The talking stage is a mess

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
As a thirty-something year old woman, I really just want to say that dating is a mess. Specifically, the talking stage is a complete and absolute mess. For anyone out there who might not be familiar with the term "talking stage", in a nutshell, it's that period spanning from the time two people are introduced to each other and when they officially start dating. This period can last anywhere between a few days and a few months. During this time you get to understand the fundamentals of who your potential partner is, you experience their personality, their likes and dislikes, you talk on the phone, you text, you might even meet up a few times. Essentially, nothing serious happens because there's no commitment but it still is a legitimate part of modern-day dating. 

Those of us who are in the talking stage experience waves of happiness, excitement, stress, anger, confusion, insecurity, love, overthinking, torture, sometimes sadness. Basically, we are liable to endure a clusterfuck of emotions all while hoping we are victorious and make it to an official relationship. 

Earlier I said that the talking stage is a mess. Here are 6 reasons:

1 One person might think it's a "talking stage" while actually being friend zoned.

I've experienced this before from both standpoints. I've friend-zoned someone who thought we were "talking" and I've also been friend-zoned while thinking I was getting to know someone romantically. It sure is an awkward feeling when the revelation hits. it might leave you wondering "Am I delusional?" ,"How did I miss the signs?". 

2 Usually ends without closure.

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If and when this rollercoaster ends unsuccessfully, it usually ends with one person ghosting the other. "Ghosting", for the lucky readers who've never experienced this phenomena, is the cruel act of permanently cutting off all forms of communication with someone without warning or explanation. So imagine you send a text message and never ever get a response. Again, I've experienced this from both sides so I know what it feels like.

3 There are no definite rules or boundaries.

During the talking stage, there are no real rules. I'm not your girlfriend yet and you're not my boyfriend. In this case, anything goes. Do we just text and FaceTime? Should we go out on dates or at least hang out together? For how long will the talking stage last? Is it a problem if I talk to other girls (or guys)? Can I still sleep with whoever I was already sleeping with before we met? What are the rules?

4 Each partner has zero responsibility.

Remember this isn't a relationship so there is really no responsibility required by either party. During this period, while you may feel wronged or hurt by their actions, it's a little tricky as to whether you can be upset and demand that they take accountability for what happened. After all, you both are only "talking". Because there is no exclusivity, you probably won't feel like you should be angry or voice your concerns. And if you do get angry, the other person may feel like your anger or emotions are irrelevant or invalid because, say it with me, its not yet a relationship.

5 Hookup culture fucks things up.

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It seems like hookup culture has become so prevalent these days. No longer is it love at first but sex at first sight. When sex is introduced in the talking stage, it muddies things. Was sex the goal? Usually, after sex happens, one person will become more emotionally invested while the other may or may not withdraw somewhat or altogether. 

6 Breeding ground for insecurity especially on social media.

We're not dating yet! There are no rules! We're not yet accountable to each other! I had a life before meeting you as you did before meeting me. I'm still going about my life as usual just like you're going about your life as usual. Now I'm stalking your Instagram and here comes the insecurity as I see your new posts, the subtle increase in your following after a night out at the club, the posts you interact with, the likes and comments under your new picture, and so on.

An absolute mess and it's not for the weak-hearted or the insecure among us. It does help, though, when you're dealing with a mature, emotionally available person who is willing to have conversations about their true intentions and where they see things going. It seems like no-one really wants to communicate their true feelings anymore but communication is important in such fickle period. So even if sex is introduced early, they're running up the likes and follows on social media, and they're out having a good time without you, you can rest assured that you're not wasting your time or being taken for granted. 

The antidote for the mess? Communication and understanding.

Over to you...

What are your thoughts on the talking stage? How long do you believe it should last? And the age old question, how many more talking stages do you think you've got left in you?

Until next time,


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