A while back, I met a guy on meetup.com. I thought this was funny because... 1) I always hated that Turtle met friends at meetups and 2) I've always wondered how it would work with someone I met somewhere other than a dating site. (For those not familiar, meetup.com is not a dating site. It's a site designed for users who want to set up activities for groups of people. It's really for people who are looking for others with similar interests to share activities. As a result, many users happen to be single.)
Anyway, this guy messaged me and we started chatting. He eventually asked me out. We've formed a good friendship, but not much more. He has said he'd be interested in dating, but I have been clear from the start that wasn't in the cards.
We have gotten into the habit of chatting about his dating life. He tells me the tales, I offer occasional advice, he ignores me because obviously, being single, I know nothing.
The other day we got on the topic of a guy I have been seeing. My friend (we'll call him Hiker) asked why I am willing to date this other guy, and not him. Not an easy question to answer.
I started by explaining that it worries me that he and I wouldn't share his favorite hobby (hiking, obvs) and that I know he's looking for someone who will join him. That is a relatively minor thing, which he pointed out. But it's part of a larger issue, which I then had to explain. (Leading off with the hobby angle was a rookie mistake; I'm rusty.)
He and I are in very different places. His marriage is newly ended and he's looking for casual companionship to keep him busy. He's still learning his dating style, and he's still accepting women who are not his type, or who don't treat him well, simply because he wants the company.
I'm pretty sure I fall into the "you'll do for now" category, and I told him as much. I explained that I think we could have a great time, but once he gains some confidence, he will realize I'm not for him. Experience has taught me that will happen right about the time that I fall head-over-heels - and I will be left heartbroken. Again.
He said he'd never want to hurt me. "Hiker," I said, "No one ever wants to hurt me. That doesn't make it hurt any less when they do."
I don't begrudge anyone going through the post-marriage phase of looking for a distraction, or looking for some fun. Everyone needs a little time to figure themselves out - who they are now, what they want, and what works for them. I've had the "opportunity" to be that distraction for more than one man. My heart got hurt each time - but I learned a lot, and wouldn't change a thing.
I never saw it coming before. Now I do - which means I've learned even more than I realized.