Dear Smashera,

I’ve been out of the dating game for a while, and recently I went out with a guy and hooked up with him. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been in this stage of a relationship or courtship or whatever and I don’t know what’s going on. The other day, he texted me to hang out. I told him I couldn’t, but could the next day. He said we should just “play it by ear.” Was he just trying to booty call me? I don’t want to be treated like a snicker bar. Should I drop him? What’s my next move?

Sincerely,

Newbie


Dear Newbie,

Reentering the dating scene can be an emotional rollercoaster, especially if you’ve exiled yourself from it for some time. Meeting new people and forging new connections can be really fun and exciting, but also really confusing, disappointing, and even hurtful. All of the ambiguity can be stressful, especially if you’re a human that likes answers up front, boundaries clear and in place.

Unfortunately, it’s rare that you’ll ever get that kind of open and honest communication right off the bat. While you may want someone to come in and tell you how great and special you are, that novelty wears off quick. Beware of people that tell you exactly what you want to hear right away. That’s a classic love bombing technique that can open the door for really devastating emotional abuse. So, right now this kid is being ambiguous, but is that a bad thing?

It seems like you’re trying to attribute a lot of complicated meanings to a pretty straight forward response. I don’t know if he’s booty calling you, preparing to ghost, or being a flake, because I’m not a psychic and I don’t know him. From what you’ve said, you had a casual hookup and are following up. Both of you being people with separate lives, your free time simply will not always line up. Instead of keeping yourself up at night trying to figure out what it is that he’s thinking or feeling, step back and figure out what it is that you want.

If you’ve been super into this person for a long time, then you may have an idea if you want to start a relationship with them or not. In which case, if your feelings are that serious, it’s time to make those feelings known so you don’t end up being a booty call or side piece. If you’re not sure how into them you are, then does it really matter if they’re all that into you? If your endgame is a casual hookup, then maybe you have that. If you’re looking for a deeper, more “real” relationship, then that’s going to take time to cultivate and you simply will not know that just yet.

Emotional vulnerability is fucking scary. Very few people just open up and share their secrets with just anyone, no matter how kismet they feel. If you are looking to share that kind of connection with someone, it’s going to take time and patience. So why rush it? Make sure they’re worthy of your trust and that you’re ready to handle them with the same care.

So, what’s your next move? That’s up to you. A lot of ancient goddesses ruled both love and war, and I suspect there are good reasons for this. Instead of trying to calculate your next move like a battle plan, maybe back away and see if he reaches out to you. It feels like there’s a lot of needless pressure being placed on this situation for no good reason. If you have the opportunity to see him again, try to go in without expectations. Instead of spending every minute with him trying to figure out if he * like * likes you, wouldn’t it be more fun to be present and enjoy the company for what it is? Maybe you’ll end up being great together and maybe this is the end of the road. Regardless, it’s a good idea to take time to build trust with another person before you give them all of your love. Use both hands.

Kisses,
Smashera

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