Monday, April 23, 2012
Your Dreamed Date ... Doesn't Exist
I remember several years ago, when I first tried online dating, exchanging a couple of e-mails with a woman who was juggling a job, being a single mother, and few other things I can't remember. She seemed really nice, we shared a lot in common, and I started to get excited about meeting her.
This is where the trouble started. I imagined my long relationship drought was about to be over. That I she was going to be the new "One." I was even imagining spending time with her kid already, playing games in her apartment (which I never had seen before).
The day finally comes for the first date and I'm sitting there at a table outside a local coffee shop and she comes up to me, says hi, and then her cell phone rings. It's her ex. They start arguing about something having to do with the kid. I'm listening to her talk to the guy. She sounds a bit like a mother, a forceful mother. Not a good sign, but because of the stories I had already bought into, I tried to ignore what was happening.
Finally, she hangs up and we have coffee together. A nice conversation, but I'm still sort of wary, given what I had witnessed. We part ways, agreeing to go out again.
A week or so later, I meet her for dinner a favorite restaurant of mine. Things are going ok, but I suddenly start to sense that voice she was using with her ex creeping into our conversation. We were talking about the new non-profit I had just co-developed with some friends of mine, and I was getting the sense that she felt I'd be "better off getting a good job" instead of devoting time to that project. Suddenly, my attention started kicking in, and I noticed a pattern emerge. Basically, she was used to being in charge in her relationships, and being something of a caretaker of the men she dated.
She was the one that asked for another date at the end of dinner, and although I was already questioning everything, I ended up meeting her again.
I went because I was less experienced than I am now, and more desperate as well.
However, anyone who knows me well knows that this wasn't going to work. While I tend to be easy to get along with, and am not demanding or terribly picky, I am quite independent and not a pushover.
And so, the third date ended with me basically showing a lack of interest, but I still think she believed we'd keep going out because she was surprised when I e-mailed her the next day saying I didn't want to see her again.
I offer this experience because it probably never would have happened without those initial stories I bought into. If I met her today, I doubt we would make it past the first date. Because I'm much less likely to let myself get too far ahead of what's happening right in front of me.
That's really the best way to begin things. Staying present in the present.