How do I date girls without hurting their feelings?

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DAOHREJAXJW7402 asks:

I’m a straight guy, 27, but I never dated a girl. It’s partly because of shyness, but mostly because I am really afraid of slighting or unintentionally hurting girls’ feelings.

Honestly, I’m scared of women when they are mad, and this might sound stupid, but that’s why I avoid them. I don’t even want to make the effort because I fear success. If I do date a girl and sleep with her and then maybe she wants something more but maybe I’m not that serious, what then? What if I get a clinger or a stalker like in Fatal Attraction?

How can I avoid these dangers? I have to be honest….I don’t really want a girlfriend right now, I just want to indulge.

What are my options?


Demetrius says:

Here’s the best way to avoid danger: Do nothing. Like the earliest known user of the Pros/Cons list, Benjamin Franklin is reputed to say: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We usually use that idiom to say to people that they have to take risks in order to progress, and while I agree, I just want to be clear and say that if you really have these deep fears around disappointing women, maybe you shouldn’t be dating just yet. I’ll circle back to this though. Let’s tackle the issue around hurting feelings.

One of the truths you have to accept about dating is that at some point, someone will get hurt. Whether it’s because of a rejection, bad behavior, a breakup, or maybe even a tense argument, somehow, someway, someone will get hurt. You might think that if you luck out and meet your future wife when you first venture into the dating pool you’ll be getting off scot-free, but you’d be wrong. I can’t think of one relationship where both parties haven’t hurt each other’s feelings in some way at some point. Even the happiest relationship is neither argument or disagreement proof. One thing is for sure, if you date, you’ll eventually hurt someone regardless of your intentions.

Let’s assume that my central idea, that all dating, all human relationships, will result in some amount of pain. Maybe it’s the pain of rejection, or the pain of disappointment when your child decides not to go to your alma mater, or whatever the case may be, humans hurt each other in lots of ways whether their connection is romantic, familial, or platonic. It’s unavoidable really, and sometimes there just isn’t a “bad guy” in a scenario, sometimes your wants and needs are just at odds. So, if that’s true and it’s unavoidable, what can you do? Simple, avoid intentionally hurting people. Let’s say you meet a girl, you’re not interested because she’s physically not your type, and you want to reject her. Do you reject her in a kind way, or do you reject her by telling her that she’s physically unattractive? Simple choice right? She might be hurt in both scenarios, but one of those scenarios was intentionally harmful, while the other is unavoidable, unintentional harm. If you focus less on avoiding hurting others and focus on avoiding INTENTIONALLY hurting others, I think you’ll be okay.

Yes, dating involves some amount of pain, but you can minimize it if you’re open, upfront, and honest about what you’re looking for. If you don’t want a girlfriend right now, tell the women you meet that you’re not looking for a girlfriend. It might upset some women, but for the most part they’ll just know that you aren’t the sort of guy they match up with and will just move on. Throughout the various stages of my dating life I’ve looked for casual sex, casual dating, monogamous dating, and dating that I’d hope would lead to the whole marriage-kids-picket fence deal (not necessarily in that order mind you) and during all of those times I’ve met people who were looking for different things than I was, though we might be a match on paper. If I was upfront, honest, and open about what I was looking for at the time, the worst I got was a look of disappointment.

Back to your fears, before I close this out. It sounds to me, a layman, that you’ve got bigger issues than just wanting to avoid hurting others. You’re scared of women when they’re mad which doesn’t sound stupid, but it also doesn’t sound healthy either. Uncomfortable, sure, who wants to be around an angry person, but actual fear? You also fear success which…again I’m a layman…but that just seems like a deeper issue than you realize. Sure, it’s okay to be concerned about success, because success can complicate your life, but fear? I understand being generally afraid of dealing with people who might be dangerous in a Fatal Attraction sort of way, but this sounds to me, who I will reiterate is a layman, as something deeper than just anxiety around dating. As per the usual, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with you, but you might want to seek out some professional help with dealing with your fear of hurting others. Again, not saying there is something wrong with you, but this is sort of like…persistent sniffles. It could be a serious issue, or a common cold, we can’t know for sure as laymen, so it’s best to get a professional opinion on the matter. You might not be ready to date at all until you deal with this issue, OR, you might be ready to date and you’re just making mountains out of mole hills because you’re picturing worst case scenarios. Either way, maybe get a professional opinion to see what the deal is.

In closing: Pain is an inevitability when it comes to dating. The best you can do is be open, honest, and upfront about what you’re looking for, if you’re ready to date, and try to avoid INTENTIONALLY hurting people.

That’s the best any of us could hope for.

Good Luck Out There.

 

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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