A year of lackluster dating

I’m taking a break from the philosophical and the scientific to talk about what it’s been like trying to get back into the dating scene over the last year. I mentioned in my previous post that my divorce caused me to make some questionable dating choices, and here I thought it would be fun to explore those a little. So, without further ado…

Girl #1: A couple of years old than me. My best friend and his girlfriend set us up. She was intelligent, attractive, and fun to be around. We saw each other for two months, during which time I learned that she was an alcoholic drug addict (and I don’t mean that vindictively). She also cheated on me while we were together. I was unceremoniously dropped like a sack of bricks for a coworker.

Girl #2: Younger than me, but quite professionally successful. We met on a dating website. Attractive, intelligent, in great shape. We had a ton of stuff in common. We dated off an on because she had big time commitment issues until finally she moved out of town and we stopped seeing each other.

Girl #3: Again, younger than me. Again, from a dating site. She spent the entirety of the first date trying to convince me that she was psychic. Against my better judgment I agreed to a second date, during which she asked if she could kiss me, “just to clear the air,” whatever that means. I declined, and that was the end of that.

Girl #4: A year older than me, and from a dating website. She used to be a hooters waitress, which frankly wasn’t as much of a plus as she thought it was. Anyway, she would never text or call me first, because she had a rule about the man always initiating everything. Yeah, no thanks. If I’m doing everything, you just want an indentured servant, not a partner. No second date there.

Girl #5: Older than me again, and another website date. We didn’t have that much in common (I love outdoorsy stuff and she hated being in nature). She spent most of the date trying to convince me that Obamacare was evil and that the only reason I didn’t think so was because I, “didn’t make enough money.” So, no, there was no second date after that.

Girl #6: The last one of the bunch, and also from a dating website. It was a pretty casual date–we just watched movies at her place because she worked odd hours. But she was a smoker, which is a huge, gigantic turn off. Plus she kept telling me that she has impossible standards and all of this other weird stuff, so goodbye second date.

From all of these experiences I learned two things. First and foremost, online dating is a waste of time. I can now say that I tried it and the results were terrible. After girl #6 I quickly deleted every online dating site account I had and I’m not looking back.

But the second, and most important thing, that I learned was how to recognize red flags and say no. I’ll freely admit that I’m a dude who doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem for a variety of reasons. So when an attractive, intelligent woman finds me attractive, I tend to put the blinders on. But no more. I’ve finally mastered the art of recognizing, “This person is not right for me and it would never work out.” And that discovery is worth its weight in gold, so to speak.

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20 thoughts on “A year of lackluster dating

  1. The having high standards is something that it took me a long time to figure out as well.
    I’ve just recently started online dating.
    I’ve experienced quite a few crazy people. But I’ve also met a few individuals that seem sane. Granted, I’ve only been on one second date I wouldn’t mind turning into a third, so I don’t have a wealth of experience. But fun (strange) times, nonetheless ^_^

    1. I’m glad someone is having a good experience with online dating lol. Seriously, though, I’m sure there are perfectly sane people out there on dating websites. My biggest problem is distinguishing them from the crazies on paper. I usually can’t figure out if they’re nuts until the first date, when I can actually speak to and see them.

      1. You and me both.
        I created a barrier against some of the crazies by writing a novel-length profile. It weeds out a few of the crazies from the get-go because it takes true dedication to make it through all the paragraphs. ^_-

        After that, well, after a few messages, let’s do coffee! Otherwise, one runs the danger of becoming attached to an online persona… which can be incredibly dissimilar from the person who actually shows up ^_^ And I still don’t know how to avoid that fiasco.

        The best I can do is set up a coffee date and have a sudden emergency spring up if things get awkward ^_^

      2. Smart idea! I’ve definitely had situations where the persona in real life didn’t at all match the persona online. It was like someone came along a popped me balloon. Maybe one day I’ll return to the online dating thing, but for now I’ve decided to go about it the old fashioned way.

  2. I think I would have left out girl #1 or worded it so as not to tell people I was dumped by an alcoholic-drug-addict-cheater, but maybe that speaks more of my self-esteem than yours lol. If they go in order, then I guess you did improve and maybe threw in the towel just when you were figuring it out.

    1. Perhaps I have no shame left after all of my misadventures lol. They are in order, and I think I’m a better place for having realized that it’s ok to know what you want…or what you know you definitely don’t want in some cases.

  3. I am only 23 years old and on the verge of 24, so my experience is limited compared to others, however, I would like to shed some light on my thoughts about this. Forgive me for being so blunt, but a common theme I notice with each of your dates is you did not have a friendship with these women prior to going on a first date. People can be quite disingenuous online ( some friends of mine on Facebook are, let alone strangers on a dating site). People put on a persona when they know you are interested in them right away, they bait you in only to show a disappointing side on the first date. Friendship is a unique first step to a long lasting relationship because the person unfolds himself/herself in a real way before your eyes. It’s hard for men and women alike to conceal how much they like each other upon meeting one another, The problem is the idea of soul mates is just so hyped up and dependent upon extreme emotions (and quite frankly idiotic) that it should not be taken very seriously (which you understand, I know this). Friendship isn’t something you look for, it’s something that just happens to you. It could be 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, who knows. You find someone who has a lot in common with you and the challenge is not asking her out right away. Let her unfold right before your eyes. Again, popular beliefs tell us to fearlessly dive in, but what if the person is not who you thought they were? Casually hang out with her and see what happens. You will notice little things like “does she pay for half the activity or expect you to take care of it,” well if she doesn’t ever pay, she’s kind of an asshole. Friendship doesn’t make one person initiate and pay for everything, nor do relationships, despite what popular societal beliefs tell us. She is only worth your time if she understands how to treat you. Women who are looking for a relationship before friendship may come with dispositions, which you found out 6 times. Also you don’t feel obligated to her, obligated to impress her, obligated to plan out dates. You will naturally find out what she likes and dislikes. I know one day that woman will cross paths with you, so do not be let down. Please do not think I am lecturing you and telling you how to do things, I just observe people closely and have come up with these conclusions. My parents divorce when I was young and that caused me to be interested in the dynamic of relationships. Like I said, take my word into consideration or leave it, it won’t offend me either way. One last note, when you said “I’ll freely admit that I’m a dude who doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem for a variety of reasons. So when an attractive, intelligent woman finds me attractive, I tend to put the blinders on.” Grown women who are worth your time are actually looking for compatibility, kindness and a like minded mind, not a Channing Tatum bimbo. Someone who takes, takes, takes and expects you to constantly give do not possess a strong mind. You have to believe your time is worth it! Sorry this is so long, and possibly painful to read depending on how you feel about it. You seem like a well rounded person, so don’t underestimate yourself.

    1. I understand what you’re saying, but I think that the whole starting-as-friends thing has it’s downsides as well. It makes sense that you’d really get to know someone before you decide to start a romantic relationship with them. It’s certainly the most sure fire way to determine compatibility. But quite frankly I don’t know very many people who have the ability to dedicate years of friendship just to see if there’s a potential for something more. And moreover, I would think that after awhile there would be some mixed signals, that essentially you’d get stuck in a rut.

      In practice I think there’s a fine balance that’s attainable. I think you can let someone know that you’re interested in them romantically, but that you want to the relationship to develop at a slower or more natural pace, to just see where it goes. You don’t have to label things and set up a time frame right away. Otherwise I think you run the risk of getting stuck in the friend zone, of not wanting to sacrifice a friendship for something more uncertain.

      1. Fair enough. I was thinking less on the lines of hanging out with someone for years to see if there’s a romantic connection and more on the lines of being around someone you naturally enjoy being around and likes to do the things you like to do, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time either way (rejected or not rejected). I know I am young, so I can see how my advice may come off as fantastical or naive. I think that if you let someone know you are romantically interested in the beginning runs the risk of someone making themselves out to be who they are not just to impress you or not telling you things you should know from the beginning, but hey, it’s worth the risk. There should be no fear in the process. Some people are genuine and don’t put on a facade, so you never know.

      2. I don’t think anything you said was naive. I think that it depends on the other person, what their values and expectations are. Don’t listen to me, I’m just a cynical old man :p

      3. I think that if the chemistry is there things move naturally from friendship or aquaintance-ship to something more substantial. I can’t imagine trying to remain friends with someone when there’s clearly more going on. If there’s not, if you’re just friends, then it’s probably not going to work to try to make it into more. If it’s a mutual attraction it’s a hard thing to fight–things can move very quickly.

  4. I think based on your experiences (and based on my own), you made good choices.

    I also think it is important not to try too hard. Let it happen, what you seek often will come to you, you just have to recognize it when it shows up.

    I see that you understand already what many do not see, that is people are very much like onions, they have many layers. What you see at first is the personna they want you to see, the real person shows up after a few layers are removed. As often as not, they stink like the old onion at the bottom of the bag. Some people are very good at hiding their true nature.

    I hate to sound like a Dear Abby column but dont give up, what you are looking for is out there. I went through a very bad situation myself once, I wont go into details here, anyway I was in your shoes. I remember talking to a friend of mine, he told me then “women are like rabbits, just keep shaking the bushes, and one will run out.” In time I met the right gal.

    1. Lmao, your friend sounds like a real hoot. But seriously, you have some excellent advice. It’s just a little daunting sometimes, ya know? But hearing other peoples’ stories is encouraging 🙂

  5. I think you made a wise choice by ending your on-line dating accounts. Even if people are sort of not misrepresenting themselves, they are generally trying to market themselves which means that you leave some of the important things out. I think one of the most interesting arguments that I heard against on-line dating was that it gives you sort of a false sense of a marketplace and causes people to try less because if someone isn’t immediately wonderful they think of all the other profiles there are to choose from, or new profiles that might become available. Not that the girls you dated sounded like keepers, but I think there is an interesting dynamic going on in on-line dating compared to if you decided to date somebody in your circle of friends. In some ways I feel like it’s good to get some info on somebody to narrow the search instead of going into it blindly, but I think as soon as you start to get to know somebody through a profile and a few e-mails back and forth, you start building a picture of that person that is not really complete but we tend to fill in the details. It always makes it hard for the person to ever be the person you thought they were. I think there is also something neat in a relationship that sort of unfolds organically. Maybe you don’t find out that she likes the same TV shows until your 4th date, but I think the profile often prevents one from asking some of the most basic questions about somebody else which can lead to a deeper exploration through conversation.

    1. Totally! I get the marketplace mentality! I have definitely seen that before, and I think that you’re correct in stating that its a huge disadvantage. I like the idea of getting to know someone in your circle…now if I could only befriend some women :p

      1. When people “market” themselves, they are biased–do we see ourselves as others do?

        When interacting virtually, you miss seeing how someone interacts with other people. But, people may also share more of their thoughts online than they would have in person.

  6. totally agree with this whole business-type relationship being quite ridiculous. i read somewhere that you get married ‘for’ someone, cos you WANT to do this and that and everything else FOR them, and vice versa, and that’s how it works beautifully. i guess that makes sense but i’m single B)

    anyway i read a purty cool article. i don’t agree on Everything in it, but some things do ring true.
    http://www.knowledgeformen.com/20-lessons-learn-20s-women-and-dating-single-forever/

    i wish you all the best, and may you find that one person or persons whom you can truly connect to, who will be there for you whenever you need them for whatever, and whom you’d give everything for even if you get nothing in return

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