Dating · Men

A Break from Dating: 10 Things Learned for Next Time

Is there anyone else out there who has been dating as long as me? I have been dating so long; I should have a dating app named after me. I’m exhausted. I am no quitter, but my patience is wearing thin. It’s time to hang up the proverbial dating hat and take a much-needed break.

I have no idea what single men my age are looking for these days, other than sex, unless he’s a eunuch. A friend of mine made a statement to me recently that stuck with me, “the men you date must not be looking for the same thing as you.” It is entirely possible they are not looking for anything at all. It’s time the dating fairy stop dropping them off on my doorstep and find another address or at least leave me shoe money as a consolation.

My patience has been tested many times over. The men I meet are recently divorced, with children, in transition, and are a bit selfish. Okay, a lot selfish. Who can blame them? It’s not uncommon after a failed relationship to want to be free, play or “find himself.” Most of them seem oblivious to the fact that they may hurt others in the process, or they just don’t care to humanize the situation. Apparently, I have been put on earth to boost the male ego. How lucky am I? I’m such a giver.

Plenty are content with a casual relationship. I’m not one of them. I have to believe someone is up there looking out for me because I’ve dodged more than a few bullets. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. A girl can only take so much, and I am in dire need of a spa getaway. It may be a pipe dream at this point, but I am completely comfortable saying, I want something more substantial, regardless if I met you on Tinder or in a coffee house.

Without getting too personal, here are five scenarios I experienced over the past year. All these stories start the same way: “I met someone online, we chatted for a bit, exchanged numbers and started texting.”

1. Man #1 – No one sticks Baby on the back burner.

We had good chemistry and enjoyed our time together. He cooked me dinner which is a rare treat for me. I come from a restaurant family, so few men have dared don an apron for me. Hey, I like adventure and a girl’s got to eat. The dinner was great, and he earned serious brownie points.

A month or so later he casually told me he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Okay then. He still had the hots for someone from his past. He seemed fine continuing to see me until he figured out his next move. Oh, that’s right, I failed to mention that fortunately for me, I never learned how to play second fiddle. I called him the next day to let him know I couldn’t do “this” whatever “this” was anymore.

Soon after; he had a girlfriend. The boy worked quick. I deleted his contact information. A few months later, I received a text from an unknown number. I had no clue who sent it. Who memorizes numbers these days? So, I text back, “I’m sorry, who is this?” Apparently, that is a big no, no. Guess who? I can only assume he missed my magnetic personality.

2. Man #2 – The dangers of the “People You May Know” feed on Facebook.

He very well could be the one who might have been but didn’t get a chance to be, and possibly does not exist. He lives out of state. Already, it is not ideal and odds stacked against us. His daughter opted to travel with him last minute and thwarted our plans for a first date. I’ll take that at face value. Weeks after, his face popped up continuously on my “people you may know” feed. So, of course, I do the illogical thing and send him a friend request. I like to live dangerously.

We connected and chatted for a bit and moved over to texting. Mid-text, I took one of his photos from Facebook and added it to his contact profile on my phone. Easy enough and no one would be the wiser. Until, his photo got stuck on my home screen. I tried to remove it when I heard, “swoosh.” Ut oh! There he was smiling back at me in my text response to him. How embarrassing is that? You know when you over-explain something and make it worse? Yeah, I did that! He took his time responding back.

It turns out my snafu was no big deal, and he asked me out a second time. That date didn’t happen. Who knows? Maybe we’ll give it that old college try, but the odds are not looking good.

3. Man #3 – Baby, you’re a Firework.

I skipped lunch that day and met him after work. I was starving and asked if we could order an appetizer. Over the sound of my stomach growling, I believe he said he was not hungry. Either that or he was originally from Hungary. I’m not entirely sure. I was willing to pay for food at that point but did not want to be rude. I think he thought my lightheadedness was appealing because he laughed at everything I said. Which is fine, if everything I said was meant to be funny. I chalked it up to nerves. No big deal.

The date continued and after two glasses of wine on an empty stomach, I got happier. Doesn’t this place offer bread, crackers or trail mix? He gave me a quick peck on the lips goodnight. As I opened my car door, he went in for another one. Unfortunately, I did not feel a spark. Right at that moment fireworks went off in the distance. How’s that for timing? I mistakenly asked him if he heard fireworks. Even more ridiculous, he did not hear them at first.

Rewind, I didn’t intend for him to think we were sharing in one of those big, romantic movie moments. Apparently, he felt the fireworks. Me? I questioned if I would ever feel them again.

4. Man #4 – Boo! The unfortunate ghost!

I thought this one had potential. He offered to tag along to a friends party for our first date. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. Either: A) He is a brave soul, and we will enjoy the party or B) He is a little nutty, and I will need to prepare an emergency exit strategy. I suggested we meet beforehand. He was even better in person: attractive, in shape, sweet eyes, rugged, intelligent, engaging conversationalist, and humble.

He braved it out, and we went to the party. My friends liked him. He left before me and kissed me goodbye. I felt a spark. Whew! I was relieved to feel something as I thought my mojo took a siesta. Minutes after he left the party he sent me a very sweet text message. He peaked my interest. I returned to the party, a bit weaker in the knees, and my friend’s mother told me she approved of him.

He and I saw each other only once more. Although, we did play a serious game of text tag. His messages started out fun, flirty and sweet, somewhere took a formal turn and eventually stopped. So, I think that technically means he’s still “it.” The man has an insanely demanding job, and I appreciate that, but I don’t need a brick wall to fall on my head. I get it. He ghosted me. I could assume one of many reasons why he lost interest, but as the French say, se le vie.

5. Man #5 – The Hiker.

What started off as a joke about crazy profile photos we both encountered while browsing through dating apps, took an awkward turn. He sent me pictures of himself flexing: a bicep here, a quad there. It was funny until it wasn’t anymore. My gut said, girl, do not entertain this guy. I’m not sure why I stopped listening to my gut but let’s just say it’s time to reopen that line of communication.

So, as I was getting ready for my date (oh yeah, I went because I’m silly sometimes), Man #4 sent me a text. So now I’m distracted and a bit disjointed. It’s like he knew I was going on a date with someone else. How do they do that?

I meet Man #5 at a bar/restaurant. He thought I was feisty and liked that about me. When we said good night, his hands wandered everywhere. A Ninja could not keep up with this guy. On the drive home, I came to the realization that I am no good at dating multiple people and apparently I need to learn some Ninja skills.

He asked me out to lunch. I agreed. “Hello, I’m your gut! Remember me?” He forgot about our date. How’s that for feeling memorable? He suggested he make it up to me and buy me dinner. I wasn’t interested but told him I would think about it. “Rumble, rumble,” said my gut. The next day we messaged back and forth, and he joked about sending me yet another flexing photo. Noooooo!

A few days pass and he reached out to me again. He was persistent; I give him that. I caved and agreed to go on a light hike with him. My gut punched me in the face. The afternoon before the hike, he sent me a text canceling because he met someone else. I hope he does take that hike off a tall cliff. I’m joking, a short cliff works just fine.

So, after that and then some, I learned some things and jotted them down as a reminder to myself. I hope you find them useful:

  1. Give the dating apps a rest for now and be more selective next time. 
  2. It’s time to sit back and reassess how I approach dating. 
  3. Believe in me more and take care of myself. 
  4. Trust my gut because it’s never wrong. Pay Attention to signals, signs, and words. 
  5. It’s okay to feel discouraged and take a break from dating, but don’t give up entirely no matter how desperately I want to throw in the towel. 
  6. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably wrong. 
  7. Stop giving so many second, third and fourth chances.
  8. Don’t waste each other’s time.
  9. If a man doesn’t make an effort, don’t help him along. Let it go. 
  10. Enjoy and live life, be around people who bring me up, travel more, worry less, and laugh a lot. 

To all my sisters out there in the same boat, if you need a break, take it, but don’t give up entirely. Learn and grow from every situation but stay who you are and don’t let anyone change you. Much love!

GLC

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