Thursday, December 6, 2012

Desperate measures

I read a lot of dating profiles (mostly belonging to heterosexual males, but you'd be surprised). In nearly four years of online dating, I bet I've read hundreds - maybe thousands.

Some are funny, some are smart, some are creative - and some are just really, really dull. Many include at least one typo, suggesting the writer is human. Others contain so many mistakes, I'm left wondering if the writer even speaks English fluently.

Most of the time, a profile is really just a small glimpse of that person. If you read carefully, that small glimpse can offer a lot of insight into someone's character, personality, and what he (or she) really wants.

Sometimes, a person's profile makes him seem perfectly normal. There are no red flags, no indicators of what the bag of hair will be. No real reason to say no, if that person asks you to meet him for coffee.

Which is where my problems usually start.

Sometimes, that person will start dropping little hints in those first messages, whether they are texts or emails. Unfortunately, you might not see those hints until you've already agreed to a date. Besides - everyone deserves a chance. I mean, unless he's hinting that he might be a serial killer...then maybe don't give him a chance.

Ball Boy seemed like a good guy from his profile, and from the first few emails. It wasn't until we set up the date that I started to see signs that we might be in different places. He was obviously nervous - and he made a couple of mistakes that weren't a big deal on their own. When I tallied up the evening, though, it all added up to one very uncomfortable hour with a guy in whom I was not really that interested.

It was obvious Ball Boy is just getting back into dating, after having been married for a long time. He did not rush into dating (which is a good thing); but he seems at a point where he's willing to rush into a relationship. That became even more evident when he pursued me after the date, saying that everything we had in common made him feel there was a connection. (Side note: Liking the same baseball team and TV shows is not a love connection.)

Maybe that's unfair. Maybe he really is just "ready" for a relationship. Thing is, I have found (more than once) that a person thinking he's ready means he'll get into a relationship without hesitation. Which is great - provided he's doing so for the right reason.

Sometimes people are ready, and jump into a relationship with the first person they find, who even remotely fits the criteria they want. To me, that's not ready - that's desperate.

I know I complain (a lot) about meeting people who say they're ready, and then hesitate. It's frustrating and exhausting because I keep meeting the wrong people, keep starting the same thing over, and I keep getting left in the dust.

While there are certainly better ways to handle walking away, there is something to be said for people who at least know themselves well enough to know when a relationship isn't for them.

The people who just rush right into something, even though it should be obvious that there is no connection, are just as bad. Sometimes, they're even worse. I have had guys go black hole after the first date, and I have had men fake entire relationships because they "thought they'd fall in love with me."

Trust me - the latter hurts a lot worse.

Anyone looking for a relationship will tell you it's difficult. Most will tell you the toughest thing is meeting other people. I disagree.

I think the most difficult thing is knowing yourself; knowing what you want, and what you need, and being honest with yourself about what is really, truly a good idea.

That sort of honesty is especially tough when the noise of all the people you're meeting makes it hard to hear your own thoughts. Sometimes, you have to do something drastic - like step away.

After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

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