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Thread: Project Dating!

  1. #11
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I think the Bumble Dilemma happened about 2 months in. We'd been kind of experimenting—clumsily, in retrospect—with a kind of "radical honesty" on these fronts. Being open about the nature of singledom, about how one can "still swipe" while exploring something with sincerity, and so on. Immature stuff on both sides posturing as something else. Point being, she hadn't broken any technical rules, though the instinct there, the malice behind it, was clearly something I shouldn't have had much patience for. And I didn't. Truth is, I probably would have given the advice I took: talk about it, see if things settle, and, if they don't, cut bait. They didn't.

    Glad the dog walk went well. I totally hear you on the no flirting = no attraction equation. I'm a social person, flirty by nature. Heck, I have the dubious honor of being labeled Biggest Flirt in both middle and high school, and if they gave superlatives to adults I'd probably still be in the running. So a lot of that stuff comes naturally to me—and, of course, the things that come natural to us tend to be the things we do for validation.

    Funny thing I realized, though: all of my deepest, most genuine romantic connections have not started out with immediate sparks. One was someone I worked with, so we got to know each other in that environment, for months, and eventually went on to date for 3 years and are best friends today; another was a friend of a friend—of someone I was casually dating—and we were all just kind of in the same friend circle for a few months. Also dated three years. In both those relationships—relationships with no shortage of heat—the undergirding was friendship, respect. The hot sauce was an addition—earned, carved out together—rather than the sauce.

    The app stuff can really warp it all, hard. They're sort of an extension social media culture, where everything is about fire and peach emojis, thirst and sass and projection, and where the line between 13 and 33 can become curiously opaque. The app chats can mirror that, fast, as can the app dates. Role-play. You feel about 16 in ways that are both thrilling and nauseating. I remember finding it kind of hot and compelling 6 years ago or so, when I first used the apps. Then there was a three year relationship, and when I went back on two years ago I noticed that little juju had kind of blown up. Made it hard to really take the fast flirt stuff seriously.

    To your question about the pre-date phone call: me, I'm not into it. Never done it, never had it requested. Totally respect the need—everyone has their boundaries, comfort zones, and I'm sensitive to the reality that dating is a more vulnerable thing for women than men. But it feels strange to me.

    I barely text on the apps. Enough to know if there's a seed of curiosity, then I suggest a casual meet up. I just have literally zero interest in knowing what kind of "chemistry" I have with someone on a screen or a phone call, so someone seeking that is likely someone who operates at a different frequency, with different needs. I give people my last name, Google can provide a wealth of knowledge about me thanks to my job, so if that (combined with meeting in daylight, in public) isn't enough to quell nerves, odds are I'm dealing with someone too nervy for me to chill. I'd just prefer someone meet me with the mindset of "Who is this guy?" rather than "Is this guy a creep like the rest?"

    Point being, just as there is nothing wrong with someone asking for a pre-date phone call, I don't think there's anything wrong with deciding you're not keen to explore someone who asks for one. And, of course, that decision can be adjusted.

  2. #12
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    she hadn't broken any technical rules, though the instinct there, the malice behind it, was clearly something I shouldn't have had much patience for.

    That's the thing, just because someone's behaviour isn't 'breaking any rules' doesn't mean it can't be very hurtful and disrespectful. I prefer to keep my dating life totally away from social media - I don't think I've ever broadcast being on a 1st date and I've never put any photos on of me with anyone I'm dating (for me, that's only for when I'm in a committed relationship)

    I barely text on the apps. Enough to know if there's a seed of curiosity, then I suggest a casual meet up

    I've massively reduced my pre-date texting too but might do a bit further tbh.

    Point being, just as there is nothing wrong with someone asking for a pre-date phone call, I don't think there's anything wrong with deciding you're not keen to explore someone who asks for one

    Yeah I think it is important to remember that these things do work both ways.

    Updates (Wed 7th August):

    Emily (Bumble dog walk date) - she doesn't feel we're compatible romantically. Ah well. This is where the mindset thing kicks in, of being chilled about these things. In fairness, I wasn't 100% sure whether I fancied her. I enjoyed her company though, she was good fun and good banter and I would've given it a 2nd date myself but hey ho. She's very keen to join the Meetup group I'm involved with so I've given her the link.

    Couple of chats ongoing although a bit quieter than earlier in the week. I've let a couple of conversations fade away after realising, on seeing further photos, that they were a bit heftier than what I go for. I feel quite shallow saying that but at the end of the day, we all have a physical 'type' and mine is slim and athletic. I must admit that I feel a little less carefree than I did a few days ago with messages being more of a trickle than a flood. I've found myself slightly questioning myself. Stupid things e.g. 'I haven't texted Marie for 2 days, hmmm, do I need to text her something to keep up the momentum? Or will that seem too keen?' and 'Dianna hasn't replied to the message I sent her 12 hours ago. What did I say? (re-reads text) Is there anything in there that would've put her off?'. I'm kind of aware that these thoughts are stupid and unhelpful, but yet I still think them!
    I've also got Sarah (girl 2 from my previous thread) worming her way back into my subconscious with Facebook alerts - a 'like' a couple of days ago (she'd not liked anything of mine for weeks previously) and a comment on something of mine today. Almost as if she recognised that I was moving on and forgetting about her and felt the need to remind me of her existence!
    Hmmm maybe I'm feeling a tad negative this evening! Probably be grand in the morning - I can get these slight peaks and troughs now and again!

  3. #13
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I'm with you on the social media stuff. My personal life, be it romantic or familial, is not documented there. It was an issue in that short romance, because she really valued social media, was upset and unnerved that I didn't post her, tag her, and so on. Do I have opinions about what's behind that attitude? I do. But ultimately you date to explore compatibility, and that was just a rub with us that reaffirmed for me that I didn't want to be with someone where this was even a discussion or momentary point of contention. My girlfriend and I have been together 8 months now, do not exist on each other's feeds, have never once talked about social media except as a cultural thing. So, compatible.

    The little trough you've slid into is, as you know, part of the whole thing. I actually think of those moments as small, but not insignificant, tests. It's easy to feel good, swaggering, when our phones are buzzing with potential, when we have a series of semi-sparkly encounters. What to do when the shine fades, when someone lets us know—respectfully, humanly, but also disappointingly—that they're not feeling us? Can we sit with that, with the same grace and cool when everything is trickling, or must we react in an extreme way to retrigger the flood? Can we be as full without the buzz as we are when the buzz is delicious?

    Less abstractly: one somewhat vague rule I created for myself was to always move forward. So let's say an Emily let's me down, and where there was a flood there is now a trickle. Do I poke at Donna, even though I'd already written her off after the gym selfie? Do I swipe right on twelve under-30 types who radiate thirst? Do I do a deep scroll and poke at a past fling or FWB to see about a collision, or maybe just some fluttery texting? No. I used to. But the short term soothing and sparkles came with costs.

    If something fling-y and casual is in the cards—great, but I want it to come from forward movement, not from dipping into the past, if that makes sense. I genuinely believe that if you can hold space rather than need to fill it that you're more likely to find what you're looking for. New beliefs of mine that came from testing old beliefs and ending up down familiar, less-than-wanted, paths.

    Don't overthink Marie. If you want to send a note, send a note. The next time, realistically, that you can see each other is when again?

  4. #14
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    she really valued social media, was upset and unnerved that I didn't post her, tag her, and so on

    Was she quite a bit younger, out of interest?

    Do I do a deep scroll and poke at a past fling or FWB to see about a collision, or maybe just some fluttery texting?

    I've done exactly that in the past! I managed not to last night though, so maybe I'm improving!

    Don't overthink Marie. If you want to send a note, send a note. The next time, realistically, that you can see each other is when again?

    Dropped her a message tonight and had a bit of a texting interaction back and to. Next weekend - she's at a festival from Saturday to Tuesday, then I'm at the exact same festival from Wednesday to Saturday!

    Updates (Thursday 8th August)

    Dianna (Polish girl I met on the hike) - messaged me back this morning. She has to work now next Wednesday (which is when we'd planned to have a drink) but she suggested this Saturday instead, which actually works better for me anyway. I'm looking forward to this - I always think with a girl you've met organically (rather than off an app), there's a much higher chance of the date going well as you both already know that you kind of dig each other.

    Laura (girl off Pof, I've not mentioned her up to this point) - we've arranged a meet for Sunday morning. She lives 50 miles away and I really didn't want to travel that distance just for a coffee or a drink. Fortunately though, she's up for coming on a 5 mile walk round a reservoir with me and the dog. I prefer doing this when there's so much travelling involved as, if we don't hit it off, it doesn't feel like such a waste of time having got to explore a nice new place and given the dog a good trip out.

    Emily, slightly bizarrely, has been bombarding me with texts all day, just general chit chat / banter.........

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Yup, she was younger. A decade. Not my first attempt at bridging a significant age gap. I've had my reasoning there—some of it sensible, some of it delusional, none of it sustainable. Not saying that can't work for some people—and it's brought me fun, certain depths, and triggered some needed growth—but I've just about sworn off it it. Heck, I really hope dating is something in my past.

    Curious, and think I asked this earlier in your other thread: Were Girl 1 and Girl 2 younger than you?

    Maybe Emily can be, you know, a friend? So instead of it being "bizarre" that she's texting you, it's just kind, promising in a different way? I made a great friend last fall with someone I went on a date or two with. No hanky-panky. We just kind of realized that we didn't need to force that just because we were two attractive enough single people of the opposite sex. Basically like: do we do this for another week or six, take our clothes off a few times, have some awkward talks, then fade out the way we did in our 20s? Or do we skip that charade, call it friends, see where that goes, and maybe both grow an inch or two along the way? Happy we chose the latter.

  7. #16
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    Were Girl 1 and Girl 2 younger than you?

    3 years older and 2 years younger respectively. Did you imagine them as being much younger out of interest?

    Maybe Emily can be, you know, a friend?

    I think she might well be, which is cool.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    No, not really. Maybe momentarily, based on some of my own experiences. But I've spent enough time on this site, in the world, and in my own skin to know that, especially when it comes to romance, adults of all ages are capable of acting in some pretty immature ways. Part of the fun, part of the agony.

  9. #18
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    I think with both girls, it was more background / childhood reasons why they were how they were, more than age.

    With J (Girl 1, I'll refer to her as J), she had a torrid childhood. Her Mum killed herself when J was 6, and tried unsuccessfully to take J with her. With her dad uninterested, she then spent the rest of her childhood running away from one children's home after another, rarely attending school. It was remarkable in a way that she became the functioning adult she did (good degree, highly regarded career) with some amazing personal qualities (she had an incredible warmth to her and could connect to people better than anyone I've ever met). She challenged and changed my perception of the world in a lot of different ways and even though we only dated for 5-6 months, she had a huge impact on my life. I've been thinking about her more than normal today as it's 2 years today that we first met - I guess the fact that I still know and remember the exact date we met shows the impact that she had on me.
    The problem was, in terms of me and her dating, there were numerous negative traits borne, in my opinion, out of her upbringing. She knew no boundaries having never had rules / boundaries / acceptable behaviour drilled into her as a child like most do from parents and teachers. She recognised these things (she said to me once 'I'm not the easiest person to date, I've ruined so many relationships in the past with my behaviour', but this recognition didn't stop her doing the same things again.

    S (Girl 2), I dated for a much shorter time, so didn't find out as much. But I did gather that her own parents had had a very unhealthy relationship (I think possibly with domestic violence involved) and I think it was a typical case where someone mirrors the relationship behaviours of their parents. As with J, I did see recognition of her poor behaviour (when I bumped into her 2 weeks ago, she admitted to me 'I've behaved like a tw*t) but again, there were no measure of this recognition changing her behaviour (ie she behaved like a tw*t again literally 15 minutes later!). Both J and S were also depression sufferers and blew hot and cold with me often in line with how they themselves were feeling.

    Updates (Friday 9th August)

    Nothing that new to report today. 2 dates coming up this weekend that I already had arranged from earlier in the week: tomorrow with Dianna (Polish girl I met on the hike), Sunday morning with Laura (girl off Pof).
    A girl, Jo, I started chatting to on Bumble only yesterday seems to have deleted me off the app after initially agreeing to a date a couple of weeks from now! She agreed to a date, saying 'sounds good but it won't be for a couple of weeks as I'm in (some place) til next Wednesday then (some other place) til the week after'. I replied along the lines of 'no worries, here's my number, we can whatsapp to make arrangements if you like'....................this afternoon, I notice she's no longer one of my matches. I'm not particularly fussed but I make mention of this exchange just to demonstrate the frivolity of online dating. It's just a shrug your shoulders type of thing.

  10. #19
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    Updates (Saturday 10th August)

    Date with Dianna (Polish girl I met when out hiking last week) this afternoon. Spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting away in a pub. She's good company, good fun and the conversation flowed. Physical attraction, I'm kind of undecided at the moment (similar to how I was with Emily the other day) - she's got lovely eyes and smile but just a little bit bigger than I normally go for (as I've mentioned before, my 'type' physically is very much slim and athletic).
    I'll certainly do a 2nd date if she will though, I'll drop her a message tomorrow, see what she thinks. Whether she will? I'm totally 50 / 50! We chatted a bit about dating in general and she told me that her main sticking point is that she's mega fussy and very very few of her 1st dates in the past have become 2nd dates.

    Not much else to report from today. Dog walking 1st date with Laura in the morning. I've pushed the boat out and baked a lemon drizzle cake to take (mainly because I fancied one myself )

  11. #20
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    Updates (Sunday 11th August)

    Spent a nice couple of hours out dog walking with Laura (girl from Pof) this morning. Nice girl and we had a good chat, unfortunately I could tell almost the second I saw her that I wasn't going to fancy her. Still, it was a nice morning, we've both agreed friends only and she's added me to Facebook to keep in touch.

    Dianna (Polish girl I had a drink with yesterday) has accepted my offer of a 2nd date Probably won't be til next weekend as I'm away Wednesday to Saturday morning but looking forward to it.

    As an aside, there's a girl Jenny (not previously mentioned on here) who on Thursday agreed to a date and said 'let me know when you're free'. Friday morning, I replied with 'Sunday night?' but Sunday night has been and gone with no reply from her. I'm just posting things like this to remind myself and others that this dating lark isn't plain sailing (which it would seem like if I only posted the success stories) and that flakes, cancellations, unmatches etc are totally the norm and to not get downhearted by them.

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