I recently went out with a guy who broke things off after a few weeks because I “didn’t give him butterflies” . . . yes, those were his exact words. When he asked me what I thought about that and how I felt about him, I told him that the last time I felt butterflies, I found myself in a really unhealthy relationship.
To me, butterflies are synonymous with short bursts of adrenaline that trigger a fight or flight response. I don’t want to be with someone who makes me feel nervous or on edge.
I’m more of a slow burn kinda girl these days à la Kacey Musgraves.
I want to get to know someone both in the daytime at a museum and across the dinner table in the evening. I want to talk about individual and shared goals and fears as they unfold in real time. Sure, I’ll make note of things as I get to know someone that I might want to ask more questions about later, as I’d hope they’d do the same about me, but I won’t bounce if we don’t book a cross country trip on the heels of a first date because we’re lust drunk on butterflies.
Dating, at the end of the day, is really just collecting data as you get to know someone.
The last thing this guy said to me before I ended the call was how bummed he was that he wasn’t going to get to see one of my tattoos when it gets finished . . . “but that’s just the price I have to pay” he exhaled before he cheerfully told me to “have a good one.”
I don’t often find myself at a loss for words, but in that moment, all I could muster was “have a good rest of your night.” I didn’t even know what to say about the tattoo thing . . . like, cool bro? What a bummer, dude?
I’d be lying if I said the whole exchange didn’t sting a little, but I’d take someone potentially calling it too early than someone who sticks around for too long and cheats until they get caught because they can’t decide if they’re one foot in or both feet out. Love a good “hey girl, you don’t know me, but” dm.
As I sat there on the phone, I realized it wasn’t worth my time or energy to convince this stranger of my worth. At the end of the day, it really didn’t matter what I said.
The other night, I was on a coaching call where one of the women talked about how her business had recently gone through some major fluctuations in terms of client retention. She was dealing with this tension between taking on any/all new clients to fill the void, while trying to only take on accounts that she thought she could best represent and work with. Everyone on the call, including myself, reaffirmed what she already knew – that doing more of the latter and less of the former would serve her best, personally and professionally, in the long run.
Well, here I am in a situation that’s similar but different, trying to remind myself “if it’s not him, there’s someone even better” out there. Butterflies are great and all, but sometimes I think they can obscure deeper incompatibilities you’d notice otherwise. . . qualities you’d see with amplified clarity if it was more of a slow burn situation. At least that was the case the last time I got butterflies.
But then again, what do I know? I feel like I have more scars than trophies when it comes to life. I have a litany of things that haven’t worked out and sometimes I think about how if I’d done xyz differently, another outcome might have been possible . . . but I know that kind of thinking isn’t helpful when you’re looking ahead at everything that could be, instead of marinating in what maybe, but probably couldn’t have been.
I saw a quote while I was writing this post that said, “Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” Like damn. Okay.
I want to share this kinda shitty snippet in time because, while I’m all about eeking out gratitude and finding silver linings whenever possible, my life isn’t rainbows and butterflies (lol) all the time. At the time I’m writing this, I’m navigating some kind of scary new health issues that I’m still parsing through. I’ve had other things in my personal life go a little haywire. I still have days where I struggle to reconcile my past with my present and the future I’d like to create. As much as it sucks to have someone say they don’t want to keep spending time with you because you don’t deliver this non-quantifiable value to their life, I know it’ll all shake out net positive. I just have to give it a little time.
I’m trying to practice my own advice of “if not this, something better” . . . but not like in a grass is greener over there kind of way; more like, people and opportunities that aren’t aligned with the direction you’re headed will always sort themselves out. Sometimes you have to initiate the tough conversations, sometimes the other party will beat you to it, as was the case here.
So, that’s the tea on a guy whose claim to fame was being fired from being a missionary. I wish him all the best in his mythical quest to find those butterflies; I’ll stick to butterflies of the tattoo variety.