Hello, I was wondering if some older or more mature men here could give me some advice regarding love and relationships.
I recently turned 25. Since I was 19 I've dated lots and lots. I consider myself pretty experienced and well rounded.
My longest relationship lasted for a little over a year. That was when I was 20-21. The guy, at the time, was 18. We broke up for typical reasons, then remained friends for a long time, sometimes still having sex and being affectionate. We're still good friends, but I think that has to end eventually (but that's a different topic). After him, I was in love with maybe 2 other guys. Both of those relationships were unofficial and lasted a few months each. I'm not hung up on them... it was just typical young guy confusion, bullshit. Then it happened one more time, about a year and a half ago, but that didn't work out either (that guy turned out to be a real jerk and I scared him off anyways cause I was too open about how much I liked him way too early).
But the thing all those people had in common to me was, that I was crazy for them. I felt funny around them, you know? They made me nervous, in that good way. The butterflies, the feeling dizzy after leaving their apartment kind of thing. The way they smelled would drive me wild. There were the downsides to this stuff too, of course: I'd feel inadequate if they didn't reciprocate the passion, I'd feel insecure with that constant sense of longing and wonder for affirmation of what was happening, I was unable to be reasonable and control myself. It made for great artistic inspiration, but it wasn't the healthiest state of being. I was a bit of a rollercoaster whenever I'd get involved in these intense situations.
When I turned 24, I felt like I could start to control myself a bit more. That, and I was tired of always getting my hopes up and getting let down.
I took a break from dating, moved from one big city to another (grad school), and let go of the fantasy of ever getting back with my first boyfriend. I do feel more balanced and in control these days then I did back in university.
And I've dated some great guys in the past year, too. One was a famous male model, drop dead gorgeous. After 3 months, though, I broke up with him... I felt the little butterflies at first, but they didn't stay, and after the sex and affection, it became obvious we didn't have anything deeply in common. Not a bad breakup, though. And with the other guy, I just knew there was no long term potential for us. In the past year, I can only think of one person I had those kind of infatuation feelings for, before even meeting him (he was great on paper) - but he didn't live in the city and we never ended up meeting. Still - the very idea of him was so exciting to me.
If you've made it this for in my post, maybe you can see the dilemma. I feel totally fucking confused. I meet and get the opportunity to date great guys all the time. I recognize how lucky I am for that. Yet, the more mature, emerging adult side of me yields on the side of caution, never letting my head get too far in the clouds (but oh how I liked it up there!!). And then, at the same time, I think to myself, well maybe I'll feel all of that butterflies-in-the-stomach stuff again with the right guy. Then I'll be dating a really great guy and think, wait, maybe I just can't feel that stuff again, and this is just what being grown up feels like - maybe this guy is really great and love has just changed. Or did I change? Or is something wrong with me? I want the idealized, almost adolescent type of feeling I used to have. But I can't help but think to myself: maybe that's not possible anymore because, if you think about it, someone making you feel excited to the point of being nervous, someone making you daydream all the time... well, they made me a little nervous because I wasn't confident, and I would daydream because I was a bit naive. Now I'm confident, and not so naive, so maybe getting carried away in idealized romance isn't gonna happen anymore. And if it isn't, then I'm asking, what DOES happen? How can you tell? Or is it the same, and it's still there? Am I not meeting a guy whose smell drives me crazy (for example) because I no longer let that kind of stuff get to me, or is it still out there and it'll get to me when it does?
I don't feel bitter, for what it's worth. And I still believe in love - I'm just not sure what kind I believe in anymore. I'd really appreciate perspective from people who can relate, or if anyone else noticed a change like this around my age. To make things even more complicated, I'll throw this in there too: I'm not even sure what I want. Sometimes I'm perfectly happy being single, because I think that some day, I'll meet a guy who blows my mind. I know that feeling still exists because I catch it in glimmers. It never sustains itself these days, but that doesn't mean it can't (or does it?). You know, the type of thing like, I'll be at a party, and a friend will introduce me to a friend, we make out all night and I feel in love in that fleeting moment, and he just happens to be European and going back to his city in a few days. Part of me feels like if I met someone really good like that, then voila! I'd be all into dating, and being a boyfriend, and maybe even moving in together eventually. Like, maybe someday, we'd even be one of those couples with a cute dog. Then other times, I feel like I am totally not ready for that, because I don't want to do it just to do it, I want to do it with someone that still makes my heart skip a beat now and then. The ironic and fucked up part being that, when I meet someone (as it has recently been the case) who I like (like... not love), and he is being all crazy and too intense towards me, then I'm the one who gets all uncomfortable and smothered feeling, thinking to myself, I can't even smell this guy from two feet away from me, so I must not be in love with him - or is it - going back to the original point - that I just don't let myself go that far into liking someone to be able to pick up on that stuff again.