Reasons I went for it:
– He has a great personality
– He’s very sociable
– He’s kind
– We have things in common
– He’s smart
– He loves me a lot
Reasons I was so f***ing hesitant:
– Age gap
– His looks (I’m talking maaaybe a 6 out of 10)
– Our height difference (I’m 5’10”, he’s 5’8″)
I’m absolutely aware those are superficial things, but: 1) they cause me to not WANT/DESIRE to have sex with him; I don’t feel that FIRE, strong PASSION where I want to rip his clothes off; and 2) part of me is self-conscious about being with him in public (not around friends, that’s fine) because I think people will think “what is she doing with him?”. I’m no Charlize Theron, but I’m good-looking and I don’t like feeling like I’m settling for less than I could have, especially at 22!
I’ve dated “hot guys” in the past and wasn’t interested in sex, but I didn’t have the connection with them that I have with my current boyfriend, so I don’t know if my lack of interest in sex is just a trait of mine or if there’s someone out there not only with whom I connect on a deep emotional level but also with whom I can have mind-blowing sex.
Am I settling too soon? — The Young Girlfriend in a Funk
Yeah, you’re settling too soon, but not for the reasons you think. You aren’t settling too soon because your boyfriend is a six instead of a nine. You aren’t settling too soon because you’re young. You aren’t even settling too soon because your boyfriend is 12 years older than you (although that’s a lot at your age, and it’s a big deal, and it would probably eventually create some significant issues between you). You’re settling too soon simply because you’re using the word “settle” in relation to a significant other. There’s no bigger sign that you aren’t with a good match than feeling like you’re settling. A genuine reason you might feel like you’re settling is that you don’t know yourself yet, so how on earth could you know what kind of guy you want to “settle down” with or spend your life with or commit to or whatever it is you think you’re doing with this guy — or you think you’re supposed to be doing — that is causing you so much anxiety?
First of all, you don’t need to commit to anyone. You’re allowed to be a free agent who dates multiple guys, or maybe who even dates just one guy but isn’t committed and hasn’t defined the relationship in terms of BOYFRIEND and GIRLFRIEND. Just casually date. It sounds like you’ve had a few experiences with guys who don’t really turn you on, so figure out what it is that DOES turn you on. Apparently, it’s not your current boyfriend. Fine. Don’t “settle” then. Keep getting to know other people. Keep getting to know yourself. Maybe you aren’t even into guys at all. Maybe you like women. Maybe you’re asexual. Maybe you want to be treated a way you haven’t been treated by anyone you’ve dated yet. Who knows! Clearly, you don’t. So keep experimenting and figuring out. There’s no timetable on when you’re supposed to figure this out. There’s no deadline for when to find a forever match. You don’t even need a forever match. You could be single forever. Or you could find the perfect person for you when you’re 32, and you spend the next ten years having all kinds of adventures with all the different people you might get to know — people and experiences that will continue to shape and help you figure out who you are.
In the meantime, please know this: No one is looking at you with another person, whether it’s your current boyfriend or someone else, and asking themselves why you’re with him. People simply don’t care about anyone else’s dating life as much as you apparently think they do. At most, they might think, “Ooh, he scored! Lucky guy.” But they’re not going, “Woah, that beautiful 22-year-old with the guy who’s shorter than she is really settled! I wonder what’s wrong with her that she’d date a six when she could probably get a nine?!” No one’s thinking that. The fact that YOU are thinking that about yourself and worried about others thinking that is a clear sign that you don’t know a whole lot about life, yourself, and the world, and you really have no business “settling.” You need to be doing the opposite of settling: go collect experiences, have adventures, date around, lift the anchor of your life that’s kept you safely tethered to everything you’ve already seen and experienced and sail for a while. It’s the only way you’ll grow. It’s the only way you’ll truly learn enough about yourself to know who you are and what will make a great match for you. And until you find the match that makes you forget the word “settle,” don’t even think about doing it.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.