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don't tell me how I feel...

Posted by Mr. Quimby on Friday, April 27, 2007

I've been thinking about this a lot recently.  I feel like it's hard enough to know how you feel about someone without other people pushing.  Okay, we've all heard the "we're just friends" line.  And we kind of roll our eyes because it's obvious to us that there's more there than just friendship.

But there's something to be said about letting people figure things out on their own.  Isn't that the whole point of dating?  When we date someone we're trying to get to know the other person.  But we're also trying to figure out our own feelings.

Love is complicated.  I've known people who swear that it was "love at first sight" for them.  And it would be awfully nice if that happened all the time.  We could just walk down the street and BAM! there would be our soulmate right in front of us and we'd just know and the only thing left would be the happily-ever-after stuff.

Maybe love at first sight does exist for some people.  But a lot of the time I think "love at first sight" is really that giddy "I've just met someone" feeling.  It doesn't always last.  Gradually that high levels out.  And then you look at what's left and think, "Is this really right for me?  Is this love?"

It just really bugs me is when someone says, "I think you have really strong feelings for that person and you're just not willing to admit it."  Fine.  Maybe I do.  But if I don't want to admit it, then let's not talk about it.  Obviously it's not something I'm ready to deal with yet.

When you look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the need for love and the need for belonging are really important.  We all want to be loved.  We all want to feel like there is someone special in our lives.  So I think it's really easy to fool ourselves into thinking we're in love.  We meet someone, there's that giddy feeling inside, and we think "This is it.  This is the right person for me."  And we are so desperate for attention and affection and physical contact that we convince ourselves it's love.

And then you have all those people on outside of the situation saying things like "You know you really like him.  Admit it already."  As if it isn't confusing enough to figure these things on my own, now I have all these other people telling me what I feel.  I'm sorry.  I didn't realize you're the expert on my feelings.  Thanks for telling me what to think.

Okay, I'm confused.  I'll admit that.  It's hard to know what's really real and what's not.  I've been hurt in the past.  I've been confused about my feelings many times.  And I'm tired of it.  I don't want to say "I love you" unless I really mean it.  So I'd rather not say it all--at least not until I'm really sure.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to turn my back on a potential relationship because I'm not ready to admit my feelings.  To me part of the relationship is exploring my feelings.  If I'm attracted to someone and he's attracted to me, I'm willing to see where it could go.  I'm willing to try.

Maybe it's love.  Maybe it's not.  But don't tell me what I'm feeling.  I need to figure that out on my own.

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