Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rejection isn't personal

No matter how you slice it, rejection is tough. Even when it's coming from someone you barely like, it stings.

When I think about it, I think rejection is one of the main reasons I rush with so many of the guys I meet. I rush so I can reject them, before they have a chance to reject me.

The truth is, rejection early on isn't personal. If someone rejects you after just a few dates, that has much more to do with him than it does you. After a while, though, that changes. At some point, a rejection has more to do with you - your personality, values, habits, etc - than him.

I've been on seven dates now with Turtle. They say ("they" being dating blogs that I can't remember right now, so you'll have to take my word that I read this somewhere) that if two people have not had sex by the fifth date, it will not happen. Turtle and I have only hugged - and that didn't happen until date six.

Without divulging the sordid, somewhat embarrassing details of my sex life, let's just say this is a first for me. After date five, I figured I'd been friend-zoned. When the hug happened, I thought perhaps it was just a buddy-hug. Then I thought, hey, if we're still making progress after the fifth date, perhaps this thing - whatever it is - just needs more time.

Unfortunately for me, in order to find out for sure, I can't rush. Well...I could. I could rush to the conclusion that we are just going to be friends, and move on to the next guy.

Normally, that's what I'd do. Turtle is on vacation for 10 days, and I seriously considered just seeing who else I could find while he's gone. There's a big part of me that thinks, even though we've progressed, we may just be moving forward in our friendship. But there's another part of me that thinks maybe that's what this needs - a friendship base, in order to grow into more.

Which is great. The problem is, by allowing our relationship - and my feelings - to grow, I run a risk of being rejected.

Not the impersonal, it's him, not me sort of rejection I would have had after date four, either. I'm talking about a full-on, four-alarm, rejection after a few months. A rejection that is all about me.

Talk about personal - and scary as hell.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Questions and answers

I need to learn to take my own advice, and not poke around on a potential's* online profiles. Whether it's his dating profile, or his facebook page (we recently became Facebook friends - his doing), online stuff is too open to interpretation.

Stalking profiles doesn't do anything but lead to confusion and mis-trust, and hinder communication. Jumping to conclusions doesn't help anyone. If I have a legit question, I should be able to just ask. If I can't ask... well, that's a separate problem altogether.

Of course, the temptation to look always exists. Whether it's insecurity or curiosity (let's be honest - it's probably a bit of both), I can't deny that I just want to know.

But the truth is, I won't find any answers online - only more questions.

*Thanks to my cousin, this guy's name will be Turtle - because he's moving soooo sloooww.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Draft stage

No kidding, I have like six posts in draft stage right now. I hsd a clear idea of what I wanted to say, but I couldn't make sense of it in writing. I returned to one post after a few days only to realize I didn't even understand my point.

I have started seeing a guy I actually, you know, like. We're moving glacially slow at this point, so I have no idea where it might go. But I like him enough that I haven't even signed into a dating site in a couple of weeks. Those who know me well will agree - that is saying something.

In the meantime, I've been poking around dating blogs, looking for inspiration. Nothing. Which is surprising - there are some great blogs out there.

I think being in limbo in real life might cause a writing block for me, as well. It's almost like avoiding expectations or wondering in my life also suspends my ability to write about looking towards the future. Putting a hold on my feelings must mean I have to put a hold on the writing, too - at least for now.

So, while my life is in its own "draft stage," I'll keep taking notes. Things are bound to sort themselves out at some point, and then I'll hit publish.

In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, August 8, 2014

How do you spell love?

I'm probably asked what I'm "looking for" in a relationship at least once a week - and I still don't have a good answer.

My standard answer is that I want something that makes sense. Something that can start off slow, but has the potential to grow into something lasting. Something that feels good. Something that just works.

But that never satisfies anyone. Either they think I don't really know what I want, or they only hear half of what I say. Sometimes people think I'm too vague, and other people think I'm asking too much.

The truth is, I'm not looking for a specific person, or a particular relationship. I want to feel special and beautiful, and empowered. I want to be content in what I have, and excited to find out what's next. I want to be passionate, and easy-going at the same time. I want to be completely uninterested in meeting anyone else - and  I want him to feel the same.

Reading that, I guess it is a little vague. Which, I suppose could make it tough to find. But the truth is, I threw out my "type" and my "rules" years ago. I promised myself that if I met someone, I'd give him a chance - until there was a reason not to.

So I guess what I'm looking for is just tough to describe. I'm not worried,  though - I'll know it when I feel it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What's next

"I often rush because I get the feeling a guy isn't worth the effort, so I push through it, basically to get it over with."

I typed this in a text to Baking Suit the other day. We were talking about my weekend date, and how he takes his time getting to know new people (and how that's not usually my style).

As soon as I hit send, I realized two things:

- That's a pretty profound realization

- I probably needed to think about it some more

I do tend to rush things, which is strange because the idea of rushing into a relationship scares the crap right out of me. I guess my impatience and desire to know what's next sometimes outweigh my fear to commit.

I always want to know what's next. So much so that I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to predict what will happen. I plan outfits for dates that haven't been discussed; I formulate answers to questions that haven't been asked. I understand that everything needs to happen in its own time, and I can't force anything, anyway. I don't even mind waiting - I just want to know what's going to happen.

But I don't just spend the first few conversations strategizing future plans. I also pay attention. I listen and observe. I take in everything - how a guy speaks, how he acts, how he treats me, how he treats others. I'm constantly trying to learn, not only based on what he says to me, but also based on what he doesn't say.
Long before we ever even arrive at the conversation, I have figured out if I see any point in continuing. If I don't, then I am really just looking for a way to put myself (and him) out of misery. That's when I think I may rush things a bit. I give up on getting to know him or letting things develop.

I think that's probably different than many women. Most are probably rushing so they can get to their happily-ever-after - they want to lock it in, before he changes his mind.

Not me - I'm happy to wait forever for that happy ending. I just don't want to wait around with the wrong guy.

The only thing I'm rushing to is whatever's next.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No one can predict true love

Did you know OK Cupid has a blog? I had forgotten, but that's probably because they just published the first new post in three years. No wonder they sent a blast email to announce! The post details some "experiments" the popular dating site has done on users, concerning the importance of photos versus profile text, match score, etc. Interesting stuff, actually.

" I’m the first to admit it: we might be popular, we might create a lot of great relationships, we might blah blah blah. But OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website."

No kidding. Most of us have known this for a while. Well, except for that one guy who, despite me pointing out some glaring differences between us, insisted that "an 87% match is nothing to ignore."

Yes it is - and that blog post proves it.

"The ultimate question at OkCupid is, does this thing even work? By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships."

I would agree. OKCupid said I was 90% matched with Trooper, and 98% matched with Big. While neither relationship lasted, each was successful in its own way.

OKCupid uses a series of questions to match users. Some are personality questions, some seem like IQ questions. Of course some are sex questions.

If a user doesn't answer any, I still find we are at least a 10% match. I can only assume that represents the fact that we match in some basic ways (he's a guy who dates women, he is the right age, and lives in the right area).

If users do decide to tackle the questions, it isn't enough to respond. To "improve match accuracy" users also need to indicate which answers they consider acceptable, and assign a level of importance to the question. Of course, answers depend an awful lot on each person's interpretation. So while you might not "match" on a particular question, if you took the time to discuss the issue, you might find you actually agree.

Like everything else on dating sites, I've found match scores need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Sites may be good at predicting the success of initial conversations, or how those first dates will go, but no one can predict chemistry or real attraction.

No one can predict true love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Moving on

Him: How have you been?

Me: Good. We were talking a month ago and you just disappeared. What happened?

Him: I was MIA for a while. I'm back now.

Me: Gotcha. I saw you online, so I figured you'd just moved on.

Him: I have the app and I never logged out so it looked like I was online but I wasn't.

Right.

I've used that excuse. I've told people I was going to delete my profile and asked if we could text, to avoid being "seen" online. I've hidden my profile, but still used it to contact new people. I've told people "I just signed in to delete messages."

Eventually, I grew tired of inventing excuses. I got frustrated with a dating process that requires me to explain my every move to a guy I just met. I learned when to move on. (Hint: If I'm still online looking, or irritated by a question, it's probably time.)

I truly don't care if we were talking, and you met someone who you found more interesting. It happens, and it happens even more often when meeting people online. But I do believe you have to own that decision - even if it turns out to be the wrong one.

He's not the only one. I dated another guy briefly last fall. One day, we were talking. The next, he texted to let me know he'd met someone and decided to be exclusive, so he was deleting my contact info. We were still friends on Facebook - and a month later, he messaged me to let me know it had not worked out. When I pointed out that he was clearly not that into me, he got very cranky - and unfriended me.

So when he messaged me again recently, I reviewed this all again. His take was that all happened in the past. My take was that may be, but it's still an indication that we are not a good fit. He asked if I wanted to start over, or move on.

Definitely moving on.