Digital marketer in finance, ballet dancer joffreyschool, senior writer indieshuffle. We were entering that phase now. I find it hard to ask for what I want. I knew we needed to have the talk. We were at a stalemate. We needed to get away from the dogs in the park. We had assembled the tiny beginnings a relationship in the form of a rocketship that needed to be launched. It needed to go somewhere. It was the stratosphere or bust. Having had very little practice at giving the talk, I rehearsed in my head how I might start it..
A deep rumbling fear that David would reject me got in my way every time. I tried so hard one time, in an attempt to will myself to say anything remotely appropriate, I took a deep breath in and opened my mouth wide hoping the right words would just fall out. Instead I walked home alone, no talk, convinced I was hurtling towards early dating doom no matter what.
I followed the dating advice frequently given to women instructing you to never text the guy first. Let the guy do that. If he likes you then he will. That advice only works to a point. With the same stubbornness of never having the talk, I rarely messaged David first either. Instead I did nothing. Here again was my fear of rejection but in a different context. I wanted to be cool.
I wanted to be pursued. By never reaching out, all I was doing was being mean and confusing us both. Those same extended periods of silence and I later found out David was holding on but thought he had done something to upset me. There was something there. It had been there all along. Without any kind of clarification, without the talk, it never went anywhere.
It just sat on the launchpad. There was no stratosphere. It never moved beyond watching the dogs in the park. In the end David moved away, to London, forcing what we almost had to come to a rapid conclusion. There was no lift off and there was no crash into a raging fire pit of dating doom.
But I still felt the impact. I cried in the shower at night in the days after he left. I was desperately sad to see him go, but I cried mostly for the torment I felt for wondering what our stratosphere might have been like. I start looking for the lessons whenever something romantically significant ends in my life. I want the lessons. I need to them to get better at assembling more early relationship rockets onto launchpads.
The lessons I took away from David were simple. If you like him, just text him. Be clear about your intent right from the start. Those are the obvious learnings. What I took away from David the most is this — you need to feel the fear and use it.
Be brave and have the talk. Be bold and ask for what you want. Use the fear of rejection to ignite a rocketship.