What happens when there’s no romance

There’s eye contact. Laughing. An attractive woman with a pretty smile. She touches his arm playfully. He compliments her style. This has all the makings of a great relationship forming. But what happens when there’s one thing, one critical thing, missing?

It might not be apparent on the first date, or even a 5th date, but have you ever been out with someone only to realize you don’t have romantic feelings for them? Whether you ever admit it to them or not, I imagine it’s happened to most of us at least once.

So let’s get personal, shall we? Earlier this year I spent time with someone in whom I was hoping to have interest. There was clearly an attempt on both of our parts to strike the match for a romantic spark. We went out a few times and saw each other quite a bit in “non-date” scenarios. All that to say, we were able to see each other’s personalities pretty well, and I was purposely trying to be a gentleman throughout the entire dating relationship. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m generally happy with how I behaved. Well… that makes one of us!

I’m not one to leave things hanging or to assume she can read my mind so once I knew I didn’t have feelings for her, I wanted to talk about it. Now, I’ll be he first to admit I’m not one who’s known for being tactful. I’ve got none! But I made a point to be kind, considerate, and to muster up at least an ounce of tact. It must not’ve worked. Somehow my approach for sharing my feelings was off-putting and she took the opportunity to let me know. Let’s just say I got a spirited response.

It was 17 pages. FRONT AND BACK!!


OK, it wasn’t as dramatic and the Ross and Rachel saga, nor was it more than 10 or 11 pages, but she was clearly upset and told me all about it. And just so you have all the facts, she also didn’t have romantic feelings for me! The verbal lashing seemed to be out of left field, and what I couldn’t figure out is who she thought she was talking to? And I don’t mean that in a puffed up kind of way. What I mean is that she derided pretty much my entire approach to our dating relationship, the same dating approach I was proud of! Surely she was thinking about some other fellow, right?

Way back in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think what really upset her is that I brought it up first. Maybe she wanted to be first to say there wasn’t interest. I honestly don’t know, and won’t ever know, because after I defended myself, and spent time considering her comments, I let it go. Any further communication would not have been helpful to either of us.

What helped me through this is remembering I can only marry one person. So every other person in the entire world is someone I didn’t marry. Makes sense, right? These other people… either I didn’t know them, didn’t date them, or didn’t have romantic feelings for them. That’s all the options. So this latest relationship is simply one of the ones that aren’t the one. I wish her the best…

As Queen says, “Another one bites the dust!”

-Out of the Wilderness

Advertisements

Still in the dating world

Not too long ago, I had a date and while I fancy myself good company, I do always hope that the company I keep is good, as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Well, lately my few and far between dates seemed to have been cursed.

You see, I have a personality trait that 1) thinks too much and 2) loves to anticipate. So with most dates, I think about them a lot beforehand and if I’m already clicking with the woman, I anticipate a lot about the first date, or second or third, whatever the case may be.

So this particular relationship was headed for the first date, anticipation building. We’d seemed to connect, at least through various messages, and there also appeared to be chemistry. It’s such a coin flip when it comes to “real life / face to face meeting,” though. And this coin flip landed on whatever side means:

The date itself was fine. With the right person, it would have been a great first date. The anticipation from earlier, though, wasn’t fulfilled, so I arrived back home deflated, annoyed, frustrated. Trying to glean something positive from it, I counted the date as practice; a chance for me to hone my dating skills so that one day when a great match comes along, not only will I be good company, but also her anticipation will be met with a great reality.

-Out of the Wilderness

A weekend date night

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to set up a date for the coming weekend. During the days leading up to the planned date anticipation began building, and anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. On one hand, it can leave you feeling very deflated if what you’re looking forward to doesn’t materialize. But what I was hoping for was on the other hand.

Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t go how I envisioned. The date was cancelled (for legitimate reasons) so I was left with a blank slate for that particular night. Even with the cancellation, I was determined to go on a date. I reached out to a few other potential leads, only to come up empty.

So I’ll be honest, I was upset about it. I let doubts creep in. I became my worst critic, assuming the things I don’t like about myself are what these potential dates don’t like either. I had a pity party that lasted more than a day. Maybe a couple of days… or three.

There are a few take-aways from this experience:

  1. I like when I’m more even-tempered. When things don’t go my way or something happens that shakes things up, just roll with it. Be breezy, as Monica would say. My problem is, much like Monica, breezy is not my strong suit.
  2. I heard this a few years ago and I still love it. Whether it’s in relationships, job opportunities, any scenario where you’re taking a risk by putting yourself out there, “Rejection is God’s protection.” So maybe this “date fail” wasn’t a failure at all.
  3. No matter what happens, I won my fantasy football league this past year. And it feels amazing.

Be breezy, y’all!
-Out of the Wilderness

She’s a question mark

As you’ll find when you look up the 5 W’s on Wikipedia, they’re defined as “questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.” Well, some people would definitely consider my love life basic. Clearly I just roasted my own self and I’m OK with that, though, because I like laughing. I laughed a lot yesterday while I was driving behind a car that had a dog sticking it’s head out barking wildly at cars passing in the other direction. I also think yesterday was a good day for information gathering. It started when I opened up Spotify.

What…
I heard one of my favorite songs when it cycled up in my Spotify library. Every time I hear this cover of a Temptations hit, it sends my mind a’drifting, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to put together a video with this song for the woman I marry.” Sure, it’s 90s reggae but it makes me think of a fun relationship I’ll have with my best friend.


Why…

I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite movies are The Notebook, Elizabethtown, Hitch, and I’ll throw Serendipity in there too, as a great romantic comedy. So when I have the chance to make something personal for someone I love, of course I’m going to do it. That’s why!

Where…
An educated guess would say this story will unfold in Nashville, where I live. There are other possible backdrops to this love story; I have family in Florida so there could be a scenario where I cross paths with a beautifully-quirky woman there.

When…
Timing is everything and right now, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she and I are already friends. Maybe she’ll be at the Post Office today when I go to drop off some mail. Either way, I’m looking forward to the day I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered entered it.

Who…
Now this is the question of the hour. I’ve had a handful of great relationships in my love life, but none that progressed to marriage and, it might be strange to hear this, I’m very thankful they didn’t. Had I married in my 20s or early 30s, the relationship would have gone one of two ways: a rough and rocky start that crippled us for a long time, or simply ending in divorce. Neither of which is something I wake up hoping for each morning.

So this mystery will go on unsolved for the time being. Heck, we only have information for 2 of the 5 W’s and that, my friends, is what I’d call… not even close! But when Spotify queues up Billboard’s #6 song from a reggae band of white guys in 1989, I can still anticipate the day when the question mark becomes an exclamation point!

-Out of the Wilderness

Not as good as I remember it

Is there something from your past that doesn’t live up to it’s memory? For me, it’s typically music or movies. Pretty much any 90s song is now labeled as a “90s song” because it has a certain sound to it, right? But back then you’d think music couldn’t get any better. Let’s face it, a lot of songs from the 90s (and the 80s, if we’re being honest) are pretty cheesy. But we like them because they remind us of where we were when he heard them, or they just bring back good memories for us.

Over the Christmas holiday a few weeks ago I was awarded with choosing a movie to watch on the night we celebrated my birthday. I chose a movie I hadn’t seen in years but remembered loving it. The film stars an actor who was relatively new to Hollywood in the early 2000s, Owen Wilson. He plays Navy navigator Chris Burnett in Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s a great movie, especially if you enjoy war movies that involve a good guy and a bad guy, an underdog and a bully, an intense cat and mouse chase, and spoiler alert: it has a predictable ending. But watching it that night wasn’t as glorious as I remember when I first watched it. Now, part of that is because I rarely watch movies twice. Something about knowing what’s going to happen drains any desire I have to watch a movie more than once. There are exceptions, of course. In fact, I just watched Wonder Woman for the second time and was still entranced and captivated by the story, the editing, the slow motion effects they used, and the special effects. I also watched Enchanted twice over the holidays. It’s so good!

I guess there’s a level of predictability that I rather do without. So prequels? Nope. Hallmark movies? Nope. TV shows from the 90s? Boy Meets World, otherwise nope.

So anyway, back to Behind Enemy Lines. It’s a really good movie, it is. What stuck out the most in this holiday viewing, though, was the soundtrack. I don’t remember it having the characteristics of a 90s war/action movie but it does. Even some of the filming looked vintage late-90s.

All that to say, I wonder if my memory is similar to how Baz Luhrmann describes offering advice in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” it’s a way of…

…fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I romanticize something in my past, and when I revisit it, it’s not quite as amazing as I remember. Hmm sounds like my dating life! And by that, I mean how every girl I’ve ever dated thinks of me!

Girl: I think I remember him being pretty great.

*Girl reconnects with Ben*

Girl: nope, still a dork.

Well, she’s not wrong. I’m pretty dorky but I like it that way. This is not turning into a dating blog, I forbid it! So it ends here. What things in your past do you have on a pedestal? Is there an experience you have where something you loved isn’t as great as you remembered? One thing is for sure no matter what, Baz is right… wear sunscreen!

-Out of the Wilderness

The top posts of 2017

I had so much fun posting blogs about life, love, music, dogs, and many other things in 2017. Here’s a list of top new posts from the year.

Music or music videos

  1. The woman in Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (10,653 views, posted Jan 10)
  2. The cast of Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know” (9,358 views, posted April 8)
  3. The dancers in Keith Urban’s “The Fighter” (7,661 views, posted April 5)

 

Dating or Relationships

  1. Ten more signs a Christian guy is into you (583 views, posted May 1)
  2. Rekindling an old flame (384 views, posted July 19)
  3. Rekindling an old flame, part 2 (285 views, posted Aug 9)

 

My favorite light-hearted posts from 2017

  1. A guy who (sometimes) shaves his legs (45 views, posted Sept 17)
  2. Encounter with a car salesman (39 views, posted Sept 28)
  3. Avoiding a “Talkative Tim” or “Chatty Cathy” (12 views, posted Sept 9)

 

My favorite thoughtful posts from 2017

  1. Thoughts about Virginia, and why I love the Nashville PD (80 views, posted Aug 16)
  2. I have a hard time saying no (10 views, posted Sept 15)
  3. Brief encounters (15 views, posted April 5)

 

My favorite spiritual posts from 2017

  1. What if God is the sun? (9 views, posted June 2)
  2. Jesus saved a bunch of animals, too (18 views, posted March 22)
  3. God is able (14 views, posted Feb 20)

 

I’ll be posting a lot this year as well, so please subscribe and come with me on another year-long adventure!

-Out of the Wilderness

What is broadbacking? Dating answers here.

By now we’ve all heard of “ghosting” (disappearing from a conversation, whether it’s online or texting, and then zombieing… reappearing days, weeks, or months later). Other more traditional terms like “DTR,” “red flag,” and “an item” have all been used in or about relationships over the years, but for recent trendy terms, here’s a list. One you won’t see on there yet is a dating word I’m coining today.

Broadbacking.

Broadbacking is when you’ve met someone and within a short amount of time they dump an overwhelming amount of emotional baggage onto you because they think you can help them carry the load.

This behavior can happen online through long and drawn out emails that take you 29 minutes to read, text messages that are broken up into 17 different sections that you have to piece together to make sense of it, or even in person/on the phone where you may have to practice the art of listening…a lot.

No matter how this information is being thrust upon you, just know that it is, and the person doing it is totally broadbacking you.

-Out of the Wilderness