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No, that’s not a typo.

I was having dinner with some coupled friends last week and the topic of my personal life came up as it always does. I mentioned how I had finally transcended the phase of dating girls with a big “but” to which one of the women replied, “oh, yeah, another one of our friends kept dating girls with big heads.”

Eh… Not exactly what I mean… let me explain…

I noticed I dated a number of women – half a dozen maybe – that all seemed to go the same way:
We’d go out on several dates and have a great time. This would continue for a few weeks to a couple of months then she would say, “You know, you are great, perfect, everything I’ve ever wanted… BUT:
… I’m not ready for this. Or…
… I don’t want to come out to my family yet. Or…
… I’m not over my ex of eight years and I just can’t do that to you.
… I’ve really got a lot going on right now and I kinda have a huge thing for a straight girl.

It got so I’d go out with a woman and close friends would text after dates: So – does she have a big but yet?

When it happens once, it’s an instance. Twice is a cause for comparison. When it happened three (plus!) times, I had a trend line and needed to look at the data. In the final analysis the only common denominator was: me.

The first order of business was putting a moratorium on dating until I had this thing figured out. When I lined up the situations some things became crystal clear:

  •   My picker was broken. I was subconsciously going after women who were not available and who had no ability to meet my needs. I had every indication of this from our first few encounters, yet I ignored those signs and pressed on.
  •   I had a full-court press going on. Somehow “dating” ceased to be “dating” but evolved into “interviewing for The One.” Maybe interviewing is too light. How about interrogating. Professionally, I’m not altogether a patient person, and apparently I translated well that to my personal life and most specifically dating. If I saw a glimmer of potential, I was forcing the situation to move at a lightning pace. This is likely the behavior from which lesbian U-Haul jokes stem.

How did I stop dating girls with big buts? First, the moratorium helped break the cycle and enabled me to understand and spot my own behavior. The next thing I’ve started to do is stop dating unavailable women or those who can’t meet my needs (that does require knowing one’s needs). Finally, I’ve lightened up. It’s not easy to let go, to stay in the present moment 100% of the time when that’s not your regular state of being… but it’s getting easier.

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