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Hi all. This is my dating journal!

 

So by way of quick introductions, I'm male, mid 30's and (obviously) single!

 

My relationship history is fairly limited – I had a 3 year relationship in my early 20's with a girl who I liked but, with hindsight, I was never in love with. It was simply my first relationship and I knew no better at the time. Since then, the longest I've seen anyone for is 5-6 months, which has happened twice – the first when I was 25 and the second when I was 33. Both these girls, I had crazy strong feelings for that unfortunately weren't fully reciprocated and both ended with me totally heartbroken. But other than that, it's just been 1 month / 2 month things.

 

But anyway, I am keen to meet someone. Ultimately I'd like to meet the love of my life but I feel in the short term, I just want to enjoy dating and see where things go. A big weakness of mine that I've discussed in this thread here https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=560989 is that if I like someone, I can get much too emotionally invested too early rather than just being in the moment. I can also get too disheartened by flakiness / lack of responses / unsuccessful dates. One of my big focuses in writing this journal will be to keep reminding myself that most people are not our match. That conversations fizzling out / no 2nd date / no connection will be what happens with most people and just to accept this as par for the course rather than becoming too frustrated and disheartened.

 

Finally, what are my motivations for writing this journal rather than keep it all to myself?

 

Firstly, to hopefully get advice and encouragement from others.

Secondly, for others to read and maybe take something from, both good and bad

Thirdly, to read back in 5 or 10 years and hopefully have a really good laugh at!

 

I'll chronicle this weekend's dating adventures in the next post.........

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Thought I'd quickly update this. Nothing going on much in terms of dating. Georgie was wishy washy when it came to actually arranging to meet, so I left that. I met another woman, Rachael, off Bu

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Ok, dating stories (Sat 3rd and Sun 4th August)

 

I set up a Bumble profile a week ago and have been chatting to a few different girls with whom I've got to the stage of setting up dates.

 

I had a drink initially arranged for Saturday afternoon with Donna (I'm changing all names for the sake of anonymity by the way) but she cancelled Friday night as her son was ill and conversation has since gone pretty quiet.

 

This actually worked quite well as I ended up going hiking yesterday with a group I'm in and there was several attractive girls there. I swapped Facebooks with one girl (Pamela) but I think on reflection although we got on well, there wasn't enough connection to make her someone I'd want to date. I'd sleep with her if the opportunity presented itself but I'm not really planning to chase after casual sex. However, at the end, I also had a 5 minute chat with a girl (Dianna) who, on first impressions, I liked a lot. I took her number and I've just dropped her a text seeing if she's going to the next group hike next weekend. I was contemplating just going direct and asking her out one on one but I'm slightly wary about developing a reputation in a group setting, so I thought I'd try to get to know her a bit better before asking for a date.

 

Then this afternoon (Sunday), I had a drink with a girl (Marie) from Bumble. It was only 1 hour as we both had places to be after but I felt it went well and I was attracted to her. Having said that, the conversation never became flirty, it was all more of a friendly chat. I've also just dropped her a text saying I enjoyed meeting her and would like to get to know her a bit more, will see what she says.

 

I've got a few other Bumble chats ongoing but there's one girl (Lisa) who I think I have well and truly messed up with. Last night, she agreed to a drink this Thursday but suggested we chat on the phone first. I personally detest pre-date phone chats – I just find them awkward! However, I made the mistake of saying this (basically exactly what I've just written). She then wrote back with why she thinks a pre-date phone call is important, to which I reluctantly agreed to a phone chat and said 'feel free to give us a ring between 3 and 3:30 tomorrow if you like – I'll be driving but can take it on the hands free'. However, she hasn't responded or phoned.

I think in hindsight I probably came off as a bit blunt and rude! Problem was, I was having several text chats at a few people at once so I was kind of responding very quickly without really thinking what I was saying. I've done this once or twice in the past, texted too quick and caused offence by not really stopping to think before pressing send. So anyway, I think one's dead in the water but lesson learned!

 

Thoughts / opinions welcome!

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Updates on a few girls:

 

Marie (Bumble date from yesterday) – she responded positively to my suggestion of a 2nd meet (which I was pleased about as I was 50 / 50 whether it'd be a yes or a no) although it'll be a couple of weeks due to other commitments. So will put her on the backburner just for now but I'll look forward to meeting her again. I can find maintaining the communication tricky if there's a big gap between 1st date and 2nd although she seems very much not the type for long text chats anyway. So I'll just check in with her every few days probably.

 

Dianna (attractive Polish girl I met at the end of Saturday's hike) – she responded very enthusiastically to my text. She said she's not on next week's hike but to let her know when I'm next on another hike or in her area as she'd like to talk to me more. I took that as an invitation to suggest a drink next week (when I'm passing her town anyway), will see what she says.

 

Lisa (who wanted the pre-date phone call) – got back to me in the end apologising for not ringing. We've had a bit of text chit-chat but no further mention of a phone call or date. Just going to see how this pans out

 

Donna (who cancelled Saturday's drink) – been chatting again and she's very flirty. Sent me a photo of herself in her gym gear (very hot body) but we haven't rescheduled our meet yet.

 

Few other Bumble chats ongoing in the early stages.

 

I'm going speed dating this evening. I quite enjoy speed dating, having been 4 times in the past few months, although I'm not 100% convinced of its effectiveness for meeting someone, as I'm yet to have an actual date with anyone from speed dating. My results so far have been:

 

1st Occasion: 3 women out of 17 ticked me, 0 mutual matches (i.e. I didn't tick any of the 3 who ticked me)

2nd Occasion: 3 women out of 11 ticked me, 1 mutual match

3rd Occasion: 3 women out of 7 ticked me, 2 mutual matches

4th Occasion: 1 woman out of 9 ticked me, 0 mutual matches

 

Something I have found with speed dating is that it's easy to become embroiled in boring small talk. i.e. 'what do you do?', 'I do.............', 'where do you live?', 'I live in............'. Boring conversations. The 2 occasions when I've done the best (the 2nd and 3rd times) were when I'd had a few drinks so was probably a bit more flirty, banterous. I'm planning to have a few drinks tonight, it makes the night more fun as well.

I'm also planning to just try and have more of a laugh on my speed dates. Rather than giving straight honest answers to all the plain routine questions, I'm planning to play around with them a bit. I did this with one girl last time I went – I made up an elaborate fictional story in answer to one of her questions (I admitted after a minute or so that I was just winding her up) that had us both laughing a lot. She was the one girl that night who ticked me that night. Will see how it goes........

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I'm going to use Marie and Donna as archetypes to make a little point that maybe resonates, maybe not.

 

What stood out to me in your description of Marie is that you found her attractive and engaging, while also being a bit hyper-focused on whether or not she was being obviously flirty. My suggestion is to try to turn that radar off, especially on first meets, and just focus on whether or not you find the person dynamic enough to want to talk to again, rather than focusing on the likelihood of being naked with that person or trying to figure out how eager they are to get naked with you. People who are genuinely confident and self-possessed—rare, epic qualities, and likely the qualities you want in a partner—don't tend to wear their thirst on their sleeve.

 

Which leads to Donna.

 

Here is a human being you don't know, have never met, but who is sending you photos of her hot body at the gym. I'm a man, I get it: hot is hot, and there is a base-level appeal in wanton thirst. But let's just be honest: that is weird, brother. Were I to receive that pic—and I have received these pics—all I'd think is: okay, so this is what she does; she's proud of her body, likes to wield it as a sword with strangers to trap some thirst, and is totally cool putting it out there front and center to random dudes she matches with on apps. Her sending that pic says way more about who she is than how studly you are, you know? That is the sort of person who is very likely, say, to try to build some fire in you by mentioning her other Bumble dates. Yawn.

 

I don't know you, your vibe, what you're looking for, of course. Speaking for myself? I am aware of my own personal bs that can "work" in triggering superficial interest and thirst—in luring those gym selfies into my phone, say. I surf a lot, was a competitive diver, and have the physique one would expect from that. I own a few motorcycles, and my homes are "cool" in a very Instagrammable way. But I don't lead with any of that—at all—because the last thing I want a woman saying about me is, "I'm meeting up with this guy BC later. He's got great abs and rides a Ducati." Yawn.

 

My first date with my girlfriend had some shades of your meet-up with Marie. We talked and talked, laughed and laughed. Intellectual fireworks, with an expanding, earthy warmth. No obvious flirtation, no kiss, no toned selfies blowing up my phone in the wake. Was she attracted to me, "into" me "that way"? I had no idea. Didn't really care. She was so interesting—and, yes, staggeringly beautiful to my eyes—that I just wanted to be around her again. So we me up again, and after a few more hours? I still had no idea if she was feeling the sizzle, and still didn't care. Her vibe is very much that of someone who gets on just fine in the world without knowing that one or more men are drooling over her, and without drooling over one or more men, and I dug that.

 

Yeah, the mutual attraction became self-evident quickly enough, but it's the not glue of our connection. It's part of the glue, integral and essential, but part of a whole instead of the "whole" that makes the other missing pieces invisible. Eight months later I'd say our dates today are much the same as those early ones. I don't nod and smile as she talks so I can get to the important stuff, when we get home, nor do I gauge her interest in me by the I'm-so-hot selfies she sends. She doesn't send those. She's got all the ammunition, but she's not into low hanging fruit—eating it or being it, you know? I cannot imagine ever yawning around her.

 

I'm just a bit older than you. When I was younger, just a bit younger, and a bit more insecure in ways it took a minute to acknowledge, I found the photos from the Donnas of this world pretty enticing. Crack for the ego, among other organs. But the IRL entanglements that those pixilated exchanges led to tended, at a rate of nearly 100 percent, to be pretty draining and whiplash-inducing in ways I think you're familiar with.

 

Just something to think about, or not, as you go fishing with the fish in the sea.

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Thanks, that's a really interesting perspective.

 

I totally agree with your assessment of both girls. Marie, I really enjoyed meeting and I do think, although we've literally only spent 1 hour in each other's company, there is potential there. We're into a lot of the same things - my pride and joy is my campervan, which she was fascinated with - she spent a week in a friend's van last month and has since spent hours trawling the Internet researching buying her own. The main reason we can't fix up a 2nd date for a couple of weeks is that we're both going away to the exact same festival next week.......................except she comes back from the festival the day before I go to it! So we do have a lot in common and I'm very much looking forward to meeting her again.

 

Donna - yep, I agree - quite probably no more than an attention seeker and possibly with some big insecurity issues. I wouldn't say I'm totally naive with women and I do agree that a woman who sends an enticing photo to a guy she's never met probably isn't girlfriend material.

 

In terms of what I'm looking for, I am looking for that special someone. I want to be in love and to have someone to share everything with. But as I mentioned in my other thread on the Dating sub-forum, I've got a problem with getting too attached / over-invested too soon. I find that, in the early stages of dating, having a good number of dating options ongoing (even if some of them are from attractive but shallow / unsuitable women) helps me to not over-obsess with one woman.

 

I guess the question I'd ask (I'm really curious to see what you think about this btw Bluecastle) is: is exchanging messages / flirting with a few 'Donnas' detrimental to my dating with the 'Maries'?

 

Personally (and I know this is a reflection of low self-confidence on my part), I feel that opening up my phone and having 5 or 6 messages from attractive women to respond to (even if some of them are shallow / unsuitable) helps keep my confidence levels up. I went into my date with Marie yesterday super calm and relaxed. My mindset was 'even if this doesn't work out, I've got lots of other irons in the fire'.

Of course, I understand that this is only a viable strategy in the early stages of dating. If things went well with someone like Marie, then after a couple of months or so, it wouldn't be right to rely on attention from other women to keep my confidence up. But then, by that stage, I guess that with the right partner, I'd be feeling very desired from them and wouldn't need the attention from elsewhere.

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Good question!

 

My general take is: no, not detrimental at all—but with some caveats.

 

Right now, for instance? Marie is just a compelling person you've met for an hour, so to commit to that, to close off all other doors would be absurd. But let's say you meet again, go on a date or two or three. Do you really need to augment those dates with gym selfies, fluttery back and forths, and so on, in order to enjoy Marie with confidence without getting too topsy-turvy? Hopefully not. Because the "Maries" of this world can sniff that out quick, and they'll be yawning when the scent crosses their noses. They generally want a guy who can go three days—or, gulp, maybe a lifetime—without a spandex-heavy gym selfie. And odds are you want to be a guy who can exist in the world without needing gym selfies to give you oxygen and quench your thirst.

 

When I was single—not all that long ago—I knew what I wanted. It was, essentially, the same thing you want. So I was swiping, meeting, exploring, as you are. Along the way there were some collisions, pixilated and otherwise, with some "Donnas." It's part of it. It can be fun. And at any given moment my little apps had a handful of open conversations, since that's life in #2019, and no doubt that little carousel, along with some inner moxie, allowed me to have a pretty calm and relaxed attitude about things. What happens happens, and so on.

 

Speaking for myself? One thing that changed in recent years is that I didn't court the nonsense once I knew it was nonsense. A gym selfie from someone I've never met, for instance? That would be the last exchange, because I would know that any engagement was a road away from what I was seeking. I've already had that night without needing to have that night, if you know what I mean. So I'd take the candy-coated ego jolt, the salt shake of pseudo-confidence, but I'd let it go. Small shift, but amazing the space it frees up. It's kind of the difference between wanting to be someone looking for something real and being that person. Authenticity, by and large, is more seductive than aspiration.

 

One thing I'm picking up with you, from this and your other thread: you seem to have a slight propensity toward getting a bit attached to the glossy stuff and trying to will it into being the deep stuff. So be aware of that. It's a bit like you meet the woman who triggers "not girlfriend material" and then get attached to the idea of making her girlfriend material. Slippery slope, that. Leads straight into a wormhole. The intentions behind that may be good—you really wanting the Big Thing—but you've got to be diligent where you apply that energy. Put it in the wrong place and, again, to the "Maries" of this world you just look like a dude who likes the surface and is scared of the depths. Because, well, you might be that dude. Behavior speaks volumes, you know?

 

So I guess what I'm saying is: do you, have fun, enjoy the sparkles and the hit of confidence and stability they provide. Just don't string it all along so you get caught in a dewy web of your own creation. If you meet up with Marie again and it's great, then meet again. And so on. Give some space for that breathe without needing to use gym selfies and a half dozen nonsensical conversations as a snorkel, and don't trick yourself into thinking they're more than they are. Sometimes we just want to get laid. That's human. No need to make that a bigger story to rationalize the basic instinct.

 

When I met my girlfriend for the first time she struck me as something special. I wanted to see her again. I didn't rush home and delete all the apps. No, I swiped around, chatted, because I know that that "something special" stuff was as much a product of my imagination, at that stage, than it was a product of the few hours we'd spent together. But very quickly—after another date or two—I had no interest in that, even when I had little idea of her interest in me and zero idea of what we might be.

 

But I wanted to find out, and wanted space to explore without juggling any nonsense, meaning not just thirsty types but even others who radiated genuine potential. Because I had genuine potential in front of me. So I pretty quickly cut out the noise, eventually deleted the apps. None of that was a reaction to things she was telling me, meaning we didn't talk about this stuff or swear off the apps together as some show of "seriousness." By the time we were having those conversations it was a moot point: neither of us were interested in anyone else, both of us had closed those doors without pressure. And I'd say—because we've talked about this—that one of the things she liked about me is that she didn't get the sense that I was courting a lot of thirst or particularly thirsty myself.

 

Not sure that helps, but that's my few cents.

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Cheers, that's a really good detailed response. I think the type of message I receive from a 'Donna', I do just see the text exchange as a bit of fun for 10 or 15 minutes, in the same way that I might enjoy a quick game of pool or table tennis. I enjoy a bit of flirty banter and then get on with my day. I wouldn't say I place any real significance on it although, as I said, it is a nice little ego boost. But I think because it's obvious she's "that type of girl", I've got the common sense not to get overly involved. Which moves onto this:

 

you seem to have a slight propensity toward getting a bit attached to the glossy stuff and trying to will it into being the deep stuff. So be aware of that. It's a bit like you meet the woman who triggers "not girlfriend material" and then get attached to the idea of making her girlfriend material

 

The 2 girls I dated who I discussed in my previous thread, it was kind of different - on the face of it, they were in the very early stages potentially girlfriend material. There were no revealing selfies or any other red flags as such until after we'd been dating for about a month, by which time I'd already developed some feelings for them, which I then struggled to adjust in light of these red flags. They kind of slipped through the net. Whereas with Donna, it's much more obvious. I can see the red flag. She might as well be waving it around in her profile picture. Don't get me wrong, if there's an evening when I'm free for a couple of hours and so is she, I'll meet up with her. It might be fun, we might have some good sex. But I feel I'm kind of aware enough to recognise the situation and not to get attached in any way.

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Updates: Tuesday 6th August

 

Went speed dating last night. Enjoyed a few of the interactions but wasn't particularly attracted to anyone and didn't tick any of them. Might leave speed dating for a bit, I found myself looking out the window and thinking 'what beautiful weather. I'd rather have gone out and had 9 holes of golf'!

 

Dianna (Polish girl I met on the hike) - Replied to my suggestion of a drink next Wednesday saying she should be good for that. Bit of other chit chat. Will look forward to that, I do as a general rule look forward to a date with someone I've met organically more than I do a girl from an app. It's kind of like I've earned the date through my social skills and through having the b***ocks to ask someone out (something I've traditionally struggled with).

 

Emily (40 year old Bumble girl I've been chit chatting with, don't think I've mentioned her before in this thread) - have fixed up a meet for this evening. We're going to walk our dogs together. Will see how it goes

 

Few other Bumble chats ongoing

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All good things, friend.

 

My feeling is that some people need to "slip through the net" in order for us to adjust the weave of our net, if that makes sense. I dated someone for a few months last year—dynamic woman, razor sharp, incendiary on the eyes. Strong connection, enough chemistry to blow up a laboratory—which, well, we kind of did. What began as very promising got me twisted up quickly. Like, did she go on a Bumble date and put it on Instagram to get a rise out of me? Check. Did I, at age 38, try to work through that? Check. Was ending it a tough decision? Yes and no. Emotionally it wasn't fun—hurt the heart, spun the head—but once the writing was on the wall I couldn't unsee it. Something about the big 4-0 looming on the horizon has sharpened the lens, either that or I've spent enough time in sandboxes to have lost the ability to call them castles.

 

I don't see any of that as a mistake or lost time, more like a sharpening of the compass needle, a patching up of the net. I felt things I hadn't felt in a while, which let me know (part of) what I'd like to feel in romance. I also felt things I don't want to feel in romance, things that weren't conducive to what I was seeking. I also had to own that I probably wasn't quite as ready for the Big Thing as I'd thought, that slipping around on the ice still had a bit more pull than trying to climb the mountain. Owning that made the mountain all the more appealing.

 

Not sure what your experience with casual sex has been—the potential, as you've outlined, with Donna—but I find it is rarely casual, often complicated. Or gets there quickly. You tell yourself one story—just going to enjoy the 15 minute hot-stuff banter, maybe meet for a drink and romp should the stars align with little effort—and, lo and behold, that story becomes reality. For a day. Then the story expands: more texts in the phone, a quiver in the loins that you indulge one more time since, well, you're single and blah blah. And that day becomes a week becomes a month, the saucy texts morph into tense and dramatic texts, and now you are "that guy"—the guy that the "Maries" don't have much patience for.

 

I have been that guy. Any woman with a few perceptive brain cells can tell this about me in about 10 minutes. Being that guy "works" in one realm of romance while keeping another realm a bit out reach, I think. At some point I started to realize that I might, without thinking about it, kind of be playing into it, for kicks, and then becoming it, which kicked my own a$$. Little adjustments happened, pretty organically, to change things, to be a (slightly) different guy. Casual sex stopped being a thing I did—at least in the way you're describing, where you already know, before doing it, that you're not going to take it seriously. This wasn't really some choice I made to "grow up" and "be noble," or even to make space for my Marie, but more of a self-assessment—a shedding of a more adolescent husk so I could slip into a more adult one.

 

One thing worth thinking about: always make sure you're finding moxie and confidence in a realm that has nothing to do with women, romance, love, lust. What those 10 minutes with Donna gives you? I get that on waves, on my motorcycle, and in what I do for a living. Self-generated swagger, some coming from some goofy, dangerous stuff, no doubt. But at least it's not connected to other people, or the idea of other people, and when they write my obit I'd rather them highlight my cornering abilities on mountain roads than my texting abilities to extract thirst, you know?

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My feeling is that some people need to "slip through the net" in order for us to adjust the weave of our net

 

Yeah agree, I definitely feel I've learned a lot from the experiences with those 2 girls and also from the advice I got on the thread about them.

 

did she go on a Bumble date and put it on Instagram to get a rise out of me? Check. Did I, at age 38, try to work through that? Check

 

Wow, that's bad. How long had you been dating at this point? I tell you what that also shows: how much your decision making can be skewed by your feelings for someone. Because I would bet, having a read a number of your advice posts to me and to others (in which I always think the advice is very sound), you wouldn't have advised somebody else to work through that.

 

Not sure what your experience with casual sex has been

 

None this year (I haven't really been seeking out casual sex), 5 girls last year. In all honesty, none of these caused any drama at all for me, I just enjoyed having sex. I don't know if maybe I'd thought differently if they'd been really attractive. This might sound shallow to say but I tend to have different standards (in terms of looks) of who I'd date (with a view to a relationship) compared to who I'd sleep with. Out these 5 girls, 4 were below my 'dating standard' if you like. The other was 11 years older than me and stunning but, because of the age gap, I didn't regard her as a long term dating prospect either.

So it might be that I'm someone who can handle casual sex perfectly fine without drama or it might be that that's only the case because I've not been sleeping with girls who I'm attracted enough to physically.

 

One thing worth thinking about: always make sure you're finding moxie and confidence in a realm that has nothing to do with women, romance, love, lust

 

Yeah agree. I do have plenty of outside interests (mostly active outdoor things). I guess because this is a 'dating thread' I tend to only talk about 'dating things', so it might come across as if dating is my only interest / passion.

 

Couple of updates from today:

 

Emily (40 yr old Bumble girl) - had a very enjoyable 1.5 hour walk with our dogs. Got on well, good fun and banter, I'd like to see her again. Same as there was with Marie, no physical contact. I think in the past, I'd have definitely tried to initiate something (e.g. holding hands) or turned the conversation more flirtatious, but following on from advice I've had on here, I'm kind of feeling less need to do that. I used to think that no physical contact or flirting = no attraction but I'm believing that less now.

 

Lisa (who wanted the pre-date phone call) - this one's off. We'd had a bit of chit-chat since the phone call fiasco but no mention of the date we'd originally scheduled for Thursday. So I decided to cut to the chase and just say 'do you still fancy grabbing a drink Thursday night? I'm just planning my week and trying to sort out what I'm doing when'. She replied that I sounded like a busy man and she'd let me get on with my busy schedule. Good luck with the dating!

I'm really not fussed with Lisa. I was having my doubts about her anyway - I was really just checking with her about the date as I was trying to get a game of tennis organised and needed to know what evenings I had free.

I'm still thinking about the pre-date phone call dilemma though for future reference as a learning thing. My immediate reaction is that I really detest the idea of a pre-date phone call unless there's a necessity for it. I'm not keen on a call 'to see if there's chemistry' as I feel chemistry is really hard to create in a forced unnatural situation. I also don't like the idea of a phone call 'to check you're who you say you are' as that makes me feel like a criminal suspect! Maybe I'm over-reacting and seeing this more negatively than I should do, I don't know - interested to hear the perspective of others on this!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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! :p

 

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :tongue::tongue:)

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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 :D :D 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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Updates (Monday 12th & Tuesday 13th August)

 

No further dates these past 2 days. In the process of getting 2nd dates set up with both Dianna and Marie. Dianna is becoming quite flirty in her messages and she asked to see me tomorrow, but it's tomorrow I'm going away. Marie is more low-key but I think that's more just her style rather than an indication of low interest.

 

I've also had a bit of a flurry of new matches and conversations on Bumble. It just goes to show the peaks and the troughs – I got loads in the first 2 or 3 days after I joined, then it went quiet for a while and now it's picked up again. I guess the key is to remain on an even keel throughout the ups and the downs.

 

One thing I have started doing with online dating (that I wasn't doing a few months ago) is to really cut to the chase. Few decent messages then suggest a date. A couple of times, I've had a non-committal response (e.g. “hmmm maybe”) at which point I'm putting the ball firmly in their court (I say 'I'm a “let's meet and see if we get on” sorta guy, not a “let's send messages for weeks” sorta guy. Here's my number, just drop us a text or a whatsapp if you fancy fixing up a drink') and then leave them to it. Yeah it's ended a couple of conversations but I feel like I'm no longer wasting time with girls who want nothing more than to be text buddies.

 

Off to a festival these next 3 days so might not update this thread again til the weekend.

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Update (Saturday 17th August)

 

Back from the festival. I've got 2 dates lined up for tomorrow afternoon: firstly, a 1st date coffee with Nic (girl from Bumble I've been chatting to past few days) followed by a 2nd date dog walk with Dianna (Polish girl I originally met at the group hike).

Looking forward to both. One thing I'm starting to think about is how open to be about the whole multi-dating thing. The 2 dates I've got tomorrow both live about 30-40 miles away from me, but fairly close to each other. So I'm doing one straight after the other to save 2 lots of travelling and I've told Nic that I'm happy to come to her area for coffee as 'I'm in the area anyway tomorrow afternoon'. And this has got me thinking of a hypothetical conversation that could happen with Nic:

 

Her: 'so what are you doing round here this afternoon?'

Me: 'I'm taking my dog for a walk round xxxx place, it's really nice there'

Her: 'Ah I love it there. Are you just going with the dog or anyone else?'

Me: 'I'm meeting a friend who lives round here'

Her 'Ah cool, who's your friend? How do you know them'

 

And then I either be honest say that it's a girl I met a couple of weeks ago and it's kind of a date. Or I make up a little white lie.

 

I'm kind of a bit uncomfortable with either answer. By answering honestly, that I'm going straight from one date to another, the perception could easily be 'he's a player, I bet he's got 10 different women on the go'. But equally, I hate telling lies and then having to remember what lies I've told to whom!

 

I'm also wondering about this dilemma in a general case (not just with these 2 girls tomorrow). My big dating weakness (as identified in my previous thread) is getting too attached too early, which is one of the main reasons why I'm multi-dating (I do definitely find hat multi-dating in the early stages does help me become less needy and more chilled about the whole dating process).

But say if things continue to go well with say a couple of girls and I end up having a 6th date with Girl A on a Wednesday followed by a 6th date with Girl B on a Thursday. And Girl A asks me what I'm up to on the Thursday night, while Girl B asks me what I'm up to on the Wednesday night. Do I be completely honest i.e. "I'm on a date with someone else"? Or say what I'm doing "I'm watching xxx film" and hope she doesn't ask who I'm doing it with?

 

Interested in any thoughts! I know from the view count that there's a good few people reading this thread so any thoughts or opinions would be welcome :-)

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The way I saw it the plans I had were not their business. So if asked I would just refer to a "friend." I dated as many people as I was interested in until exclusivity. I didn't have casual sex though. I did this because marriage was my goal and I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket too soon. When I dated it was assumed you weren't exclusive until you discussed it and I never asked what the guy's plans were when he wasn't with me -wasn't my business or concern. I typically became exclusive with someone after about 6-8 weeks of dating.

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Batya, thanks for your input. I do like the answer of 'I'm doing xyz with a friend' as it avoids lying (which I hate). But how did you answer the 'who's your friend?' question if they asked that? Did you tell them to mind their own business or did you answer honestly?

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