Recently I was asked for my “philosophy of dating”. It took me a while to stop laughing. I mean seriously, a philosophy of dating? That’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while.

But the person persisted and I thought about it for a while. Finally I came up with this, “things are always more complicated than they seem”.

For example: The guy who didn’t call you. Don’t just make assumptions about whether or not he likes you. His calling or not calling may have nothing to do with you. Or maybe it does. Maybe he’s over-thinking whether or not he should call. It’s not always call = he likes you and no call = he doesn’t like you.

Or, the man who seems like a great boyfriend might be just that. Loving and loyal and kind. Or he might be working really hard at it/putting on a show. And sometime soon his best behavior might disappear, leaving you in bed with a man you barely recognize.

Or, you could find out tomorrow that the happiest couple you know is getting a divorce. That their relationship has been on the rocks for years and everything you thought you knew about them was a sham (while this whole time you and everyone you know have been wanting to be more like this seemingly perfect couple).

It’s impossible to know what’s inside another person’s mind. IMPOSSIBLE. It might give you comfort to pretend you can know, guess, predict. But you can never really know. Not even someone you’ve known for years. And certainly not someone you’re dating.

So all of the game playing and posturing and attempts to manipulate one another, that’s all just nonsense. Some of it might be fun nonsense and some of it may even be effective (to a degree) nonsense. But it can never be more than nonsense. Because things are always more complicated than they seem.

More from Beliefnet and our partners