I've written a bit about my dating experiences here and on Facebook. I'm usually quite open about my life and always hope that what I'm going through is relatable, that maybe it can benefit someone else to share my story. As it turns out, I've had quite a lot of interest in my dating experiences. Many of my friends, mostly female, have told me they like hearing an inside view of the dating scene. I've had people ask me questions and share their own stories with me. So I've decided to delve into the topic even further here with a series of posts. Some posts will be lighthearted. Some will be serious. Some may be a bit TMI, but I figure if I'm going to share, I might as well truly share.
So right off the bat, I'm going to start with a harsh reality of dating, online or otherwise: Yes, you will probably cry. You will likely get hurt. You'll feel overwhelming frustration. People will make you mad. They will hurt your feelings. You will be forced to examine yourself, your motivations and your emotions. It's not always pretty, so let's just get this grim truth out of the way.photo credit: martinak15 via photopin cc
If You Don't Even Meet Them
Something you should know right now is that despite the fact that I joke on Facebook and here on the blog about some of the ridiculous things men have said to me online, it can be profoundly frustrating. Okay, you may not cry over the frustration, but you'll probably want to. Truth be told, on a bad day, I'm sure I've cried in exasperation over the sheer pitifulness of the entire male species at that very moment. Yes, I said, "that very moment." Please don't think I'm anti-male or a man hater. If I were, would I even bother? Nope, I don't think so. But some days...
For instance, I just signed back into one of my online dating profiles. I know I said I was quitting them, but this is kind of an experiment. Here are the results of that experiment. Not even ten minutes after reactivating my account, I received a message saying, "Gm, beautiful how are u" Yes, it was written just like that. There are so many things wrong with this that it merits its own blog post. A post which I intend to write. But for now, let's just deconstruct this one message and why it's so frustrating to me.
#1 - I'm a writer. Had he actually looked at my profile, he would have known that. Does this guy really think it's a good idea to approach a writer with text-ese such as, "Gm" and "how are u"? We won't even go into the lack of punctuation or capitlization.
#2 - Our match rate. Another indication that he hadn't actually bothered to really look at my profile is that we are a 64% match. Okay, I'll admit it's not the lowest, but it isn't good.
#3 - He called me, "beautiful." Yes, that may seem like a nice thing, a compliment even. But when you don't know someone and are interacting for the first time? Please. Don't.
So when you receive message after message of this caliber or worse, it can bring you to tears without even having to meet the person. Remind me to tell you about the time a guy approached me with, "You into BDSM, Goddess?" Yep. True story. Oh, I almost forgot the time I was thisclose to actually going out with a guy when he asked me what I'd be wearing, following up that question with the suggestion that maybe I could go without panties because it'd be fun. Yep. Another true fucking story.
After You've Met Them
So you've had your first date. It went well. Yay! You've set up a second date, a third. You know where this is going, right? We've all been in relationships before, and we know the possible outcomes. Yet we keep going back for more. So buck up and face the fact that it's possible that guy you click with will be the source of some tears. I don't mean to be negative or harsh. I really don't. I do, however, feel a duty to remind you that the euphoria of a new romantic connection is often fleeting. It's part of the process. No one reminded me of that.
I've been through a number of hurts with regard to my relationships with men over the past several months. There was the man who was separated and decided to go back to his wife, breaking off all contact. Through an email, no less. Please no lectures. I know. Not the smartest move on my part to get involved in the first place. It was a rather casual relationship, and the tears were mostly because of the fact that I'd lost my friend. Then there was the only actual relationship of real substance I've had since my separation and divorce. Things with that one ended due to some differences in the ways we approached life, as well as the fact that it seemed he was not willing to go out of his way for me. The second part hurt. Quite a bit.
Then there was the guy who, I believe, decided he no longer wished to be involved with me and turned the entire breakdown of our "romantic partnership" around as being my fault, accepting no responsibility whatsoever and playing a huge mindfuck on me. Yes, I'm still bitter over that one. "Mindfuck" is a great word, by the way. Thank you to my older and wiser female friend for introducing me to it, as it so aptly and succinctly describes the manipulation involved in that entire experience. And, finally, there was the man who didn't think sex should be a negotiation. What? I don't even know. That one still baffles me. I believe there was some mindfucking going on in that situation, as well. Thus, my next online dating reality post will probably surround the need for women to be secure in themselves, with a strong understanding of who they are, prior to dating. It's very easy to lose yourself and to allow others to define your truth if you aren't aware of and secure in who you are. I know I had to take a few steps back to examine what may have been true in these situations and what was merely projected upon me as a defense mechanism or way of escaping a difficult situation.
When They're Gone
If you're like me, there may even be instances where you cry long after they're gone from your life. There may be regret, things you wish you'd said or a longing for the times that were good. There are likely to be times you look back on mistakes and feel sorry that you allowed yourself to make them. You may miss someone you dated with a genuine fierceness. Ladies, I will warn you that these emotions can come on hard, strong, suddenly and absolutely without warning. Most often during PMS, but they are real. I advise taking the time to honor and acknowledge them. Don't, however, allow yourself to dwell on them or to get stuck in them. Doing so will only hold you back. And don't allow them to take over your life. I've heard people say, "I no longer trust anyone." I can honestly tell you I've felt that very same thing. I simply do not wish to live that way. Maybe I'm just too stubborn to give up, but I still believe a genuine,loving, equitable connection can be found.
Plus, I just really don't want to end up a crazy cat lady, which has been suggested as one possibility for my future. Don't ask.