I wonder how people do dating casually and SLOWLY. If I like someone, and they like me--it just seems like it gets intense pretty quickly. I find myself totally preoccupied, thinking about our conversations, possible future conversations, etc. It borders on obsessive and it's very distracting. It sometimes makes me think that I need to hold off on dating until I can have a cooler head about it, but then I also wonder if that's just how people think when they really like someone? I tend to think that I do things dysfunctionally, but I'm not sure.
I'm dating this guy, Bond, and have been for about a month now. We have gone out many times and are talking online almost every day. We aren't sleeping together and have mutually agreed that we're not interested in having sex until/unless we are more serious. I'm thinking six months of dating is a good boundary for me--since I have NEVER waited to sleep with a dating/relationship partner. I am almost 30 and have just jumped into relationship after relationship--was married 5 years but our divorce is official on Wednesday. I really only had one or two other semi-serious relationships before my marriage, so I don't really know what I'm doing and I feel kind of like a teenager. I mostly just went the route of: start talking to someone you're attracted to, sleep with them a few dates later, then be "together," until you're not. I don't want to do things that way so that's why I've instituted this period of (relative) celibacy.
I really like this guy, and I think he feels the same. He is also divorced and has two children from his previous marriage. We have some lifestyle differences that at first glance seem pretty profound, and I spent much of the last month thinking there was no way that we could move toward a serious relationship--but the things we have in common and the things we like about each other's personalities are pretty profound also, and so it makes me not sure. I don't know. I think we'd be up against some serious challenges but I also think that we are building a solid foundation of friendship--we just really like each other and can talk and hang out for hours and not get bored. He challenges my perspective and thinking in ways that no man I've been with has, and is also kind and funny and seems pretty committed to his faith/spirituality, which I like because I know that he feels accountable to a power greater than himself. He is an American Muslim convert (fairly devout in terms of basic obligatory practice and personal belief but not strict, obviously, or else he wouldn't even be dating like this) (whose parents are from Iran) and I am not religious but loosely practice a very pagan/earth-based spirituality, although I have had some interest in Sufism/Islam over the years and have studied it a bit. My family background is Catholic/evangelical Pennsylvania Dutch. We haven't found anything major that we disagree on, within our respective faiths, surprisingly enough, and he hasn't seemed at all interested in trying to change my leanings in another direction. He speaks Farsi, I speak Spanish. We both love farming/plants/sustainable living pursuits. We both love being parents. He's a pot smoker but does it legally with a medical card, which at first I felt judgmental about but when you take the criminal potential out of it, it just doesn't bother me that much.
So, obviously, there are some big differences. And the safe part of me, the very rational, unromantic part of me (which may well be healthier) says "This is not realistic, there are too many major differences." But then I think about Core Values, which I think are really important for building a relationship on and coming back to in times of disagreement, and those are all basically the same. So that makes me think I should stick it out, since we just really LIKE each other's company and are SUPER attracted to each other. I have seen many things that are potential challenges, but nothing I'd consider a deal breaker, you know? Sometimes I wonder if I'm being stupid, but mostly I feel really good about it.
I do wonder, though, why I am so attracted to people with such different backgrounds. Novelty, perhaps? My ex husband is Mexican (met him and got engaged in Mexico while studying there), Catholic, also very different cultures. Only our core values were also not lined up, which is I think why our marriage ultimately failed.