About two and a half months ago, I started dating a guy I met on Tinder. Both of us were newly single—I was fresh out of a one-year relationship and he was five months out of a year and his only relationship. From there, we started texting every day and saw each other as often as we could, given our schedules and the holidays. The conversation was amazing.
The sex was BOMB. And we checked in regularly to see where each of us was at—we both admitted to being in a weird headspace but still really liking each other. Three weeks ago, I invited him, very casually, to attend my birthday party.
Then, this weekend, I noticed that he happened to update his Tinder pictures and it has me going insane! The pics he updated are not even good—one is him licking an ice cream cone and the other is a mirror pic. Honestly, I wish I could tell him they look dumb, but selfishly I want him to just remember how beautiful and amazing I am and text me instead. Which, like, I would want for him? And I feel dumb because intellectually I saw this coming from a mile away, but I still really like the dude and miss him.
How long should I wait up for him? They must sit alone in a room with a marshmallow for several minutes. Some of the children can handle it.
They touch the marshmallow, smell the marshmallow, push it away. Others stuff it into their mouth before the experiment supervisor is practically out the door. But those who wait are rewarded with one more gorgeous marshmallow, and then they get to feast on both. This is the lesson most of us are taught as children: Be patient and good things will come to you.
So it makes sense to me that part of you believes that if you are good and patient, your reward will come to you. Connection has been commodified for easy consumption. Chats and dates are literally at our fingertips. What you experienced was a connection powerful enough to make you want something more defined. Is it possible his needs will align with yours in the future?
But putting your own love life on hold will have no impact on how his future unfolds. And, perhaps even more tragically, it could lead you to miss out on other connections that are available to you, with people whose needs actually do align with your own. I think you already know this, because you point to it in your letter. You know that you may be hurting yourself by holding on. No matter what feelings are keeping you hanging on, I think there is actually just one big obstacle that is keeping you from letting go.
As I read your letter, what struck me is that it is loaded with judgments. You judge the guy you were dating as unready for a relationship. You judge his capacity for dealing with breakups. And you judge yourself, very harshly, for daring to keep caring about someone.
For hoping for a happy ending. For the simple act of having a heart. Having a strong sense of judgment can be a wonderful tool that helps us to make sound choices. When we start to think there is always a right way or a wrong way to be, when we put pressure on ourselves to have all the answers, we can enter a state of fear, believing we are always in danger of not getting things right. Have you taken the time to acknowledge what a difficult emotional experience this has been for you?
I can completely understand why you are having such a hard time letting go. You met someone who made you feel wonderful. And I can imagine how it felt to see those new Tinder pictures. Unless you are someone who is totally immune to jealousy, I cannot imagine seeing those pictures and feeling nothing.
You are simply a caring person with a tender heart and that is certainly not something for which you should punish or shame yourself. I am very sorry that you got hurt, but I am glad you connected with this person. It takes a lot of courage to open up after a breakup, and it sounds like this guy gave you the opportunity to experience joy, intimacy, and a new way of connecting.
In the meantime, I think the best step you can take toward healing is making space for yourself to grieve. Give yourself space to feel sad. Give yourself lots of kindness and love. Give your heart the attention you need and soothe it with whatever soothes you. When I am feeling a bit stuck, one of my favorite ways to tend to an aching heart is with poetry. And sometimes I read the great master, Dr. You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win? And IF you go in, should you turn left or right… or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
The Waiting Place… Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or the waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.