Dear 100 Hour Board,
Keep in mind that this question is coming from a girl with virtually no dating experience, nor has she had any close male friends.
I met a guy from online and we've gone out three times already. We either text or email every day. We seem to have a lot in common. He has held my hand and even kissed me. I know that he likes me a lot. My problem is, how do I know if I like him? I don't get butterflies when I see him, and I didn't feel a spark or anything when he held my hand or kissed me (though I did enjoy kissing him). I feel really comfortable around him, like I can tell him anything. I thought if you like someone you're supposed to be nervous and have butterfly feelings. If I don't have those, is he more of a friend than a prospective boyfriend?
-say my name, say my name
Dear Name Dropper,
When I was nineteen, I felt weird because my dating experience was extremely limited. I hadn't gone on more than like 3 dates total, and I had never kissed anyone or had a boyfriend. So the next time I had a crush on a boy, I made the executive decision that he was going to be my boyfriend. I flirted a lot, and made sure he saw me as much as possible. Slowly but surely, I could see him develop interest in me. It was a good feeling. When he put his arm around my shoulders, I felt butterflies, and when he held my hand, I felt very comfortable.
However, shortly after, I reevaluated my feelings and discovered I was acting more out of a desire to have a boyfriend than I was genuine interest in this particular guy. I felt terrible for essentially convincing him to like me, then abandoning him when I realized those butterflies and sense of comfort weren't the same as a personal and romantic connection.
When I met my current boyfriend, I didn't feel particularly comfortable around him, but there weren't butterflies either. I was deeply infatuated with him for a few weeks before he asked me out, because I found him intimidating in terms of both personality and attractiveness. Leading up to our first date, I was a mix of excited and nervous. But the more we talked and got to know each other, the more I grew to respect and admire him. When we kissed for the first time, I definitely felt a spark, and I fantasized about it for a long time after.
From those stories, I mean to say that everyone feels romantic attraction differently. I felt butterflies with the first guy, whom I didn't end up dating, but not with my boyfriend. I felt comfortable around the guy I didn't end up dating, but intimidated by my boyfriend. So basically, you shouldn't rely on what other people say you're supposed to feel.
Romantic attraction can grow, and sometimes it takes time to figure out your feelings. In the meantime, I would be careful about leading him on, because you don't want to imply feelings that you don't actually have. But it's totally okay if you don't feel nervous or have butterflies--it doesn't mean you don't like him, necessarily.
How do you know that you like hiking when you've never hiked before? Or a new song or food or friend? My guess is that you've never had to refer to someone else to determine whether you've liked any of those things. Whether or not you like a person you're semi-dating is no different. You're the only one who can say if you like the guy or not.
It's true that other people have had butterfly nervous sensations when they're romantically interested in another person, but that doesn't mean you have to. Again, we can't tell you what you're supposed to feel, or truly interpret your emotions.