How much are we willing to lie about our feelings in order to look like we’re keeping our cool?
I was thinking the other day about the minefield that is dating, and it occurred to me how much I’ve lied in my own love life, all in the name of appearances. In this case, the appearance of being in control of my feelings.
Who the hell are we kidding here. Are you in control of your feelings? No. I didn’t think so. Because being in control of them would make them calculated moves, not feelings.
The lies I’m thinking of are lies that I have to believe we’ve all told to another person at some point. For me, it always seems to be acting like I don’t care. “Oh, I don’t care if you see other people, I’m cool with that,” I’ve said that many a time, and it’s always been easily accepted. “Okay, great, so we’re on the same page,” he will inevitably say. And I’ll say something like “Absolutely.” Plenty of times I’ve said this, I was telling the truth. But there were definitely times when I wasn’t.
The thought process behind that statement of being “cool” with things (which, it’s worth mentioning, I haven’t made in several years) goes like this: “If I really like you, I don’t want to see anyone except you. But you just asked me if we can see other people, which means you don’t care about me as much as I care about you, otherwise you probably wouldn’t want to be with anyone but me either. So I’m going to lie and say that I’m cool with this not being exclusive, because otherwise I look like a needy little woman.”
Phew. I can’t imagine what this process is like for men. And frankly, that’s just my point.
I think of all the times I’ve tried to play it cool, and I have to imagine that there’s been at least one situation where I’ve been with another person who is also trying to play it cool. Because neither of us wants to look like we’re falling harder than the other. So you get stuck in this weird situation where two people really like each other, and are for some reason just not together.
Because, you know, it’s important to look like you’re in control.
This problem would be so very easy to fix if it weren’t for pride. If we weren’t too wrapped up in being in control and acting cool – I mean what are we, sixth graders trying to get into the popular crowd?
But there are a million different things that complicate the idea of simply being honest about what we want. Because what if what you want isn’t the same as what the other person wants? What if you’re rejected? What if you’re already in love with someone who only sort of likes you? What if (and this is the worst in my opinion), you’re told that you don’t know what you feel, even after you’re honest about it? The what ifs are what keep us from being honest. And that’s a shame, because you can’t possibly know how something will end up until you give it go.
Not that I care, or anything. Because if I did, I’d run the risk of caring more than you.
And isn’t that the scariest thing in the world?