16 July 2011

The dating dance (and PTSD, of course)

I can be.... what's the word.... coarse, maybe? I've been through enough that I've become pretty self reliant. I can be perfectly happy sitting here working on some small project- fixing something that's broke, taking something apart, trying out some software package I just found out about. It has taken a lot of work, actually, to reach the point where I can be comfortable being by myself.

Getting to know someone else (aka dating) isn't like that frequency counter that I have on my desk that needs replacement batteries. Pursuing a potential new significant other requires a certain amount of give and take, a certain dance. A person cannot just pick up dating and work on it for a while, and then put it down a couple of hours later. People are complicated and hard to figure out.

That's where the "being coarse" comes in. I'm not always good at playing the back and forth game that dating seems to require. If I ask someone out, and they say they're busy, they might want me to chase them a little. Suggest a different day, or a different plan, or sweeten the deal. My experience has been that when someone plays that game, they're likely to play more games, so my response is kthxbye. (And then I get back to work on my frequency counter project.)

It's not that I don't care, and it's certainly not that I don't want to go on a date ever-- and I can see where that response can be interpreted as kinda coarse. ("Well, he certainly took no for an answer without a problem, so he can't really be interested....").

Of course, it could be that they really are busy, didn't expect me to do some macho pursuit thing, and kthxbye is a perfectly acceptable answer. We'll go on to go out next week or something when life's less hectic. Maybe.

It can be hard to tell if it's them playing a game, or if it's PTSD playing a game with me.

Certain bad situations, you don't stop to ask about the other person's feelings. There's a job to get done, and whether or not you like me or I like you doesn't mean shit. We do what we can to get along and work together to accomplish the mission.

The PTSD bubbles up when you've lost enough friends and girlfriends to last a lifetime that you're not half finished living. You start feeling that if you take an interest in someone, you're taking a risk. You're vulnerable. And you get really good at not letting that risk get out of hand. So when that person you've asked out says no, you take it at face value and don't give it any more emotion than you have already.

So just say yes, already. I make some damn good BBQ.

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