How To Not Freak Out While Dating
The Hairpin recently came with a Guide to Crying in Public, which (clearly) reminds me of all the dumb times I’ve cried in public. I would say about a quarter to one half of those times were dating-related– though pretty varied in terms of the types of “dating” situations. Here’s my guide to very specific dating-type situations and how I or my friends ended up, or should have ended up, talking myself/themselves down from the ledge– either from crying or doing something cah-razy stupid.
1) First significant fight
This is quite frankly, the best of the worst in a relationship– you’re still feeling each other out, so you sort of have a good excuse if you’re the one who fucked up. Though, at the same time, it could signal the beginning of the end– which is probably why you’re freaking out. Here’s the thing: you actually don’t know. It’s only your first fight. Especially if it’s something unrelated to your person-to-person interactions, it’s probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Of course, regardless of which side you’re on, you should learn from it– both in terms of the way you are and the way the other person is. The way you talk yourself down from it is thinking of it as a chance to make your first mark on how you want the relationship to be in terms of communication and basic ground rules– in a way, it can be empowering.
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2) I’m-so-sick-of-this-relationship-get-me-outta-here fight
Now this is the worst of the worst. This is why people hate being in relationships, right here. Feeling stuck and fed up. It’s enough to make a person cry, flip out (whaddya think I’m gonna do? FLIP OUT?!), lay on the ground like in that one Radiohead video, or even cry in the shower in your nevernude shorts like Tobias Funke. You know, this or a terrible job. But anywho, the only thing you can do here is break up with the person. You KNOW you’re not going to feel completely better if you do. What you need to do here instead of “calming down” (ie trying to make things temporarily easier, but long-run harder) is use your fed-up-edness as impetus to break up once and for all. Think about how free you’ll feel from having to deal with the shit of the other person ever again. It’s like quitting a terrible job, but better.
3) Gettin’ dumped
Now, I’m talking about DIRECTLY afterwards, or like those times where you feel like WTF is happening with my life I’mgonnadosomethingnuts as a result of the breakup. If you get dumped and you have to like ride the subway home, try and take a cab as much as possible, first of all– or go hide somewhere and cry until you feel more together. Because crying on the subway is THE WORST. The best thing to do in both circumstances is go home IMMEDIATELY. Don’t go to the bar, don’t go shopping, don’t go hang out with your ex. Just go home, cry it out. When you’re done crying, work out or clean (yes, like some sort of drug addict). If you’re too depressed to work out, watch a movie on netflix that has nothing to do with your life or immerse yourself in work. Just take it piece by piece– don’t NOT deal with it, just don’t feel like you need to deal with it ALL RIGHT NOW RIGHT AWAY/ALL THE TIME.
4) Being in a two-timey sticky situation
You really got yourself into it this time, didn’t you? It does sort of make a difference as to whether or not you got caught. But even if you’re just feeling super guilty and scared about either dating 2 or more people at once on a regular basis but it’s getting to the point that it’s kinda fucked up, cheating on someone, or cheating with someone, the best thing to do is stop doing the thing that makes you feel weird. You’re going to have to choose eventually, so you need to do it now, otherwise, the guilt and self-destruction will never end. Just focus on a goal and try not to double-book yourself. If you’re caught, well, there’s no sense in trying to deny it.
Just keep your head down, say as little as possible, and never talk to that person/those people again– saying you’re sorry is really not going to help you any if at all. Just swear to yourself, if not for your sake, but for the sake of others to stop inserting yourself into the fucking up of other people’s lives– forever. It’s really less dramatic and gut-wrenching that way. Honestly, if I had to pick between being a Cathy cartoon for the rest of my life and being in some convoluted and messy two-timing situation, I would choose the former without a doubt. Ack ack and all.
5) Thinking stupid nonsensical things while drunk and getting really emotional/enraged
Sometimes letting down your inhibitions can actually make you think about things from a different perspective– which can actually be enlightening sometimes. Other times, though, you’re like WTF was I talking about? One way to really drive that home is by watching video of yourself talking “seriously” while drunk. It’s probably the worst thing ever. The good news is, I totally get what it is exactly about me that people don’t like. The bad news is, I don’t understand how people can even be around me sometimes!
But anywho, the real point is that you need to realize that you’re drunk, and although these things may totally make sense at the time, you should just sort of save it to think about in the morning. Write them down if you have to (just don’t text them!), and just revisit. It’s as simple as that. If you’re getting really fired up, just take yourself home and try and go to sleep. Chances are, you’ll probably be super glad you did.