A year ago this weekend I went on my first date with someone I met online. After being out of the game for seven years I was hesitant. No, I was scared. I was afraid that I no longer knew how to interact with men. I was also afraid that I had gotten too comfortable with my singleness and wouldn’t be open to inviting someone else in. Honestly, I love my life and anyone that I meet would have to add something positive to it. I was also afraid that I would fall back into my old habit of forgetting who I was and immersing myself in another person. It would have been easier to stay single and avoid the whole thing. Easier maybe – but not what I wanted. I wanted to meet someone special. I wanted someone in my life. So, I moved forward.
The last 12 months have been interesting. For the most part, men have not changed. They are entertaining to say the least. The one thing that I have noticed is that in 2017 (most) men aren’t willing to do a whole lot to get a woman. They aren’t the pursuers that they once were. They’ve gotten lazy. I can’t say that it is 100% their fault though. Women make it too easy for men to do nothing. We don’t require enough from them and consequently, they won’t do much.
While I believe that men have not changed much I know that I have. I’m much more realistic in these situations. No more sweaty palms or heart flutters. Don’t get me wrong -- I’m not cynical – I believe in love and romance. However, I believe that a person has to be intentional when it comes to love. I’m not going to rush anything or sacrifice my calm, peaceful life just so I can have a great romantic story to tell. Here’s a sampling of some of what I’ve experienced:
I “met” a guy who would only text me during the week and only during working hours. Never at night and never on the weekend. Can you say, “red flag”? Even after I gave him my number and told him I would rather not text – he still texted. He got blocked and deleted.
I had several conversations with someone who seemed perfectly content with keeping our interactions on the phone only. He was very nice and was really good at the superficial chit-chat. No thank you.
I told one potential suitor that I had a cat and he said she would have to go because he was allergic. I said, “Excuse me?” He said, “Do you want a husband or do you want a cat?” First, I never said I wanted a husband. Second, we hadn’t even met in person at this point. Third, who in the hell do you think you’re talking to? Next.
I enter each one of these situations with eyes wide open. I don’t make excuses for unacceptable behavior. I recognize it early and respond quickly. There was one man who was definitely on the “fast track”. Everything seemed to be accelerated. He nicknamed me. He wanted to spend a ridiculous amount of time together. He even offered me money … which I thought was creepy. (Sidenote: I was in the process of starting a new job and I guess he thought I might need some cash until I got my first check. I don’t know. It was weird especially since it was before we actually met in person). I told him he was coming in too hot and he just kind of laughed it off. After a few dates I let him go.
There have been more misses than hits but with each experience I was able to find the lesson. The overall lesson for me is to be patient. Even if I don’t meet “the one” if I can learn how to be more patient than that is a WIN for me.
Another lesson learned is that it always pays to be honest from day one. No one wants their time wasted. It is foolish to pretend to be something that you are not so someone will like you. Eventually, who you really are is going to surface and if that person can’t accept you than that is definitely their issue.
If I had to give someone advice on this process I’d share the following nuggets:
o Be clear on what you want and what you don’t want. Don’t waiver when it comes to your core values. Settling is not an option.
o Don’t be afraid to politely decline if it doesn’t feel right. Trust your gut!
o Take your time. There is absolutely no rush.
o Never go in thinking that you can change someone. If he tells you he’s not looking for anything serious – believe him.
o Be safe. Take care of YOU first. Not everyone deserves to date you.
In a nutshell, don’t be afraid to open your mouth and speak! In the past year a few men have called me “bossy”, “direct” and “outspoken”. Whatever. I am articulate enough to get my point across without being offensive. These particular men were looking for someone who was a bit more docile and passive. I ain’t her.
So, where am I now? Currently, I am three months into something that could actually turn into something. He’s a good guy so I’m hopeful. We’ll see. We both hid our online profiles after about two weeks so we could concentrate on each other without distractions. As much as I don’t want to start the process over again because, for real, it is exhausting, I’ll do it if I have to. I like the guy but my eyes are wide open.