Kvetch in the City - Text Kvetch
When I began writing this month’s column I had been up for four days, anxiously awaiting the election results and the ensuing drama of waiting to see which candidate would win. I was glued to social media and my phone, constantly checking for election updates. The crazy making aspect of it all reminded me of how back in the day I was glued to another type of drama which included constantly checking my phone. Back then though, the drama and constant phone checking was not due to a national election, but a personal election of dating the wrong man.
Yes, I’ve had my share of one too many unfortunate relationships, almost every time knowing in the first five minutes, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to give that person my phone number. Once given, the immediate red flying flag for me was a “Hey, what’s up?” text, followed by some emoji sentence I could never figure out, instead of something that resembled real relating, like for instance, an actual phone call, or perhaps a statement like,“I’d like to have dinner with you tonight if you are free.”
Call me a text kvetch. Call me old fashioned. I still believe in straight up phone calls when it comes to sustaining a relationship. I’d like to interject that I actually once broke up with someone with a text, with the urging of my then therapist who said something to the effect of, "That would be speaking his language." That was a new personal low in breaking up with someone for me.
Maybe you’re wondering what’s so bad about texting? I’d suggest to say, maybe you’ve never dated a love avoidant man. I mean, yes, they will tell you they love you, but, do they really? While the first few weeks may be cute and fun, receiving little buzz shots of affirmative words on a tiny screen, the charm wears off pretty quickly when the texting becomes the main source of communication in a “relationship.” The last person I dated, instead of actually showing up in real time, would write texts that were mini emotional novels in his attempt to communicate his feelings. His inability to have a face to face conversation about feelings and yet send endless texts, videos, or songs was actually maddening, and well, sadly very high school for a middle aged man. The constant buzz of a text coming in, instead of my doorbell ringing with an actual man with flowers on the other side…well that eventually wore thin.
The positive thing about negative relationships, is that I learned a lot about myself. I learned, not only did I cringe at texting as conversation, I also learned to not give my phone number to the complete stranger at CVS who was waiting behind me in the pharmacy aisle. I knew what household items I was picking up, but I sure as heck didn’t know what kind of medication he was picking up.
Most importantly, I learned it’s never really about the other person. It was about me, ignoring the red flags, needing validation…and oh…so much more. The doomed relationships were not about the other person having to change, it was about me having to change.
This election cycle reminded me that all my self-work has helped put my crazy making dating days behind me. I now trust myself to know I’ll know the right candidate for me when he starts by picking up the phone to call, shows up with flowers, opens the door to his car, and takes me to dinner.