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The Dating Game

By Alison Henry

Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

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Photo by LGray Photography

In "Miles From the Aisle," former CB editor Alison Henry takes you on an irreverent trip down the often rocky road of relationships. She can be reached at alisonghenry@gmail.com.

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If you’ve been following my column, you know by now that I am a serial monogamist. But I am happy to announce, dear readers, that I have since reformed my parasitic ways: No longer do I glom on to the first person with a Y chromosome that comes my way.

Dating has always been a foreign concept to me. I typically dive into relationships quickly and with little regard to compatibility. I am infamous for justifying why someone is right for me – or how he could be some day – without actually taking stock in what I’ve gotten myself into. And the idea of casually seeing more than one person at a time has always made me feel a bit icky.

What if someone’s feelings get hurt? Won’t this feel like cheating? Is it really possible to like more than one person at a time? I can’t do this!

But as it turns out, I can. I’ve spent the last few weeks dating a variety of men in this fine city, and I’ve grown exponentially in the process. With variety comes experience, and with experience comes knowledge – a kind of knowledge I just wasn’t privy to before. Monogamy is great, but everyone owes it to themselves to be truly single and uncommitted at least once in their lives.

It is almost as if I can literally feel the dusty, abandoned corners of my brain being used for the first time. My friendships are stronger and more important to me, my personal time is more valued and I’ve even managed to tone down that annoying guilt complex. I’ve learned to compartmentalize my emotions and wait to see if any of these potential relationships show promise. And if they don’t, I no longer hesitate to walk away.

Take the case of the friendly, young neurologist I met uptown one evening. He was attractive, we had a great conversation despite the insanely loud surroundings and he (also) wasn’t drinking – a big plus in my book. We exchanged numbers and met for dinner, but this time, there was nothing there. Rather than keep stringing him along with excuses – which I would have done in my previous life – the next time he asked me out I told him I enjoyed meeting him, but I didn’t think it was something I was interested in pursuing.

Or the case of the radio and TV personality I met through a friend. He, too, was attractive, ambitious, works in a similar industry and we got along great on the phone. As an added bonus to both of us, I had no freakin’ idea who he was before meeting him (thanks to that rather large rock I’m apparently living under).

But just because we made sense on paper, didn't mean we'd necessarily work well in real life. Despite my effort to genuinely get to know him, he spent his time hiding behind a veil of ambiguity and crude text messages. Although I was pretty confident there was more to him than what he lead on – he is, after all, quite intelligent and insightful if you catch him at the right moment – it wasn't worth all the games to find out.

I’ve found myself thinking with this kind of clarity much more, recently. Given that I am a woman – with a few OCD tendencies at that – this is nothing short of a miracle. I’m not sure if there’s a cause-effect relationship between my sudden absence of over-analyzing and my new approach to dating, but this refreshing burst of enlightenment has definitely made my life a lot more fun – and a whole lot easier.

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