How to start dating at 30?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Noclaf, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Noclaf

    Noclaf New Member

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    So, here I am, at thirty, with almost no dating experience. And up until recently I was okay with that, and was ready to die alone in a house full of cats. In the last two months however, I have had several people ask me out, including my crush.

    So now I'm freaking out, trying to figure out how to let one person down nicely, AND trying to figure out how to be serious with the person I had a crush on. (deep breath, we're hiking on Wednesday)

    The other wrench in this, is that I mostly identify as an ace.They've said they're okay with that, but I want to try this. I feel like I could very easily back out of any romantic entanglements and just be good friends, but that's not what I want to do. Advice?
     
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  2. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    There's no way to do it but to do it. "Thanks for your interest - I'm flattered - but I am not interested in being anything but your friend." It is going to be awkward, but you can do your part to help the awkwardness pass by being firm, kind, and unfazed. Fact is, people ask each other out sometimes and the answer is no, and the world keeps turning; your response was always a possibility, and if this person is a reasonable adult they will feel sad and a little embarrassed and keep those feelings to themselves until they pass.

    In my experience, people who are very good at being single (and I was one of them!) get super practiced at one knee-jerk thing: the automatic no/de-escalation. A person asks you out, you back off; a person goes to hold your hand, you calmly sidestep so smoothly that it might have been an accident; a person texts to say they miss you and you let your phone die before answering 18 hours later. Evading all that interest, all that potential seriousness and love - it's work I got so good at I didn't even know I was doing it.

    So if you want to do this thing seriously, the thing you have to do is see that automatic no and say a deliberate "maybe" or "yes" instead. You get asked out, and you tell yourself carefully that it's just coffee and talking, and you can always say no later; a person wants to hold you hand, and you decide that linking pinkies is enough for you right now but it is kinda nice; a person texts to say they miss you and you let yourself notice whether you miss them too and tell them so. You don't have to dive all in, you just have to stop backpedaling long enough to actually decide whether forward is a way you want to go.

    And - serious is as serious does. Just show up for the hike, be honest and kind, and then ask yourself if you would like to spend more time with this cool kind funny hiker person who likes you back. The answer might be no, but I bet it's yes, and all you have to do is slow your nervousness down long enough to hear and share the yes.

    So try it! Look, the best advice I ever got about being friends and more with other people is this: when people tell you about themselves, believe them. Your crush is telling you that they are fine with you being ace (and let's go to "damn fine" instead of "blah, fine" with that), and your job is to let them monitor their fine-ness with the situation and be honest with you, not second guess how they feel about it. Your job is to show up, ask for what you need, and respect their boundaries. Your job is to figure out what romance means to you in this context, what kind of affection and contact you value and enjoy. This is new, so it might take some experimentation and exploration to figure out where that line is for you between friendship and romance. Let Crush take care of Crush's feelings and opinions; your whole job is to be honest and thoughtful about yours.

    If I liked someone who was ace, as a demisexual queermo, I would honestly evaluate how I thought that would work for me. I would be prepared to have some conversations about the role of sex in my relationships and how we would navigate that while respecting everybody's needs and boundaries. But I would not say that I was okay with something that I wasn't, and I wouldn't make it my ace partner's problem to process my feelings around their aceness. And, if I was that person, and after a few hikes my ace interest said, "Hey, I like you a lot and am excited and nervous to try this out! But I know about myself that I am way more comfortable with close friendship than romance, and I might try to take that road out of nervousness," I would say, "Okay, let me know if there's anything I can do to help romance feel comfortable for you, and anyway all my romance has been a lot like deep and intentional and deliberate friendship, so I totally get the fuzzy boundary!"

    If this is a person worth doing this thing with, they will be able to have these conversations. They will trust you when you say that you want to push yourself, and trust you when you say you want to stop. I feel like a broken record, but: be honest (to yourself, to your crush). Be kind (to yourself, to your crush).
     
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    rainydaze likes this.

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