Do guys believe in romance anymore? I mean, I don’t know any of my friends who are still with their high school boyfriends. And my sister only found a guy she wanted to marry when she realized she was getting close to 30, and all of a sudden she met this guy that totally fit everything she wanted. I mean, what’s the secret? Why can’t you stay with a guy you’ve been with for a while but seem to be willing to jump into something when you think, “something needs to happen?” I mean, I thought you found someone when you least expected but it seems like all the girls I know get with the guy of their dreams exactly when they think they need to. I’m just so frustrated. I want to be with someone, but my old bf is out of the picture and there never seems to be a good choice around on campus.
You’ve got about 10 questions, and I’m not sure where to begin.
Yes, guys still believe in romance. Just, you know, to each their own. To some it’s building you a shelf (aka the Casey) and to others it’s stealing a blue French horn (aka the Moseby), while still there’s always the classic dinner and a movie. He picks the restaurant, you pick the movie (aka The Dude). The concept of romance has changed with the times. This has to do with what’s considered appropriate, technological advances, and courtship protocol. Which boils down to what we learn from TV, movies, book, ebooks, theater, video games, and what our baby boomers or post-boomer parents are teaching us either on purpose or by accident (never knew it wasn’t cool to grab a girl’s butt until I got smacked for it in 3rd grade, thanks mom and dad and all the therapy it lead to.) It’s also as much of a question as to what you think constitutes romance. He’ll have his opinion (maybe it’s bringing you callalilais, aka the Captain Awesome) and you’ll have yours (watching how great he is with your ex-bf’s bff’s wife’s adopted sister, aka the Alex Casey). Tomatoes, tomahtos. The question becomes can you recognize the romantic offering and then can he, and then can you both sorta work on adapting to a place of mutual romance. And that, in a nutshell, might be the theorem to successfully dating someone early on in a relationship.
Then there’s the question of what the secret is. Is there a secret? I don’t know. I’d venture a guess that the reason you’re sister found someone when she realized she was approaching a certain milestone in her life was having to do with triggering an attitude of being open to someone. Being open to connecting is the key. If you’re not, and a lot of people aren’t for a lot of the time, then you’re not going to enter into anything that’ll be healthy long-term. High school sweethearts exist. I know a couple that’ve been together for 15 years, both 33. What’s their secret? They grew as people together. They compliment each other’s personality. They’re each other’s best friend. There only ever seems like there’s a formula, but in reality all the things I’ve just described take f*ck ton of work…and yes, a f*ck ton is larger than a metric ton.
Sometimes what provokes us to being open can come from a variety of factors. Whether it’s freaking out about where you are in your life or making a decision to work at letting a relationship you’re in evolve, it all comes back to the one common denominator: you’re willing to take a leap. You’re willing to trust yourself that you’re ready to take it. Fear’s the killer. Fear of falling short of what’s expected. Fear of being alone. Fear of settling.
You’re frustrated and you want reassurance. I can reassure you this much: when you let go of the anger and make the decision to be open with a guy, you might find things more fulfilling than you expected. And that’s probably part of the “secret,” letting go of expectations, letting go of worrying about how things are working for someone else, and just focusing on the present without overanalyzing the past or future. One you can’t control and one you can’t change.
[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall? We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to askthedude [at] collegecandy [dot] com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time. So bring. it. on.]