I Honestly Don’t Understand How To Date Like An Adult

I’m a grown woman, but I still approach romance like I’m barely in my 20s. I don’t know if it’s because of the dating culture around me or what, but I have no idea what traditional dating even looks like anymore. It makes me feel super awkward. Here’s why I feel like I have no clue:

  1. I never go on real dates. I don’t know if it’s just me or if people in my age group don’t date anymore, but I’ve hardly ever been taken out by a man. I guess I always date guys who have no money or no imagination. Often we’re friends first as well, or we work together, so it just happens. I don’t even know how to go on a normal date.
  2. I’m never officially asked out. I never get asked out by anyone. I wait patiently but it never happens and I get tired of being single. I need to at least get laid, dammit. This leads to a bad pattern of me easing into casual hookup situations and still not getting asked out.
  3. I can’t find a guy who doesn’t just want to Netflix and chill. I would love to be romanced, but I swear that men who do that don’t exist anymore. They want to be as lazy and cheap as possible, which means I never get treated like a grown woman. It’s frustrating as can be.
  4. If I do amazingly get asked on a date, I’m awkward AF. I’m so unused to going out on actual dates that I have no idea how to behave on one. I’m nervous and anxious and weird. It’s like it takes me aback to even be asked. How sad is that?
  5. I fall into casual dating. It’s so easy to do, no matter how hard I try to go about it differently. I want to date like an adult but apparently, I choose all the wrong men. It must be the places I hang out and the company I keep. I obviously need to stop meeting guys through friends and at work, but I don’t know how else to do it.
  6. I’m afraid to get excited about new guys. I keep trying to play it cool, even though that’s not really me. I feel like if I’m too enthusiastic right away, guys run. I don’t want to play games but I don’t know what else to do.
  7. I end up sucking at communication. I’d like to communicate clearly, but I get nervous and worried. I’m so in my head about how I should act that I stop explaining myself at all. I get flustered and everything I want to say goes out the window. It’s either that or I put off talking about stuff for too long.
  8. I don’t want to come across as crazy. It’s so weird not to know how I’m expected to be. Ideally, I could act exactly like myself, but that doesn’t ever feel like it works out. I want to have someone like me for me. Is that so awful? I wouldn’t think so.
  9. I overthink everything. I get really in my head and overanalyze everything that’s going on, especially when I’m first dating someone. I want to be a grown-up but I feel like a giddy, silly, confused teenager. I know that the guy involved never has any clue that I’m worrying so much.
  10. I expect guys to want to talk as much as I do. I don’t know what to think when a guy doesn’t communicate with me a lot. I feel like we’ll never get to know each other—I have no patience. I’m not used to a normal pace when it comes to the beginning of a relationship because I always jump in too fast. I’m trying to change but it’s really hard.
  11. I get paranoid that guys will lose interest in me. If a guy doesn’t pay me consistent attention, I don’t know how to react. Guys ghost out so frequently these days that if there’s any hint of a change, I worry that they aren’t into me anymore. I don’t want to constantly question them but I don’t know how else I can feel secure.
  12. I want a guy to want me more than I want him. I feel like the only way to ensure that I’m comfortable in the relationship is to find a dude who likes me way more than I like him. I know that’s not at all an adult way to proceed, but I don’t want to be at a disadvantage. I’m tired of feeling like the only one who cares.
  13. I have a preconceived idea of how relationships are supposed to be. I know how I think dating should look, but that’s not necessarily accurate when it comes to real life. I freak out if things don’t go how I think they should. That’s because I don’t know how to have a normal, healthy, mature partnership.
  14. I’m easily disappointed and bad at hiding it. I have high expectations—I’m perfectly clear about that. I try not to do it because I know it’s a losing situation, but I get disappointed when men don’t meet those expectations. The problem is I end up mostly unhappy so obviously, I need to calm down and assess the individual situation.
  15. I have a tough time separating my sense of self-worth from my dating life. This is why I’m always happier single. I know who I am and I like that person until some guy gets involved in the mix. Then I childishly revert to my dysfunctional norm of wanting constant approval and validation from my partner. I’m working on it, but it’s tough to change decades of messed-up thinking.
  16. I’m not great at balancing my regular life and dating. This is the other reason I hardly ever date – I don’t know how to make time. It’s always said that if a guy is worth it, you’ll figure it out, but I don’t know. I simply have no room in my life for one more element. I know that this immature line of thinking might cause me to stay forever alone.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at amyhorton.net.