Life can be hard and confusing and when you're trying to get this life thing down people come along that you want to get to know which can make things even trickier. I found this article today, The Confusing and Horrible Rise of the Several-Night Stand and part of me felt defensive and part of me felt a little depressed. My biggest frustration though is that the internet seems to have forced us into labeling things to the point of picking them apart so much we forget how to be present, how to enjoy the moment and how to build unrealistic or unfair expectations because we're on the defense all the time. I mean, is any of this even new? Or are people just coming up with new terms or buzz words to get more clicks? Read the article and let me know what stands out to you most if you wish. Read on if you want a summary based on my experience and opinion.
Let's begin by saying the word "horrible" is used to shock you into reading the article (it worked for me) but the point of it all is communication. I can only truly speak for women since I have the most experience as a woman but if a woman can communicate well these arrangements don't have to be horrible. Sometimes two people are not in the position to commit to a full-blown relationship, or to be even more frank, they are interested in someone but don't quite feel they are ready to commit to that person yet (or maybe ever). If the conversation is being had and both people know where they stand and if they agree to discuss any feelings as they change (because odds are they will) then this doesn't have to be horrible or confusing.
If one of the parties does not feel comfortable with the potential of changing feelings or future conversations about the relationship (good or bad) then it's best to back away slowly and disengage to avoid future frustration. If you continue you are already basing your decisions on a fantasy, often the hope that the other person will become so enamored with you they will all of a sudden decide to communicate with you or always feel the way you want them to - a recipe for disaster.
The question you can ask before starting a "several-night stand" relationship needs to be:
Do you and the other person consider this as dating with the potential of growing into something more? Or not? If so, discuss what forms of intimacy are most important to you as you get to know one another so one person doesn't over-think not getting a 'goodnight' or 'good morning' text or any other possible faux-pas. Also, agree that if one of you begins to feel their feelings deepen they will bring it up and discuss any natural changes to the relationship at that time. Or, if one person begins to lose interest and doesn't want to hurt the other person then there will be no "ghosting" but they will be clear that they don't want any deeper attachment to grow. If feelings begin to deepen for either of you and you want to progress the relationship then it's time to have the "exclusivity" talk. This is not a topic that should be assumed by either party.
If you both agree that your time together is a mutual "use-use" situation, you don't consider it dating, you don't have ideas of a long-term future and neither of you have expectations of how often you communicate, or see each other then that's great but just like the previous scenario, you need to both agree to be open if and when anyone's feelings start to change. The good news is, in these situations, if the communication is up front and frequent enough no one will ever feel "ghosted" if things change because there was never an expectation to begin with. This is how lovers can remain friends and genuinely happy for someone when they move on with their life (or love life).
Or, you could keep trying to hook-up with people and be at their beck and call with the hopes that they may one day realize how amazing you are and want to commit and live with the constant state of internal drama that creates. The choice is always yours.
Also, stop reading things that make you feel bad about yourself or your decisions. Be honest with yourself first and read things that are helpful, close the tab on the depressing stuff that makes you question yourself. Most of all, remember that everything in life is temporary and there is great strength and courage in living the law of detachment.
Micah's confessions and lessons that have helped with self-forgiveness, healing and acceptance.