matters is that there will not be another date with this girl.  I'm not broken up necessarily over one girl, it's that I feel like this is how everything ends.  Always.  Doesn't matter how well a date goes or how poorly.  There will always be a bad ending.  Always.

My shields are up.  I really can't go through this again.  One more time and I think I will have a psychotic break.

Saturday, October 25, 2014