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How do you keep an even keel while dating?

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OnceInALifetime posted 6/30/2013 22:13 PM

It seems if I'm attracted, she isn't, and vice versa. Very rarely are my dates and I at all in sync on the attracto-meter.

So, I go to a date with a some hope, then end up either feeling bad about turning someone down or about getting turned down. Always one or the other.

||: hope -> disappointment :||

If I'm not going to burn out from dating again in a hurry, I've got to either a) stop giving a shit so that I'm never disappointed, or b) finally find a match.

Generally speaking, I've been more content lately. I want to keep it that way while I date, but dating tends to pick at a place in the ego that's otherwise never even challenged.

tryingagain74 posted 6/30/2013 22:30 PM

I do not have any advice for you. I just wanted to compliment you on your use of repeat signs.

I'm glad that you're more content, though.

wildbananas posted 6/30/2013 22:52 PM

What trying said.

OnceInALifetime posted 6/30/2013 22:55 PM

No, WB, it's like this:

||: trying said :||

wildbananas posted 6/30/2013 23:08 PM

If I may say so, O, I think your sense of humor rocks. You'll find a girl one day who will love and appreciate it.

caregiver9000 posted 6/30/2013 23:49 PM

I have thought this for awhile and I am pretty sure someone else said it first on another thread but I couldn't say who...

You seem to goal oriented. You are "looking for a match" instead of dating.

Date. Eat. See a movie. Enjoy the meal, enjoy the movie. If you enjoy the company, then break out the repeat signs. Otherwise, just date.

Make your dates something you already want to do and then add someone to it. Plenty of good films to see, music, outdoor theater, museums, ice cream. But do something you want to do anyway and would do with anyone on any given day. Invest in YOU right now and stop investing in the future.

[This message edited by caregiver9000 at 11:49 PM, June 30th (Sunday)]

OnceInALifetime posted 7/1/2013 00:09 AM

I hear what you're saying, caregiver, but if that's all dating need be about, then I would just do those things with a friend. Dating does have a purpose and a goal for me.

I've enjoyed the dates I've been on, for the most part, whether or not I'm romantically attracted. It's the discomfort around unreciprocated interest that can wear me down.

Is it normal that it's almost always the case that one person is interested and the other is not? Seems strange to me that it's so uncommon for there to be mutual disinterest or mutual interest. If I'm unusual that way, then I'll need to puzzle that one out.

caregiver9000 posted 7/1/2013 00:35 AM

So can't dating be with the purpose of hanging out with a friend you can eventually have mutual interest in??

Personally, I have not encountered your issue of mismatched interest. I have found a lot of mutual lack of interest... I seem to have the first date thing down to a science but a second date is a rare creature indeed!

I have found times when I am disappointed in the process. Can't I just find that comfort level and yes, someone with whom sex is a possbility!!

But I try to take the advice I typed here and invest in the process instead of the goal. I accept and take pride (? not sure if that is exactly the right word) in the fact that I am learning to value myself enough to be very picky. I am ok with dating right now and patiently waiting for the elusive magic of mutual attraction.

I hear a voice in my head saying "riiiight.... who exactly are you trying to convince??" So maybe it just sounds good!

cmego posted 7/1/2013 06:42 AM

I was discussing with a "potential" date on OLD and he asked how my dating had gone..he asked how many people I have gone on a date with. I responded with "8", (only 2 made it past the first date, only one of those made it to a month). He said, "Wow...didn't you read their profiles?? That seems like a lot of dates for you not to connect!"

Needless to say, I didn't agree to a date with him. But, I did pause to think about what he said...and I decided he was new to OLD. He was "looking for his match by the profile".

One guy I did date a few times, who was a fWS, was openly multidating. His attitude was much more, "keeping it light, looking for friends and maybe more". We discussed that we both assumed everyone is multi dating, but I told him *I* wasn't like that. I date one until I can "yes/no/give it a few more dates".

Everyone comes into OLD with a different attitude.

I was talking to my IC about this last week, and she told me I'm doing much better at protecting MYSELF. I know what I want this time, and I refuse to settle. If I have to go on 100 dates, then I will. It is almost more like entertainment to me as I am becoming to expect I WON'T like them/they won't like me. I find I am lighter around dating now, I don't become emotionally involved, I am picky and I'm beginning to have more confidence around the really good looking men. They used to intimidate me, but I'm learning to shut off my internal voice and just see what happens.

I think Ama said that she waits 24 hours before responding. Sometimes I go that long now, especially if I am only slightly interested in someone. I usually wait at least 6 to 8 hours before responding to any email (if they email in the morning, I'll return at night after kiddos tucked in.)

So, I've set some rules in place for myself, my expectations are lower, and I'm not too worried about hurting people if we don't "click". I let them down with kindness and empathy and move on.

cayc posted 7/1/2013 07:34 AM

OIAL, one thing I've noticed in your posting in NB is that you come across as very intense and focused. Now don't get me wrong, you also come across as a good man, a good father, a man with a full life and interesting talents (where are the piano videos?????) but when it comes to dating, I get a feeling of intensity, focus, and dare I say it judgement.

If I'm feeling that merely from a few threads on an anonymous website, I can only imagine how your dates feel it. It's way ok to date to find a partner. It's way ok to be judgey in your head on date 1 and say, nope, not partner material. But if that judgmental attitude is seeping out in any way (say via Qs that make someone feel like they are on a job interview) then you'd be a mismatch for me too. I'd walk away from the date thinking "interesting fellow, potential, interesting self-deprecating humor, but man oh man, I'm looking for a romantic partner, and this guy made me feel like I was on an audition and was for sure going to come up short so why bother continuing".

Every guy I turned down on OLD (at whatever stage) it invariably hinged on that aspect of them clearly trying to slot me into a role (my sex partner, my new wife, whatever) and I wanted to be seen as ME, not as a body who could fulfill some function in that particular man's life.

The guy I am dating exclusively now? He has none of the resume things that people brag about (even here on SI) but what he does have is an interest in getting to know me, in spending time with me, in exploring life with me, and in exploring my mind. His care for me - without a specific goal of what I'm going to be for him - is very clear and comes through in how he interacts with me.

So I'd parse out the advice you're getting a bit. Yes, super ok to date with the goal of finding a partner. You are absolutely right, why go to a movie with what amounts to a stranger when you could just as easily go with a friend you already know well if the point weren't to get to know this new person with an eye towards having them eventually as your "best" friend.

Just go easy on these dates. You don't have to sort out their job history, their morals and values, their kid history right away. That's what people are meaning about going with the flow, going on multiple dates etc. You've got to let that stuff come up over time. If you try and force it ... your dates can feel that. And likely it won't feel good to them.

SBB posted 7/1/2013 07:43 AM

Date. Eat. See a movie. Enjoy the meal, enjoy the movie. If you enjoy the company, then break out the repeat signs. Otherwise, just date.

I'm with CG here. Doing these things will get your more comfortable in your own skin and with this strange custom called 'dating'.

You've been on both sides of the attract-meter. Its a weird science.

There's a difference between dating to get out amongst it and perhaps stumble upon someone awesome who thinks you're awesome and dating where one sees dates as 'fails' because the attracto-meter didn't ding for both of you.

You're missing the forest for the trees. Stop looking for that one tree and just enjoy some time in the forest!!

Sad in AZ posted 7/1/2013 08:08 AM

Let go of outcomes. Easy to say; hard to do. I know you have a goal, but you can't force it-you know this.

Amazonia posted 7/1/2013 08:22 AM

OIAL, you realize that you get the same advice over and over, right? CG9 put it very well on this thread.

Let it sink in. Don't give in to making excuses against it. You've seen in the past that advice you've gotten here on SI that felt counter intuitive to you actually worked out very well once you experienced it for yourself - trust those who have been there. You don't need to reinvent the wheel on this one if you're willing to go out on a limb and actually follow the advice you're given.

better4me posted 7/1/2013 08:52 AM

I'm listening to the advice you are getting here with much interest OIAL. I've been struggling with the same issue, 1st dates that don't turn into second dates and second dates that don't turn into third his choice or by mine equally.

If I'm not going to burn out from dating again in a hurry, I've got to either a) stop giving a shit so that I'm never disappointed, or b) finally find a match.

It sounds like we need to remember there are other answers to the question c)be patient, don't expect fireworks on the first date and ask someone out again if they are somewhat interesting and d)slow down, expect less, enjoy the view, trust the process

It's so helpful to know I'm not the only one treading water in the dating pool!

Newlease posted 7/1/2013 10:38 AM

When I first started dating I had some 1 date experiences. I was totally gun shy. If I didn't feel attraction, I was done.

Then I decided to try a few multi-dates with people I didn't feel that immediate attraction for. My rule became 3 dates (at least) if I wasn't totally repulsed in some way.

Most of these guys I could not imagine kissing, including my current SO. Sometimes it takes time, at least in my case, for attraction to grow.

I love kissing my SO now. I fell in love with who he is as a person before the physical part happened. Thank God he was persistent (in a non-bunny-boiler way).

Also the first guy I was TOTALLY physically attracted to turned out to be a disaster. We both had the immediate physical attraction, but the person he turned out to be was not someone I would have picked for a long term relationship.

Just my 2 cents.


OnceInALifetime posted 7/1/2013 11:34 AM

Thanks, everyone. When I first started dating (about a year after the D), OMG yes, I was incredibly stiff. No doubt about it.

But I've come a long way, baby. What's a date with OIAL like? Well, we certainly discuss our lives, our kids, etc., so it's standard stuff, but with plenty of smiles. It's not like the picture you painted, cayc.

I can't discern any difference in my own behavior with dates that were attracted to me vs. dates that were not. Roughly half have been interested. Sadly, it's been the half I haven't been interested in. Seems to defy mathematical odds.

(You ask how I know these dates were interested? Because they write right away saying what a great time they had, or express disappointment when I tell them I'm not interested. Sure, that could be graciousness on their parts, but I'm also going by my gut.)

The obvious question is whether I'm a victim of the "not wanting to belong to a club that would have me as a member" mindset. Don't believe so.

There's the possibility that the thought of a relationship frightens me, so I only allow myself to be attracted to those who will not reciprocate. I'm not buying much into that either.

I'll probably just have to settle for it being an unsolved mystery.

What I find helpful here is the suggestion to go in with less hope for potential with any given date. That means I have to keep the ultimate purpose for dating far in the back of my mind. That will be hard for me to do, because I am purpose-driven. Happy-go-lucky is not really my character. But if I can do that, my emotions around dating will be more flat.

caregiver9000 posted 7/1/2013 12:02 PM

Here is a follow up thought. If you have someone in mind, or even some specific type, then everyone who is not 'xyz' in some way is not attractive to you.

This doesn't seem to fit exactly since you say 50/50 it is the other way around and you are attracted. Are you sure this is the correct dynamic?

I am using my own experience here, and it is easy to identify my own lack of interest. But if you pick up on their lack of interest, are you sure that yours was there or did they just beat you to the rejection and did this somehow trigger a possibility fantasy that this could have been a match??

I also have messaged right away to say thank you for the date with no interest in a second date just out of politeness, especially if the man drove any distance or paid for the date. It is in my mind good form to say thank you for the date and it was nice to meet you. I have also suggested second dates out of desire to follow some of the advice that attraction comes later sometimes even when my interest was not there.

OnceInALifetime posted 7/1/2013 12:29 PM

Yes, caregiver, I would say that I've been interested to see where things might go with about half of my dates. Was my interest in part because I sensed they weren't enthused? I don't think so...

As far as the other half, were they all interested in seeing where things might go with me? Of course, I can't claim that with any certainty, especially considering that at my age men are still largely expected to be the initiators, but a good portion of them made their interest explicit ("I had a really great time; here's my number") or in response to my moving on ("Sorry to hear that; I would have liked to get to know you better.")

The others were more of a vibe that I got, but sure, I could be wrong in some or all of those cases.

It's probably the case that the women I've been interested in have lots of options, so they might be pickier. They were generally more physically attractive. So maybe I've been batting out of my league. Thing is, I've gotten multiple dates with women I deem very beautiful, so it's hard for me to lower my physical standards.

woundedwidow posted 7/1/2013 13:22 PM

"It's hard for me to lower my physical standards". Wow. I see why your mathematical odds are skewed.

OnceInALifetime posted 7/1/2013 13:34 PM

ww, I'm not sure why that generates a "Wow" from you. We all have standards around appearance.

Could well be that mine are high, but I'm physically fit, and want to be with a woman who is also fit. No hypocrisy there.

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