Dating when you’re not in person

I’m dating someone new and it’s fascinating noticing my thoughts and feelings–so much opportunity for learning! I met him in St Pete, FL while I was visiting to see if I want to move there. We saw each other 4 times in the 2 weeks I was there. Turns out I do want to move there and I already signed a lease, so now there is potential for us to keep dating. We have talked about the future a little bit and wanting to explore things together. He’s the first person I have had any ongoing dating connection with in a few years, so it feels meaningful in that way. Communication has been solid and we feel really comfortable with each other. Aaaand . . . now that I’m back home packing up and preparing for my move, we’ll be apart for a couple weeks and my brain is offering me thoughts about his texts not having emojis to make his tone perfectly clear. Or wanting more enthusiastic texts from him (with emojis, clearly). Like I see that I have this manual for his behavior and I’m judging my manual as kinda ridiculous.

I’m also having some anxiety about if/whether we’ll talk on the phone or do a Zoom call (which we discussed as a possibility) and if he’ll initiate it. He’s not much of a planner, but he has definitely found ways to express interest so far. I feel nervous about me stepping into a more masculine/planning/initiating role because he isn’t doing it. I don’t like that feeling (based on past experience) because it comes from this sense of resentment & anxiety rather than actually wanting to do it. I do think a video date would help me to keep that connected feeling that we started in-person though and it might be more of a need for me than for him, which is OK. Texting doesn’t do much of anything for me in terms of building connection. I guess I’m anticipating him NOT planning a video date soon enough for my liking and then feeling anxious and not knowing whether or not to express my anxiety . . . because then I’m basically telling him to plan, which still feels like me initiating things. And yes, I realize none of this has happened and isn’t helpful . . . so more self-judgment around that.

I’d like to text him when I want and if I suggest a video call to do so from a place of caring and wanting to connect and excitement to chat with him. But I guess I’m judging myself for having that need and also feeling more vulnerable that I may want more contact than he does. I’d also like to see how he shows up while we’re apart and how much he wants to connect, so that is another reason I don’t want to lead things too much.

And then I’m also thinking about Brooke’s podcast on being proactive in relationships. Like, maybe we should discuss expectations for this time apart or something? He has usually been texting me every day, so I anticipate that continuing. I think he knows I’m busy preparing for my move and he knew I was busy in St Pete exploring the area, so he said that (in St Pete) and expressed he definitely wanted to see me again, but also wanted to give me space, so just to let him know when I was free. That worked well for me because of how he expressed his interest first.

I guess I’m trying to find that balance between being an empowered woman and saying what I want, but not doing all the emotional labor of a relationship and then resenting it and/or emasculating him. But I also don’t want to be anxious wondering if he’ll want to plan anything. I guess I just want him to follow my manual and plan a couple video dates and include emojis in texts. Or maybe use voice audios on WhatsApp.

How do I get more clarity? I feel stressed and anxious and all over the place at the moment.