straight up girl talk // dating pt. 1

[ Editor’s note: I was talking with a bestie about this and she told me it’s hilarious and charming and totally worth sharing on the blog… so here goes. I plan to be brutally honest, so if you’re not into that, maybe keep scrolling? ]

Here’s the thing… I finally feel like I’m ready to try my hand at dating and having a real relationship again. I’ve made strides in getting over my ex, I’m managing my work time wayyy better than ever before, and, honestly, I am just so freaking ready to share my life with someone, partner-in-crime style. What I’m about to say is not new, not at all: dating sucks. I know, not exactly groundbreaking news, but my experience over the past few weeks has kind of built up inside of me and I needed to write about it.

I started out on Ok Cupid and it was fine. It felt a bit like shopping for men, to be perfectly frank. Lots of scrolling, lots of judging based on poor grammar and bathroom selfies… nothing really exciting. I went on about 8 first dates in the span of a month and nothing really stuck. Good conversation, decent company, but nothing that inspired a spark in me where I’d want to see him again. So then I randomly decided to try out Tinder. I quickly decided that I was more into that app because you can make a gut decision based on if someone’s photo makes you want to make out with them or not (yes, I am shallow, whatever). Not saying I make out with everyone, but hey, making out is kinda nice. I also really liked one key Tinder feature WAY more than Ok Cupid: the only messages you receive are ones from men with whom you’ve already expressed an interest, i.e. swiped right. It’s like you get to control the flow of messages you receive, instead of on OKC, where you can get messages from everyone ever and they can say anything ever. Believe me when I say this: you can’t shock me anymore because of the shit I’ve been told via OKC (messages that include “boner-ific”). I’m just… numb now.

So I’ve made the switch to being only on Tinder. Instead of shopping for men, it’s more like a video game or something. I’ve met up with a few guys via that app recently and the quality of men actually isn’t terrible. I’d say that most, if not all, are ‘as advertised.’ Not bad.

Here comes the internal conflict/existential crisis though: as someone who’s had a few long-term, meaningful relationships and is basically looking for the same thing again… how on earth do you go from being total strangers to being in a committed relationship?? I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around how to navigate the ‘great unknown’ that is those first few weeks and months of seeing someone. And clearly these feelings coincide with having met someone who’s piqued my interest, duh. So yeah, there’s this guy and I find him fascinating and funny and sexy and all that… but what the hell do I do about it?! We’ve seen each other a few times and it’s not even been that long of a time, a week or two max. But I can’t stop thinking about him. It’s totally distracting and affecting my ability to, like… function.

And I have no idea what I am doing.

I want to text him constantly, I want to see him every day, I want to make out like I’m 16 all over again. All. Of. The. Time. And in between seeing him, I am waiting by the phone with bated breath to hear from him. Case in point: I am not one of those people who keeps the ringer on, but you better believe that I can hear my phone from across the apartment now. It is not healthy. For all of these reasons… I feel like I am totally overwhelming him and thisclose to ruining the whole damn thing. Because, seriously, we just met and he’s still essentially a stranger. I don’t know his favorite color, how he takes his coffee, what his hopes and dreams are (fuck, I don’t even know what mine are half the time). And here I am obsessively checking to make sure my phone ringer is on JUST IN CASE. Yeah, I’ve got a crush, but I also have no fucking clue what to do about it.

On one hand, I could keep seeing people from Tinder, going on first dates, just to see… just to fill the time. This approach feels like I’m still out there, playing the field, being non-committal… But is that me? The thought of doing that kinda feels like cheating (which, hello, too damn soon), but also feels like an incredible drain on my bandwidth. My memory sucks and to have to remember not to tell the same stories all over again… stressful. But then it also feels like it’s too soon to just remove my profile entirely because I have a crush on a guy after 3 ‘encounters.’ Come on.

That is kind of where I stand. I am muddling my way through it, trying to set rules for myself so as not to be ‘that crazy girl,’ but also still trying to ask for what I want. I don’t want to play games — that has been my one rule to myself ever since I first started dating waaaay back when. But as I’ve gotten older, I feel like some level of holding back is acceptable and maybe even necessary… right? Allow me to translate that last sentence: I am so freaking scared of getting hurt again, it’s not even funny. Thus, building a fortress around my heart feels crucial — I just really don’t want that to be the case. I think I’m just terrified to be too relationship-y too soon and to scare him off.

This then leads me to that whole question of how to navigate actually being in a relationship from scratch, but maybe we should save that for part 2?

As always, I’ve love to hear your thoughts and experiences (y’all are always so wise), so leave ’em in the comments section please.

image via Terrain

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest digital influencer and former textile designer with an eye for beautiful things. Jojotastic is a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress home, interior styling, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style.

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Leave a Comment


  1. 5.22.15
    joanna said:

    wow! that is such an amazing story!! thanks for giving me hope and encouragement :)

  2. 5.14.15
    Hannah said:

    First of all, woah girl, breathe! What ever you do just keep breathing :) My mom always tells me “love like you’ve never loved before and then she always follows that with “easier said than done.” She’s totally right though. Don’t put the weight of past relationships on your current “relationship” it’s totally not fair to him or to your own heart. That being said it’s totally fine to be cautious. Maybe just put up a tent around your heart but not a brick house. That way it’s easier to take down when you feel like you’re ready. It’s totally spot on that you aren’t ready for that yet. I mean do you meet a new friend and then tell her all your secrets and become best friends with her in 2 seconds? What I have learned is to do yo thang! You’re busy and independent keep that up. Leave your phone on silent, I swear if you don’t look you’ll hear from him and if you don’t c’est la vie. He will either be your last crush ever or he will be the 3rd, 4th, 5th…who knows. Either way you got it goin’ on! I totes agree with Susan, be friends first :)

    • 5.22.15
      joanna said:

      i LOVe that analogy – a tent! totally perfect for me. thanks for weighing in!

  3. 5.14.15
    Annie said:

    p.s. I win for most helpful and coherent comment of the bunch right??

    • 5.22.15
      joanna said:

      always my favorite. always.

  4. 5.14.15
    Annie said:

    1. Anyone who uses the word “bonerific” should immediately be kicked off of all dating apps. In fact, there should be an in-built setting where the instant someone uses that term all their accounts self-combust.
    2. So many more thoughts. This topic shall be discussed at length in person next if you so please.
    3. Don’t be too glommy. AND don’t play games.
    4. and and

  5. 5.12.15
    Holly said:

    I have no advice at all because I find myself in the same exact position sometimes. I’ll meet a guy, things will go great, and I’ll just start this pattern of waiting to hear from him and not being able to get enough of him and then wondering *what are we?* and it’s all terribly too soon for all of that.

    I think that I flip flop between two different paths; part of me wants to be honest and upfront and not play games and that involves telling a guy that I’m into him and that it feels like there’s a spark I sense between us. The other part of me plays it cool and tries to occupy myself with other things and let him come to me.

    Honestly? I have no clue which one works better. I’m still single (ha!), but I do think that there’s something to be said for living the most genuine version of your life you can live. I don’t make decisions based on whether I’m worried a guy will think I’m “crazy” for bringing something up (I loathe that word), nor am I afraid to say “hey, I’m feeling a little insecure about xyz, can we not talk about/do that?” when I need to. I think it’s mostly about being honest with yourself and with your potential partner.

    In the beginnings I try to focus all of my energy on just enjoying our time together, however much or little that might be. I hope that helps somehow. And if you figure it out, please let me know! xo

  6. 5.11.15
    joanna said:

    whoa, this site! thank you so much for sharing it and your story. xo!

  7. 5.11.15
    Courtney LeSueur said:

    I’m so happy you posted this! I just got out of a four-year long relationship, and it’s the most painful thing I’ve ever been through. I mean, I can put on my happy face in public, but as soon as I’m home alone late at night, all the sadness bubbles up to the surface. I did some major changing throughout our relationship. We started dating when I was 18. I’m 22 now. I would love any and all advice from YOU on how to navigate a break up, get back out there, etc.

    • 5.11.15
      joanna said:

      aww, so many hugs for you courtney. i also went through a brutal break up, so maybe it’s time to explore that a bit more in this space… i’ve always been so hesitant, but hearing from you really helps. hang in there, i promise it does get better.

  8. 5.11.15
    Chrissy Maloney said:

    This is a tricky situation. I am also one of those people that, when it comes to dating, does not like to play games. If I’m interested in someone they will be the only person I see – even if I’ve only gone out with them a handful of times. One thing I’ve found to be helpful when seeing someone new that I really like, is to talk to one of my friends who will tell me to chill the eff out. You need something (or someone) to ground you when you’re feeling all those crazy stupid “love is in the air” emotions. I also like to try and focus on things that I really enjoy doing on my own, like painting or reading. I’d also recommend putting your phone on silent, or even off (in some extreme cases). The minute you’re not obsessing over any new messages or responses, is more than likely when they’ll come. Good Luck!

    • 5.11.15
      joanna said:

      oh, chrissy… you have no idea how many of my friends have told me to chill the eff out. and you’re totally right about finding a hobby. not sure if you follow me on instagram, but i went climbing yesterday and it was the absolute best distraction.

  9. 5.11.15
    Christine said:

    I love girl talk! The one thing I’ll say I’ve learned the most from being married and old is that a crush is just that. I think the definition of “crush” is something like an initial attraction based on very little about who the other person is. It is really hard to determine if someone is boyfriend material so quickly! Keep in mind that your feelings are just running away from you and aren’t a good indicator of long-term success. So I know it is hard, but try to relax and enjoy it without putting pressure on it to become more. And also definitely enjoy it! Even if it never develops, the crush part alone is worth it. xoxo

    • 5.11.15
      joanna said:

      you’re totally right. crushes CAN be fun.

  10. 5.11.15
    Gabrielle Dolceamore said:

    My beau and I met on OKC and we too experienced the kind of weird cadence that happens when you start dating a total stranger. But to be completely honest, dating someone I already knew was never an option for me. I admit I pushed after three or four months to become official. There were tears and some whining. But if he wasn’t the absolute perfect match for me in the entire world, he wouldn’t have stuck around. It was a test for us and he passed. I passed too, bc he made me wait which is something I don’t know how to do. #worthit

  11. 5.11.15

    Well, I love the shit outta this. From the old married woman, be friends first. It’s great there is sexual attraction, all relationships need that. But pretend it’s a friendship and you truly have to enjoy spending time with this guy. Also, I will cruise your Tinder for you and pick out guys for you. I’m pretty good at that. :)

    Can I also say as someone who has been out of the dating arena for the last 21 years, HOLY CRAP IS IT CRAZY OUT THERE. I mean, those apps are scary! Here’s a funny story: I was in an antique store with a friend of mine who is gay and single (and adorable). There were these cute flirty gay guys at the counter cashing me out – they worked there. My friend had to leave, and I chatted with the guys, they were cute and funny. Later that night with my friend we’re looking at his ‘gay dating app’ and I pointed out the guy from the antique shop!!!! No kidding, on the app!! Umm, then we looked at his pictures, and can I say I will never be able to burn the image outta of my head of antique guy d*ck pic. Yeah, this guy put up a tacky nudie. And I know where he works. OMG be careful out there ppl!! It’s the internet and everyone can see this!!!!

    Go slow. Love is in your future.

    • 5.11.15
      joanna said:

      susan, by far, this is the best comment i have ever received on the blog.

      and YES, the internet is a tiny place — i recognize men from online dating ALL the time and it’s really awkward. there’s that knowing look… thankfully i haven’t seen any dick pics (yet)

  12. 5.11.15
    Chelsea W said:

    Well…my advice is pretty simple as hard as it is to do. And I should really take my own advice, to be honest. Sometimes you just have to take a risk to make something happen–to be happy. I hope this “experience” works out for you ;)

    • 5.11.15
      joanna said:

      thanks so much for chiming in… you’re totally right. i need to put on my big girl pants and take a risk!