Should you date a player?

Mandhie asks: There is this guy in my school who is in the same year as me. The first day I got to the school and saw him, I had a crush on him – and I think he did too, because I noticed him staring at me. Because he is so cute, handsome, tall, and has all the features of a good-looking guy, a lot of girls like him. So far, he’s dated like four of my friends that I know; but since he saw me, he has been trying to ignore his current girlfriend (and my year group teases us both). At times, he smiles to me when they tease us, but I feel too shy to return a smile because I don’t want anything to happen between his current girlfriend and me. Now, apparently, his current girlfriend is dating another guy in the school, so my crush is happy about it and is kind of trying to get into my way, but I don’t like that idea. Though I like him, I don’t like the fact that he has dated a lot of girls and wants to date me too, because I’m not the kind of girl who doesn’t care when they are dumped in a relationship. Also, I have never dated before and have no experience. What should I do?

Hi Mandhie –

Wow, this is a great story!  Handsome likes to watch all these complex shows on TV like the one about the big old house in England, or the one about the ad agency, and this sounds like them!

And in one of those shows, you would be the heroine.

Okay, first of all, as I’ve said on here a lot, there is nothing wrong with crushes.  Crushes are absolutely great.  It’s okay to have a boyfriend but have a crush on someone else; it’s okay to be married and have a crush on someone else.  That’s the whole thing about crushes – they’re not a real relationship.  They’re innocent fantasy.  You love someone’s looks, or the sound of their voice, or something they’ve done, and feel like you’re really in love with them, although you don’t know them at all.  It’s safe, and it’s fun.

But real relationships are tougher.  They involve compromise and taking chances, and most of all, they involve Trust.  If everyone in the world insisted on only dating people they could trust, the world would be a lot happier place (and the population problem would probably be a thing of the past!).

The fact is, this boy sounds great.  I think I’m getting a crush on him just from your description.  He’s handsome, clearly all the girls like him so he must be charming and fun… what’s not to like?

Well, there is something not to like.  And that’s that his style doesn’t mesh with your needs.  You are young, you’re sensitive, and you’re inexperienced in dating.  And you want, and deserve, to go out with someone who treats you with respect and cares about how you’re feeling.  I’m not saying you deserve someone perfect – teenage boys make mistakes no matter how hard they try! – but you deserve someone who cares.

And this boy, because of his personality, maybe, or at least his looks, doesn’t really have to care.  He’s enjoying playing the game of dating, in a way that’s really fun for him.  And I don’t begrudge him that, but you are very right that it’s possible he could end up hurting you.

Imagine a kid who has never played basketball, but wants to try it.  And let’s say she goes onto a court for his first time, against an Olympic basketball team.  She’s going to get run over, she’s going to get the ball taken away from her if she ever gets it, she’s going to be booed by the crowd, and I’d imagine she’ll just leave the court crying after a few minutes.  Now, though, imagine that she goes to a basketball class for kids, and gets onto the court with a nice coach and other kids around her level.  She’ll probably fall down, she’ll get embarrassed by making bad shots, she’ll get some muscle aches… and she’ll have a GREAT TIME!  It’ll be fun!  And over time she’ll get better at it.  And eventually, maybe she’ll get so good that she can take on those Olympic players.

There’s no shame in being new at this.  And I think it’s absolutely great that you’re self-aware, sensitive, and smart.  So here’s the one thing I want you to add.  I want you to be proud of what you are.  I want you to know that you are a treasure, and really cool.  And when that boy does come around and ask you out (as it seems he will), I want you to be able to smile and coolly look him in the eye, and tell him that you don’t go out with “players.”  You would only go out with a guy who was worthy of you, and especially of your trust.  And if he wants to date you, he’s going to have to earn every bit of it.

Now, Mandhie, do you see what you’ve just done?  You have become the Olympic team, and he’s become the amateur.

And that, my dear, is the setup for a great love story – if he’s interested enough – or for a very simple and healthy job of keeping yourself safe, if he’s not.

Have fun with this.  You’re awesome!



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