Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen. — Henry Cloud
I grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, but I have spent over a decade living in warmer climates. In 2015, I moved back home. Upon arrival, I spent my days settling in and reconnecting with family and friends.
As some of the bigger pieces of life started falling into place, I began exploring the social aspects. I decided to check out online dating and joined Match, OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder.
Going online can be overwhelming. When men see my active status, they start chucking pebbles at my window. Suddenly, I am bombarded with emails, chat pop-ups, and whatever else the site offers. I got caught in a web of keeping an open mind, filtering out non-interests, and organizing potential mates. Chatter bubbled up with a handful of guys, which led to a few dates. My focus was on quality over quantity.
What was I looking for?
I longed for a guy I was comfortable with, where the conversation is easy and pauses are natural. Where flirting is instinctive and I ask questions out of curiosity, not to force a stagnant conversation. There has to be an unforeseen force of nature that magically creates an attraction that cannot be defined. We need to click and complement each other like peanut butter and jelly. My ideal man will also have a kind heart, have similar values, be intelligent/clever, and be interesting/intriguing. A love of travel is a huge plus. These are the things that give me butterflies.
What is online dating like?
Online dating is all over the place. There are the nice guys, but conversations are stiff and unnatural. There are the 20-year-old guys who tell me I could be a “cougar.” How insulting. There are the guys who make inappropriate, sexual comments. To avoid negative attention, I picked pictures showing different aspects of my personality and looks, but nothing I would consider sexy. I experienced one scam. The guy who looked great on paper was stuck in Africa and locked out of his bank account. I reported the incident to OK Cupid right away. There was the guy who friend-requested me on Facebook, after Googling me, because he wanted to “get to know me better,” but did not actually want to talk to me. This is voyeurism, and I refuse to accept friend requests from people I have not met. There was the guy who flipped out on me when he asked when I would be available, and I told him after Memorial Day weekend since I would be away. Obviously, we did not meet up. For the most part, the guys I met in person were nice… except for one.
The mean guy
Of course, the mean man was sweet at first. Honey dripped off of his emails, texts, and voice when we chatted on the phone. Until his sugar turned into salt. One day, he asked what I was up to. I informed him I was meeting a friend for lunch at 1:00 p.m. He asked if I could stop by Whole Foods and say, “Hi,” on my way to Newbury Street “a little after 12:00 p.m.” Although my time was limited, I agreed. I knew the following week would be busy.
After getting lost on my way to meet him, I arrived at 12:15 p.m. He texted me, and I informed him I had overshot the place and would be there soon. We did not meet, and I received some pretty nasty texts. At first, I felt guilty for “being late,” so I bought into his accusations. The little voice inside of me said, “red flag,” but I ignored it. I walked to Newbury Street with tense muscles and a lump in my throat. We worked things out, but I knew the exchange was not a good sign.
Later on, we texted some more and decided to meet up. Why did I proceed? Curiosity. When he called, I kept trying to end the call, with the excuse of a dying battery. The spark of interest inside had already evaporated into thin air. However, I had not yet admitted this to myself. I wanted to see if I was the one who should have been more cognizant of time or if he was the one who was being an ass.
We agreed I would find a coffee shop and let him know when I arrived. When I was close, he asked me to meet him on his street.
With hesitation, I obliged. Upon meeting up, he wanted me to hang out with him at his house until his laundry was finished.
Afterward, we could grab a drink. I told him I was not comfortable with this plan since I did not know him. I already told him this several times throughout the day. Yet, he still pressured me to go back to his place. We could not reach an agreement, so I went home.
The insults come flying through my phone
A little after 9:30 p.m., he invited me over to watch a movie at his place. By this point, I had lost all interest. I knew I did not do anything wrong, and my curiosity had been satisfied. I told him we were two different people and explained why. At this point, he got nasty. The insults came flying. Initially, he told me I was “beautiful.” Now, he explained he wanted to hang out at his house because he “was embarrassed to be seen with me.” He flip-flopped between insulting my physical appearance, swearing, and calling me names to begging me to join him at his place. I was tempted to send him the definition of dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) but decided not to stoop to his level. I was finally able to shut down our text exchange.
With every experience, we learn lessons. Here’s what I learned:
- I needed to stand up for myself and not succumb to his nasty taunts.
- Intuition is powerful. I wish I had not ignored the red flags and blamed myself for our failed first attempt at meeting up.
- Never meet a guy on a street corner. If he is worth your time, he will meet you in a public place, where you feel comfortable.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Ashley Jurius on Unsplash