Should You Keep Dating Someone Who Doesn’t Give You Butterflies?
We’ve all been there: You start dating a guy who’s cute, nice, and sweet. And while you’re not fan girl-ing out over the dude, you figure you’ll get there eventually—so you keep going out with him.
But a couple of months later, you still just can’t get psyched about the guy for whatever reason. Yet…you keep going out with him. It's not that you're leading him on, per se, but you're not totally into him.
What’s up with that?
Licensed marriage and family therapist David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago, says it happens all the time. “Ambivalence is very normal in romantic relationships,” he says. “When we are dating someone about whom we just feel so-so, we are still sorting through our ambivalence.”
While it seems counterproductive to date a guy you just feel meh about, licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay Or Should I Go?, says it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I’m not convinced it is a bad strategy, especially if women are experiencing ‘dating fatigue’ and are just looking for someone they can be themselves with,” she says.
Durvasula points out that, as long as you’re not making the guy think that things are more serious than they actually are, having someone to hang out with on a Saturday night can also be fun. “Not all dating and romantic relationships have to be fireworks and Champagne,” she says.
But successfully dating a just-okay guy takes some soul searching—both about why you’re doing it (are you just looking to kill some time? Want someone to dress up for? Or are you afraid to be alone?) and why he doesn’t make the cut. It’s okay if you can’t answer the last one right away, says Durvasula. It might come to you with time (or you might find your feelings for him grow).
If you’re doing it because you’re scared to be alone and you’ve been in this kind of situation before, it may be time to focus on why that is—without a guy. But if you’re just having fun, Durvasula says there’s no harm, no foul.
However, Klow points out that if you’re a serial meh dater, it’s probably a good idea to wait for someone that you're actually excited about. “Once we get a sense of what is possible in a deep and long-term connection, this sort of wishy-washy approach to dating goes away,” he says.
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Of course, you can only date a so-so guy for so long before feelings get hurt. If you notice that he’s really into you and you’re still just lukewarm, that you’re starting to resent him, or that he’s suddenly annoying the crap out of you, it’s time to break it off.
That said, Durvasula suggests going into this kind of situation with an open mind. “Give it time and let it breathe—some qualities take time to cultivate,” she says. “If it devolves into something platonic or the sex or intimacy isn't working, then perhaps you just get a good friend out of it.”