#ModernDating: How Much Attention Is Too Much Attention?
If you’re anywhere between 18 and 85, chances are that you are part of the Modern Dating movement. Dating apps, text conversations, and dick pics seem to be the order of the day. But what about old-fashioned romance, writing letters to your lover, sending flowers, whispering sweet nothings, and actually waiting for The One? Is it all dead? Do you now have to make peace with “Wanna hang?” texts as opposed to proper dinner invitations? Honestly, we don’t know. But it helps to know you’re not alone, right? In Hauterfly’s new Modern Dating column, our Managing Editor explores this crazy world and goes through the motions with you — all from personal experience. Don’t forget to log in every Monday.
As with everything, dating has its pros and cons. The good and bad thing about dating nowadays is that you meet a whole host of people — online and offline. And when I say host, I mean all sorts of freaks. That’s not an insult — I’m my own freak too — but your freak and my freak may not work.
One guy I started talking to on Tinder said “I love you” 3 days into our conversations. Naturally, I panicked and unmatched him. He then found me on Instagram and till date, continues to comment on and like my pictures. Moreover, he lived in Navi Mumbai, so I knew it would never work.
Another guy (biggest freak I’ve encountered yet) basically started treating me like his girlfriend before we’d even met. I kid you not. “I’m cooking this today”, “I’m going here this evening”, and the dreaded, “Where are you?”
Once I told him that I wasn’t interested so we shouldn’t meet, he continued stalking me on every platform available to him. He pleaded to meet me, even if it was just 5 minutes, on WhatsApp before I blocked him; then he pinged me on Facebook; and then one day, my phone started ringing.
I was walking around a mall that evening waiting for a friend, when I saw his name flashing on my phone. It took me a minute, because by then I had, naturally, forgotten his name. Once it clicked, I slowly started looking around me to see if he was in the vicinity. Scenes from every I Know What You Did Last Summer movie flashed in my mind.
I, for one, am all for honesty. If you really like someone, even on the first meeting, tell him or her. Honesty, as a policy, definitely worked in my favour. But there is a vast difference between showing considerable interest and stalking. And if someone has made his or her disinterest known, then please, for the love of God, move the fuck on.
And mind you, this doesn’t apply only for men. I’ve heard enough stories from guys where the woman has gotten clingy too, planning a wedding and babies by the second meeting. Ideally, even in an old-fashioned romance sense, you shouldn’t do this.
So what’s this magic line we speak of? How do you know where to draw it? How much is too much?
You know what I learnt? There is just no way of knowing. Much like a pain threshold, everyone’s threshold for emotions is different.
Someone you like may genuinely like you back, and yet, when you utter words like ‘exclusive’, ‘relationship’, or ‘commitment’, they will balk and run. The reasons could vary from a) s/he is genuinely not looking to jump into a relationship (and you’re not a Hindi film hero/heroine who will be able to change her/his mind and life), and b) s/he is commitment phobic.
I know the term ‘commitment phobic’ sounds like the person is trying to be cool, but that’s not it. The ones who are truly ‘phobic’, like the cold-sweat-anxiety-attack kinds, are usually insecure, afraid people. They fear getting hurt. Guard up, no commitment, no pain. Simple, right? If only it worked that way.
At one point, I was spending a fair amount of time with one guy. My friends joked about how we were in a relationship without really knowing it. I laughed. And then I made a grave mistake. I told him what my friends had said (in humour), and a dark shadow fell over his face.
Later he told me that he liked me, enjoyed spending time with me, was actually happiest when he was around me, but had freaked out on hearing this comment. I couldn’t roll my eyes any more than I already was.
Afterward, a fair bit of drama ensued, and I realised that he was a thoroughly bruised, broken person, and it would take a lot to fix that. While I do love fixing people, it was too much, even for me.
Another friend started chatting, meeting, and getting fairly close to this one guy who, for all practical purposes, was great boyfriend material. Until her expectations exceeded what he could offer, and he politely excused himself. While she still kicks herself for the way she behaved, she doesn’t blame him because, clearly, it was too much for him.
The point is, you should listen to your heart. Yes, often your heart will give you shitty advice, and the other person will turn around and leave. Let them. Life is too short to not do what you want to, and to spend time chasing people who don’t want you back.
Want to text someone? Do it. Want to make a plan? Do it. Want to kiss someone? Do it. Because if today is the last day you’re living, it should be a happy one. One in which you did exactly what you wanted to.
Do as you please, and don’t give a damn about what people think or say.
But, for the love of god, don’t stalk. It’s illegal.