Every once in a while I dip a toe into online dating. I’ve had three dates in as many forays. Two were so “meh” neither I, nor the two men I had a quick lunch with, bothered to contact each other again after.
The third guy I saw twice. We emailed and texted enthusiastically for a few days and made casual plans to meet on a Friday night. The morning after our first meeting, a quick coffee with chatting and connection and quick peck goodnight, he texted me with a nice to meet you. Also, we had been standing there a bit awkwardly before parting because he had been waiting for an invitation back to my place.
He told me I was aggressive but I couldn’t remember one signal I sent that might have been interpreted as: Nice to meet you. Sex?
We texted a lot more and I tried to dial back and find the balance between flirting and overtly sexual. We scheduled a second meeting for the next weekend– wine at his apartment– but I backed out because I wasn’t comfortable with what I felt was intense intimacy with someone I barely knew. He got irked and asked me “What’s your deal, anyway?”
We talked it out and decided to try again. We had a quiet glass of wine at his place. No pressure. I had a nice time, we talked about making future plans. He gave me a quick kiss and I left pleased, relaxed and wanting more.
Then I didn’t hear from him. The next Friday I texted him to see if he had weekend plans and might want to do something fun together. He suggested it was better if we both moved on. The next texted exchange went like this:
Me: Wow. Ok, then.
Me: I have a lot to learn about this internet dating rhythm.
Him: Yes you do.
I deleted him from my existence.
I felt sad, rejected and frustrated and tried to figure out what I did wrong, said wrong; was there something he said or did that I missed or did I insult him accidentally? I couldn’t think of anything. I tried to learn from the exchange in order to not make the same mistakes again. There’s a specific language and dance to internet dating. I would figure it out.
Then I had another thought, a sentiment that has freed me from myself on several occasions: Perhaps being good at internet dating is not a skill I want to master.
I am a solid and dedicated friend. I am a supportive, committed and loving girlfriend. I have a high threshold and determination when met with struggle. I find it easy to compromise and find solutions. I am inclined to let people be themselves and try to adjust within reason.
But I don’t get There easily. And because I don’t get There easily I don’t leave There easily. I am dogged in love relationships, perhaps causing us both undue stress when they have failed, but it’s who I am and a sacrifice I’m willing to make because I think the benefits outweigh the risks.
Internet dating doesn’t demand patience. In fact, in my experience it fosters the opposite. It’s dating instant gratification and since, evidently, I didn’t take my date home the first night and I, admittedly, have trust issues, it seemed to be self-evident to him that I wasn’t worth the effort.