I don’t know about you, but dating in my 20s seems like one massive joke for the universe. Not that I mind, it’s nice to know that it’s entertaining someone or something out there. Dating has changed so much over the years, no longer do you go to the local diner for a milkshake with Brad, followed by a trip to the local make out spot where you french kiss for half an hour in his car and he ‘pins’ you with his varsity badge. It seems dating was more cut and dry back then, you were either ‘going steady’ or you were single. These days there are so many different terms to use when you kinda, might be, sorta, seeing someone.
Earlier this year when I was in England with my dad we visited his friend from uni and soon enough I was accompanying two 50-something men to the local pub where we ordered food, opened a tab and drank copious amounts of cider and wine (which his friend paid for, ka-chiiiing). After a few bevvies or more we somehow got onto the topic of dating. I ended up explaining to them how these days it’s not simply you’re dating someone or you’re not, there are many different labels you could use. You could be occasionally making out when you see each other on a night out, seeing each other but not exclusive, exclusive but not boyfriend/girlfriend, dating, just ‘hanging out’, friends with benefits, boyfriend/girlfriend… I’m exhausted from just writing those options. Through my own thorough research and looking at my friends relationships I have compiled a list of some of the guys you’ll kind of sort of ‘see’ in your 20s:
The Foreign One
You either met while backpacking in Europe or on a night out back home. You don’t want to seriously date the guy but there’s something irresistible about his accent and his foreign charm. Not only does his accent have an effect on you, but so does the fact that he surfs and that you can sit and talk about travel for hours. You know it’s a fleeting romance because you won’t be in the same country for that long but neither of you are into each other that much anyway. You’ll kiss a few times and go out for drinks before the inevitable departure of one of you.
This guy thinks he has you aaaaall figured out and believes he’s the one calling all the shots. All of your friends have warned you about him and if the tables were reversed you would tell your friends to stay away. You know he isn’t boyfriend material but you hope he’ll provide you with a good time. There’s nothing that deep there and things will probably get more complicated than you intended, especially because neither of you have feelings for each other. You’ll hook up a few times before you both call it quits. Eventually blowing him off will be one of your proudest moments.
The One Who is Good on Paper
He’s smart, he’s handsome, he’s kind, he listens to you blabber on and he wears cardigans! (They’re the epitome of having your shit together right??) This guy is ticking all the boxes. Your friends love him, your family love him and you even think he’s a top guy but the spark just isn’t there… Yeah, you’re attracted to him, but just barely and yeah he’s kind to you and you have a lot of common interests, – but, for reasons you don’t understand, you’re just not that attracted to him. You’ll spend a while trying to make it work because on paper he sounds like perfect boyfriend material but you know deep down it just isn’t going to work. Being nice is not a good enough reason to date someone.
This guy is tons of fun, which is the reason why you were drawn to him but soon you’ll start to question whether he will ever graduate to adulthood. His room is an absolute war zone and you have an inkling that he doesn’t know how to feed himself other than ordering take away. This is likely a college phase but shows no sign of slowing down. While you’re seeing each other you will constantly question how much his mum still does for him. Since he’s so used to things being done for him he will probably have an arrogant streak and be super non-sympathetic because he’s only ever had to think about himself. Don’t waste your time trying to be the person who changes that.
The ‘Friend-Zoned’ Backup
I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. There have never been any romantic feelings there, at least not on your side, but you have occasionally used him as a boyfriend crutch. When you stop seeing a guy, you message him. he’s the guy that you flirt with when you feel like it but have no plans on it moving any further. It is definitely isn’t the nicest way to treat someone and you should probably stop it (seriously, stop it).
The Guy You Never Know If You’re Dating
You seem to have conversation after conversation about what exactly the two of you are… You don’t really care, you just want to know what is or isn’t ok in the ‘relationship’. “I don’t like labels”, “All of my ex girlfriends were crazy”, “I just want to see where this goes” and “I’m not ready for a boyfriend/girlfriend” are all phrases that commonly fall out of his mouth and that second one is a huge warning sign and you should run the other way!!! Ae you dating? Are you not dating? Are you exclusive? Are you not exclusive? No one seems to know.
You’ll stay at each others houses, cook dinner for each other and meet each others friends but you’re not ‘official’. Just typing this I’m getting infuriated – all you want is a straight answer. You guys will either just fizzle out, start seeing other people or one of you might ‘cheat’ on the other… which isn’t really cheating if you were “never dating”.
I’m sure there will be more men that my friends and I will come across the further we climb into your 20s, I just hope that this one acts as some form of guide for other single chickas out there!