Adapted from a recent online discussion.
In the dating game, don't assume worst about yourself
Va.: Just found out the guy I like — who I genuinely thought liked me, too, and who I was very excited about — just started dating someone else. Another guy I dated a few weeks ago for just a few very nice dates, who then disappeared into thin air, is now dating someone else. The guy I had a drama-filled, two-year-long relationship with that ended earlier this year is now deliriously happy with someone else. My college boyfriend is now engaged to someone who was a friendly acquaintance of ours in college (I'd lost touch with her before my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, she's a great girl, and I don't want to get back together with him).
What am I doing wrong here? How and why am I continuously misreading these situations so badly?
Carolyn: So, you think you're so awful, you send men running to the nearest set of welcoming arms?
I'm sorry, I can't confirm your worst fears — unless your worst fear is that you're making a big deal out of nothing. I don't see any patterns here, with the possible exception of the two most recent guys — whom you barely knew/dated, so there goes any possibility of significance.
Think about it. Your drama-filled, two-year guy could be on the same doomed, drama-filled path with this new girl as he traveled with you. Or, the two of them could just be more compatible with each other than you were with him, which would be a nice bit of luck for them that says nothing bad about you.
Your college boyfriend and your former acquaintance . . . well, you don't want him, she does, and the fact that you and he sorta-knew her back when you were dating is neither an unusual twist to the story, nor relevant. People travel in fairly small circles, and it's just such common histories that bring people together socially.
Really the only common thread is that men you currently like/once liked/wanted to marry after one date have moved on to date other women. But that's what people do.
So instead of reaching for negative interpretations of your past — and pining for the guy you liked in the 21 days since dating the other guy you liked — live in the present a bit. (Which means keeping your imagination out of the future, too.)
Anonymous: Re: Va.: The engagement/marriage snowball is beginning for me, mostly among acquaintances, not good friends, but still! We're only 25. I thought I had a few more years, and I'm looking around me, and it seems like everyone from my horrible ex-boyfriend to people I've just met are recently engaged.
Now I'm feeling worried about my one-and-a-half year, long-distance relationship and how it probably will not result in marriage/long-term companionship/whatever since we have pretty different priorities, and wondering what the point is, then.
Carolyn: That's legitimate stuff to wonder about, but don't wonder about it just because your herd is headed for the altar. You have all the years you want/need. The time to marry is when you and your mate would be together whether you married or not. The rest is scenery.