I find one of the most destructive relationship habits I have (but am working very hard to shake) is creating high jumps of proof for people to stumble over.
What I mean is creating "proof points" which create anxiety or upset, when in reality they're based on nothing. It's challenging to explain, so I'm just going to run with some examples.
1. He hasn't texted for 5 hours, even though he usually does. You create the story that if a man liked you, he'd never leave it 5 hours. He'd find a way to let you know. He can't like you enough. He's trying to tell you he's not interested. He's probably back on Tinder. Maybe he's even on a date.
2. He never suggests the next date. He always says yes, but never takes the initive to organise anything himself. Surely if he liked you, he'd suggest the next date. He can't like you enough. He must be using you until someone better comes along.
3. He has logged back into Tinder since your last date. If he was really into you, he wouldn't be still looking. You're on Tinder to check up on him, but he must be lining up a better date to take out. He can't like you enough.If he was your soul mate he'd know that straight away.
4. He suggests meeting up again in 9 days time. He can't like you enough. If he did, he'd want to see you on Saturday. He can't miss you enough. He's probably a player.
5. He's put kisses at the end of his text. He must like me. This must be going well. He must be looking for a girlfriend.
Now, I'm not anti-relationship rules completely, but I've come to learn that being a little more open-minded is kinder to oneself.
Dating as a grown up means that we're trying to merge two grown up lives (even just temporarily for a date or two). Lifes are busy, complicated and very separate at first, and just because you've met someone who may be ace, doesn't mean you suddenly have all the free time in the world to indulge yourself..
Dating gets complicated. It's possible to have a great first date, but still continue to explore other dating options in the mean time. A first date doesn't mean a fifth date, and placing all your eggs in one basket can simply be foolish. Trust me, I've had a lot of good first dates.
We don't get to set the markers at which people have to prove themselves by. They may just text less, or be more flirty. He may just add kisses to everyone's texts without thought. He may just get lost in a movie, or lose the battery charge in his phone, or get stuck driving. In the meantime, we've created a false narrative, based upon our proof point failures, when in actuality nothing has changed at all. We've worked ourselves up, prepared for it all being over, when in actual fact they just have different ways of showing their feelings than the markers we've chosen to set.