Let’s go Fishing…for compliments?

Recently I was pre-dating this guy. I use the made up term pre-dating because we weren’t officially dating since we never saw each other due to conflicting schedules. We mostly just talked, text and messaged each other. He described himself as an avid fisherman and hunter; a mechanic by trade. He was a large man who was recently divorced with an adult child. At first he was extremely polite, very sweet, and very romantic but the more I got to know him the less I liked him.

The first thing I noticed was that he was constantly seeking sympathy. He would constantly complain about his job and how much stress it was. At first I sympathized, but the more he complained the more I realized that his stress was self-induced. This surprised me because he was older and I expected a higher level of maturity from a man his age. He would say that the job had already given him a heart attack, and that he was close to getting a second heart attack. He complained about the poor pay and how incompetent his employees were. The complained about how his ex-wife did him so dirty. How she took him for all he had and was taking him to court for more. He complained about how his adult son, an unemployed student would leave the house a mess and spent his money faster than he made it. The more advice I would give him the more excuses he came up with, I stopped.

The second issue I had with him was that he was always sending me pictures and asking my opinion. If I said something simple like, “that’s very nice”, he would say, “only nice?” He was constantly asking me if I thought he was handsome and if I liked the sound of his voice. I found myself becoming less sincere in my compliments and some occasions flat out lying. The final straw came when he began to get annoyed with me because I didn’t text him as often as he text me. If my responses were less than four words he would be disappointed. If I didn’t text at all he would text me worried asking if I was alright and why hadn’t I contacted him in twelve hours. Keep in mind that we were just pre-dating. You know, that awkward period where you’re still debating whether to date a person or not. Well needless to say, I decided not to officially date him.

Now looking back on the incident I feel that perhaps I was a little harsh. Not that I’d still ever date him, just maybe I was a little too judgmental. After thinking about it a bit I realized that I had done all of those very same things at one point or another. Although in my defense I was fully relationship not just in the getting to know you stage. In the beginning this other guy I use to date was very sweet and complimented me often, then he became the complete opposite; he never ever complimented me on anything. He also often ignored my text and I felt that if I didn’t text him he would never text me. I remember getting annoyed when I would text him a long message and he would give me a one word response or just LOL.

Over time I began to question whether or not he was even attracted to me. I found myself throwing hints trying to get him to compliment me, in other words fishing for compliments. Each time I vowed to never do it again, but I couldn’t help it. I would end up doing it over and over again and before I knew it my self-esteem began to suffer a little. Then I wondered, why should what he thinks of me affect how I feel about myself? It didn’t and I knew this, but I still felt insecure in the relationship, which gave me anxiety and ultimately lead us to breaking up. I realized that I need to know where I stand in a relationship. I don’t want to guess, I want to know exactly how my partner feels. If I have to start fishing for compliments then maybe it’s time to throw that fish back in the sea and hope I’ll find one that’s not crazy and that doesn’t keep me guessing.

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