By Sara Eckel
This is a story of girl meets boy. Girl and boy play email-text-phone tag, girl and boy eventually go on a date three weeks later. And the cycle begins again.
Beth O’Donnell, who runs the Single and the Sweet Side of 40 blog, was introduced to a man at a networking party and the two discovered they had a lot in common, having both attended Catholic schools in the same Philadelphia neighborhood.
They decided to get together, but afterwards Beth realized she had forgotten to give the man her number. Fortunately he gave his card to their mutual friend and she emailed him two days later.
“I’d like to tell you I waited the nun-approved amount of time to contact him, but the truth is, I was blogging for Single and the Sweet Side of 40 and forgot,” O’Donnell wrote in a post for Singular City.
That’s when the scheduling back and forth began. It was three weeks before they went on the first date, and another three before they went on the second date.
“If I wasn’t so busy, this might bug me,” Beth wrote to me. “Instead, I kind of like the pace. Still, someone did tell me that ‘It’s clear he’s just not that into you or he would make time.’ It’s not clear to me but maybe I’m kidding myself. Or maybe I’m only as into him as he is into me and it doesn’t matter.”
But she also had a question: “When do you ‘call it’– when do you say, ‘he’s just not that into me’ vs. ‘grown-ups have lives and must adjust their schedules accordingly’?”
It’s an interesting question. What is the difference between calm and chill and just plain apathetic?
But as I read Beth’s note, I realized I was far more interested in how she felt than how he did. Because whatever the man’s feeling are in this scenario, Beth made it very clear that she had yet to lose her head.
This is something I notice women do a lot. We’re so afraid of being ‘the crazy girl’ or ‘the needy girl’ that we bend over backwards to let everyone know just how blasé we are.
And if that’s what’s going on, fine. Sometimes it’s nice to just go out to dinner with a man who has vaguely indecent intentions, regardless of what happens down the line. Even if you never fall in love, it’s still an opportunity to break out of your routine—to put on lipstick, see a new neighborhood, and try to like jazz.
But sometimes you need to let the crazy girl in. After all, there’s nothing level-headed or rational about falling in love—losing your mind is kind of the point.
Sure lots of people couple up for reasons other than blinding passion, and that’s fine for them. But if you are single on the sweet side of 40–or 30 for that matter–chances are you’re looking do more than make a sober choice based on whether or not you both like movies and the outdoors. You want some heat. And to get that, I think you have to let yourself go a little nuts.
So when do you call it? Well, when you feel like it. When a date with this person just doesn’t seem worth the drive, or the cab fare or the saxophone solo. When you feel twitchy because you’ve booked him on Homeland night.
If the fledging relationship is meh, of course bail. But first, ask yourself this: Is your lack of passion happening because you truly don’t feel much, or because you are afraid you might feel a lot?
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