Dating: When Communication Styles Differ / When you want more feedback

I feel anxious & guilty for even having written this out. I don’t want “Peter” to somehow find out I have felt so conflicted about this topic (it seems so trivial and silly to me). But I also don’t want to pull this posting down, because if I feel this way at times, I’m betting there are others of you who are also conflicted about similar issues and perhaps it will help to know that you are not alone. So here you guys go:

So here’s a topic that’s on my mind tonight. Y’all know I like “Peter” a lot. But there is one area in particular that I’m finding extremely taxing on my emotions — we have differing communication styles when it comes to anything that’s not face-to-face.

I, for example, am prone toward daily contact of some sort. He is not. I am prone toward sending out text messages and emails, with little snippets of text and snapshots from my day — anything that makes me think of him, or anything that I think he’d like/be interested in, for example. He sends out a little bit in return, infrequently. (My insecure voice: ‘Infrequently’ to me means what??? Not every second??)

So that alone has been enough to bring up my self-doubt. “Did I overwhelm him??? Did I send out too many pictures today?? Maybe I disrupted him while he was at work. Maybe he is annoyed with me for having sent these out.” Etc. I’ve asked him, and he says he is fine with what I’ve sent. I’d actually be 100% fine if I only heard back from him once a week, except for the following:

But the killer part for me is the lack of feedback. Sometimes, I will hear feedback from him regarding something I have either texted or emailed, and sometimes that feedback will be sent back in some kind of text form. More often, he will mention something I’ve sent him the next time we are face-to-face, which is fine for me. (My insecure voice: I’m surely just being too needy. I’m surely just expecting instant gratification. I’m surely sending him too much / too often.)

I think I could handle that if all things were given feedback face-to-face, but even then, it is just a sampling. Perhaps he brings up just the things that felt weightier to him than some of the other random crapola I’ve sent him; I am only guessing. I actually send him very little, because I don’t like to send more than what the other person sends back to me; I like the ratio to be balanced. For our ratio to be balanced, I would have to scale back quite a lot more.

And so, I am torn. There is a part of me that is interested in this new approach to communication – almost entirely face-to-face communication. It does seem like a healthier, safer way of communicating, in some ways (for example, there is an increased chance of mis-communications in text-based communication).

But the part of me that wants to continue sending text-based communications is concerned. The lack of feedback for my text-based communications is definitely not working for me.

So I have choices. I could:

  1. Continue looking at this as a challenging but fascinating practice in patience / delayed gratification
  2. Stop texting or emailing him, and go with face-to-face communication ONLY
  3. Break up with him and meet new people, finding someone I can again send out my daily blips to with the returned feedbacks that I’m familiar with
  4. Bring this up with “Peter” directly and actually talk about it with him

I’m not inclined to break up with him right now; I really like him. But I can’t leave things as-is, either, because I’m far too insecure of a person to send something out to someone and hear nothing back. So, likely I’ll go with Option 2. With Option 2, I have more options as well. For example, I could still take my snapshots that make me think of him, but instead of sending instantly, I can compile them into a Save Draft email to show him next time I’m with him in-person. There are options like that.

But I’m not entirely positive if that’ll work. When I tried to share a particular song with him, he left midway through because he remembered his bike had a flat tire and he went to go look at it. Likely, I was not clear that the song I had put on was a special one that I was playing specifically for him to listen to it. I will have to bring this up and try to share it again with him, with my intentions clearly stated this time, and see if he can listen to it.

As much as I like him (a freaking lot), I’ll have to try again with someone new if we can’t get it worked out for me to find a successful way of sharing non-verbal items of interest with him. He’s a good listener when I speak verbally to him. But if I can’t share my pictures, my music, my writings, my video clips of interest, etc, with the person I’m interested in, then what? As you guys could probably imagine based solely on the massive amounts of crapola I’ve posted on here alone (writings, sketches, musics, comics, videos, etc), these types of things are somewhat fairly hugely important to me. And sharing is important to me.

But I actually do think he reads/looks at what I send. Maybe not the 4 music clips I sent, because he said he had no headphones at the time, but I think he does read anything I’ve typed. I think I just don’t receive feedback about it.

So Option 4 seemed more rational, right? Obviously I should discuss it directly and honestly with him, right? I might end up having to do that. I kind of want to avoid it, because I feel awfully stupid for this even bothering me in the first place. Like it should be a molehill and instead I’m making it a mountain. Ah well, we’ll see. Everything will work out. Or it won’t. 🙂 In the meanwhile, I am going to refrain from texting or emailing him; other people will receive my random pictures instead (I can’t shut off that part of me; I can only redirect it). And perhaps one of these days, I’ll work up the nerve to discuss it with “Peter” directly.

***UPDATE***

So I already went ahead and brought up the topic, face to face! Resolved. I essentially paused this morning and asked him if I could check with him about something. He was affirmative. I pointed out how I was very likely to feel like sending him random pictures and snippets all day today. I asked how he felt about those. And especially if/how he prefers to receive them (e.g. text message or email). I told him how insecure I had gotten by the end of the day a couple of days ago. I told him how I was able to envision that I had disrupted his work, that he was annoyed with it, etc and I pointed out my idea of a single email per day instead.

He thought about it a while and then responded that not only does he not mind the text messages — that the buzzing of his phone does not disrupt or bother him — but that he feels positively toward them. That he likes the reminders showing up, and likes knowing that I’m still alive + well, etc. Then he said he could work on replying to them more often. But I replied that my intention wasn’t to change how he’s comfortable communicating (I wonder if that’s the truth or rather what I want to be true? But I’ll learn that as more time passes, and can bring this up again with that as the focus if needed). I just wanted to know his preferences for my random blurbs so that I could avoid feeling so insecure about them. It all went something to that effect.

Happy. Very good, easy talk.

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6 thoughts on “Dating: When Communication Styles Differ / When you want more feedback

    • He is so super nice. Never been the most response as far as feedback for every little stupid thing I send, though. I was maybe having a small anxiety attack while I was processing all that stuff that I wrote. My uncle’s words sometimes get to me and my body is ill, my throat is sore, and I was shaking from what could only have been a blood sugar crash.

      I really like “Peter” and can’t think of him in any ill way yet. I’m just trying hard to keep an open mind for him not being the right person for me.

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      • On 2 separate occasions now, my uncle has been telling me to “dump the motherfucker” based soley on the fact that I hadn’t heard from him in like an 8 hour span. How unfair is that? Maybe I let it get to me.

        Hey I shouldn’t keep responding tonight; my 1mg of clonazepam has fully kicked in and I am not sure I’m making any sense. I hope I still am.

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    • Then again (I see I responded off my own threads instead of yours just now — hopefully you see them), my uncle also told me yesterday that, when I said in the morning I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to Music Practice with “Peter”, that maybe I should cancel because I was not feeling well — the new flu bug and all — and my uncle told me that “Peter” was going to replace me. Like it was very important that I go or I’d be replaced. How silly is that. I didn’t buy it; I did decide to go to Music Practice because I decided I was feeling up for it and “Peter” and his roommie didn’t mind my germs. But even when his words might not affect me outwardly that instant, I think they settle in a bit and just feed off of and increase my internal anxieties/ insecurities. Dunno. Not sure I’m making sense in what I’m typing.

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