Dating Realities Vs. Dating Fantasies
Okay when I tell you that you need to let rationality have a seat at the table when it comes to the early stages of dating, what I failed to iterate is that you need to let REALITY have a seat at the table too.
I am a self confessed dreamer. I’m a writer, a creative, a traveler and a runner. The only way I learnt to suffer through hours and kilometres of running was to learn to get lost in dreams. Sometimes I use the time to sensibly assess adult shit or make future plans, but mostly not. Mostly it's just a space to fantasize. Regardless of the risks of dipping into a fantasy land, I still standby this habit and I’ll never not be a dreamer.
However, where this dreamscape mentality can land you in hot water is when you’re in the early stages of dating. I do heed some of my own advice. I don’t meet a guy and imagine our wedding day after 2 Chardonnays and some light petting. I do have my very own version of fantasy though. Usually it involves the intertwining of independent lives, mutual adoration, good sex and a lot of adventures. For the most part this is all innocent fun. Where it does get messy though is when this habitual day dreaming slowly seeps into your conscious interactions, and expectations of other humans.
Every individual has their very own version reality, and their own fantasies too. Assuming that our fantasies will match with another human’s reality is very dangerous territory.
When we date there are often 2 narratives at play. There’s the reality of the situation you are involved in which includes all the facts; dates, text messages, communication and face to face interactions. Then there’s the other, unspoken narrative. This is the one that lives independently, in your head. It's your perceptions of reality, and the ideals that you subconsciously apply to the person or connection. Where this gets complicated is when we start to confuse our reality and our ideals (our fantasies). Confusion really sets in when we expect the other person, who again, is a completely different entity to get on board our fantasy roller coaster, something which they’ve probably got no idea exists. When you line up your expectations of a person’s behaviour without the clear articulation of your ideals then your expectations will never be met. They can’t be.
As an example, let's pretend I’ve travelled to Singapore for work and go on two dates with a new gentleman I’ve connected with over there. He knows I’m there for work and have my own travel agenda. He lives there so he’s also busy living his own life and juggling priorities. After two great dates I assume he’ll want to see me again so mentally make the space for that. We both get on with our lives yet I fail to communicate that I would actually like to see him again. By the time the conversation comes around organically I’m halfway through packing my bags to leave and as a result am frustrated by not having the chance to see him. You can see where I went wrong right? I played according to the ideal that I would see him again without communicating, in reality that I would like to. He can’t respond to my fantasy if it remains in-articulated. The result is both people left confused and slightly annoyed at the missed opportunity.
You’re playing a whole different ballgame and expecting the other person to adhere to the rules of a game they didn’t even know they were involved in. It’s always good to have clear boundaries in dating dating but you also need to make sure that your expectations are in line with REALITY, and not inline with your unspoken ideals.
Never let anyone cross your boundaries, but don’t get ahead of yourself in assuming that everything will unravel according to your unspoken fantasies either.