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The third date curse.

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cmego posted 11/3/2013 18:28 PM

OK, for the second time in a month...I have poofers at the third date.

Why does this seem to be an important turning point?

The first guy pursued pretty hard, I was having to hold him back a little. Great two dates, third one planned. Hug and peck on the lips at the second date, the "I'll see you tomorrow (the third date)". He cancelled the date, then 2 days later said, "I'm not sure about the direction this is going....and don't want to lead you on." He did all of the pursuing up until that point. He constantly told me how amazing I am, I should write a book, how much he was in awe of me. I was "super woman". The end of the second date was slightly awkward, like he didn't mean to kiss me. It was a peck on the lips, and I felt his back tense, like he was uncomfortable. I felt the tense, and wasn't 100% surprised at the poof.

When he poofed, I went back on Match, and got an email from a great guy. He texted me all weekend, and we set a "phone date". The quick phone date turned into a 2 hour phone call. He asked for lunch the following day, it went well and he asked for the next date this past Friday. Everything was text book RIGHT. Did everything he said he was going to do, setting the next date while ON the date, texting and kept in touch between dates. Light flirting, complimenting me. We met on Friday for date 3. "Drinks" turned into a 4 hour walking/talking date. He walked me to my car and we kissed for a good 10 minutes.

He has now poofed. He walked away from kissing me and I haven't heard from him since. I sent a text earlier today just saying I enjoyed the date and hoped he was having a great weekend. He never responded. I looked on Match, he is "active within 24 hours". I'm not comfortable making out with a guy I'm never going to see again. I literally had no indication, no pull back, no sense at all that he wasn't interested. Everything was textbook easy and good.

So, what is this "third date" curse?

What I"m learning is to really hold back. I don't feel like I can be myself if the guy is just going to poof. It seems like you have to get past the third date for anything to be worth even thinking about.

Plus, in both cases, I let the guys "drive the bus". I let them pursue me, I would reciprocate, let them know I was interested...but I let them pursue.

The dates are generally all light and fun. There is talk about "our pasts", since all have been BS's, but I have learned to steer the conversations away from exs. The last guy I even told, "There is no reason to really talk about this unless we are further down the road." He said, "When I talk to other people, you can hear the pain. With you, it is just matter of fact. It is different."

I made no "where is this going?" type conversations. I just want to get to know the guy. We talk, have fun.

I am completely befuddled. I have the third date curse.

PhoenixRisen posted 11/3/2013 18:41 PM

Sounds like you are doing everything you should be doing so I'm thinking this is most likely a coincidence.

or maybe there is some online dating guide for men that says if you don't get lucky by the third date it means x. Which isn't what they want so that is why they poofed.

Any male SIers can chime in

[This message edited by PhoenixRisen at 6:42 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

phmh posted 11/3/2013 19:29 PM

I usually have the first date curse, where I don't want a second one, but things are different with this new guy I'm seeing, so I'm throwing my anecdotal two cents in.

I think there's something a bit off with guys who pursue way too hard (the last guy I was seeing, my XWH, these guys you mention, for example) and that's what you're running into. If I recall correctly, your XWH also pursued you really hard. Almost like they have to make up for something (lack of character, being gay but chasing an opposite gender person, major insecurity, not ready to date) by rushing things.

The current guy I'm seeing -- we met for lunch on a Saturday for about 60 minutes. E-mailed every few days, but didn't meet up again until two weeks later, for a Friday dinner. Third date was today, a little more than a week later. Didn't try anything physical, except for a hug at the end of the date, until a brief kiss at the end of the third date. Fourth date set for this Friday.

I honestly had no idea if he really liked me, other than he kept asking me out, as he wasn't complimenting me incessantly or being physical, as other guys were. But I kept dear former poster OIAL in the back of my mind and decided to take it slowly. It's still super early, but so far, I think he's a quality guy.

Reading what you've written -- it sounds like it was almost love-bombing with both of these guys: you're superwoman; quick phone call that turns into 2 hours; drinks = 4 hours; date the next day; etc.

Anyway, I don't think it's you, but rather it's these guys. I say this all the time, but I think that far too many people wade into dating before they're healed and ready. When something good starts happening, they love bomb and try to settle into comfortable patterns of seeing their SO all the time -- like in a LTR or marriage situation, and then they freak out and poof.

Don't take it personally. Don't let it make you cynical. But maybe try to slow things down even more? Set a time limit for dates/phone calls, in the beginning, maybe wait at least 3-5 days until the next date, etc.

You're super fabulous, so I know you'll find a great guy someday! Wading through all of this will just make you appreciate it even more!

LeopoldB posted 11/3/2013 20:06 PM

If I am going to poof, I do it before the third date. If I opt out after the third date, it is because I have discovered that we are not compatible in some important way and I communicate that. The most common reason is that the woman does not want to become intimate until she knows this is "for real". Conversely, I would never commit to a woman until I know whether we are sexually compatible. So it's a little bit of a conundrum, but it works out on occasion.

[This message edited by LeopoldB at 8:07 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

trumanshow posted 11/3/2013 20:33 PM

scroll down a bit and read the post "The day after the first date" This is very common (it seems) on OLD

cmego posted 11/3/2013 20:57 PM

I hear you Leopold, but I'm not sure that was the issue. A discussion about sex was not on the table. I am more like a "6th date" kinda girl. I would totally get the "not sexually compatible" as a reason to not continue...but that has never been an issue with me.

phmh~ Thank you, sweet lady :)

With the second guy, we discussed that we wanted to meet early to see if the physical stuff was there. We both agreed that it was important, but both wanted to take it slow afterwards. With custody schedules, it had to work this way. Now, I probably won't be available for 2 more weeks.

Yes, I am used to men pursuing me very hard. This last guy is D'd, about 6 months post D and about 2 years post d-day. I sensed some pain in him, but nothing out of the ordinary. He had dated two women before me. There was absolutely no indication until he poofed. He may have been hiding the pain really well.

Love-bombing. The first guy was pushing a little hard (trying to bring coffee to me during my son's soccer game after the first date. I told him no. Then trying to bring me a celebratory drink after the second date when I finished a hard my house...I told him no. I did accept dates, though.) He did feel like he was pushing, and I took note. His poof wasn't as surprising. I am seeing if they push really hard, something is wrong. I was trying to slow him down.

But, this second guy. It actually felt easy. The only push was to meet early to assess the physical. After that, the contact felt...normal. No heavy texting/emailing. Just very light and like once a day. No long phone calls/long emailing. It was a great date. I had no expectations that it would go for 4 hours. I even said, "What??? It is midnight? Wow, that 4 hours flew by!" He agreed. It was a date where you are just talking and don't note the time.

I'm pretty sure if a guy doesn't like me, he isn't going to hang around in a 4 hour date, then kiss me. It all felt really easy/natural. A really good kiss too. Several really good kisses. I did break off the kissing...I just told him, "Ok, it is time for you to go...this is a little too much fun."

I keep feeling like these guys like me, but are scared of stupid as that sounds.

So, yeah. Trying to find the learning experience here. I can see the ones that push too fast aren't right. But when a series of dates feels right/easy/natural and they still poof? I got lost on this one.

Amazonia posted 11/3/2013 21:47 PM

I vote that it's less about you, more about online dating. (Not saying you're not special...I just don't think you're *cursed* special )

FlySomeday posted 11/3/2013 22:22 PM


Yeah. I met the 3rd date curse. Made me withdrawl from OLD for a bit. Not suggesting that you do the same but I will share some wisdom from a friend who I consider an OLD expert. She has ALWAYS suggested that with the OLD world that it is good to extend the meeting IRL for a while (actually she suggests an entire month) so that a. you both get to know each other and b. and then there is this investment and anticipation. Additionally, you kinda "know" them. I know, there are those (mostly men) who would say forget that! Wanna know right now whether we click. Every time (only a few) , I'd open the door prematurely, I got the poof. Granted, would probably have gotten the poof regardless (because it isn't about you!) just not the type of guy you probably want. It is hard. So hard. Because I or we (woman) don't necessarily want to wait that long to meet either. Never do. But I'm starting to think her theory which she calls "Dignity Preservation" in OLD has some credence. Hang in there girl. You are smokin' and just haven't met a good one yet. It will come. Try the next one as an experiment in the Dignity Preservation. Let me know what happens.

cmego posted 11/4/2013 07:03 AM


I did the "I don't meet someone until I feel like I know you a little" and that sucked. Mostly because I thought I liked the guy, then when I met in person...nada. zilch. nothing. No spark at all. The physical has to be there too. It was a waste of time for me.

Meeting within a week or so doesn't bother me, it weeds out the majority of guys I have no attraction to.

The update: He texted me at 10:30 last night with a "Hope you enjoyed your weekend, mine was really hectic. Friday was nice."

I basically blew him off. 1) I can see that he has been on Match over the "hectic weekend", 2) It took him 9 hours to respond to a text, and he waits until he is going to bed? 3) He was contacting me every day then poofs for 48 hours after a great date/ends in kissing? 4) He didn't ask to see me again.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Like, I know I am supposed to be all "cool" when OLD. I am supposed to be meeting a dozen guys and dating them all and attach to no one. But, if I am true to myself, that just isn't who. I. am. I am uncomfortable with feeling like I'm competing. I am not going to be the thinnest, or the prettiest, or the smartest or the "whateverist". I am just going to be me...and "me" doesn't multi date. I don't want to marry the guy/want some deep attachment...but I can't get physical and relax if I'm wondering who he is dating the next night. The right guy is going to come along that will appreciate that I am monogamous to a fault.

So, now I need to figure out how to tell this guy that, and I expect he will just move on to the one.

My response to the text was to say, I know I suck at dating, he asked for clarification, and I said I wasn't ready to talk yet. Then I wished him a good week and said I was headed to bed.

I want my thoughts clear if I talk to him. I'm guessing he is a poofer.

trumanshow posted 11/4/2013 09:40 AM

Cmego-I'm exactly the same way-and had the same experience over and over. They want to keep you in the stable-I got tired of this after a while and left OLD.

Idk why they don't get that we can see they're on match while they're "too busy" to text

better4me posted 11/4/2013 14:45 PM

No advice. But you aren't alone. And, it sucks...

hummingbird8 posted 11/4/2013 15:46 PM

I would not have responded what you did or send any more texts. He's rude and obviously not interested so I would just ignore. If you say anything your opening yourself up for him to argue, think your bitter, etc.

Just forget about him and don't respond anymore. You are right the right person will come along, and you won't be settling.

cmego posted 11/4/2013 17:07 PM

Well, I did hear from him today. It is a long story that basically said he isn't sure how he feels about me, and wants to "be friends". Because he really likes me, he just isn't sure that I'm "the one" for him. I told him if he thought I was "the one" for him after 2 or 3 dates...I'd run screaming away.

It is the discussion about "lightening strikes" that generally don't end well, or "lets be friends and see if something develops". Neither are appealing.

IDK. I don't know what to think right now. I like him too, but I have no idea if he is "the one". It may just be a friendship. There weren't many sparks until we kissed, but it felt really easy. He is easy to talk to and we do get along well. He did apologize for not contacting me sooner...he said he wanted to think.

I'm still processing.

numbandnauseous posted 11/4/2013 19:37 PM

Thanks for the update. A lot to think about. Sounds like he is trying to navigate this like you are. So hard to know what his true intentions are. Are you going to contact him again, or wait for him to contact you?

phmh posted 11/4/2013 19:41 PM

I think you can do better. You're gorgeous, nice, honest, intelligent, wonderful, etc. Your choice, obviously, but I hope this guy isn't trying to make you into his backup plan or prevent you from finding a good guy, hoping he might change his mind. It sounds like he still has some healing to do.

InnerLight posted 11/4/2013 21:35 PM

My take is that he does like you and is overthinking a future possible relationship w you and cannot be mentally present. I'm sure that feels bad.

I was like this when I first dated - all confused and anxious and my mind going in all directions.

He is acting like such a doofus now that its hard to tell if there is anything good underneath. At least he apologized.

He didn't poof in the end at least.

I would back off and let it go. If he came up w a great date idea I might say yes, if not I'd be done.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 9:37 PM, November 4th (Monday)]

better4me posted 11/4/2013 23:17 PM

Ah, the projecting too far in the future type of scared guy. I've run across this type too. I've had conversations with some of the guys I've dated who have backed off after a couple of really good dates (I'm a therapist, I can get them to talk)and this is a similar tale that I'm hearing. I don't know if it is typical of men in their 40's and beyond, men who've been divorced and therefore hurt, or what...but it is a common theme.

I don't know what to do about it though cmego. I've remained friends with some of these guys, texting every couple of months or going out for lunch...and a couple of them have come back a few months later, interested in dating me again. And so far, by the time they do, I've moved on and they just aren't as appealing as they were before.

Sorry you are experiencing this least you know you aren't alone, it keeps happening to me too...

cmego posted 11/5/2013 06:44 AM

Well, I basically told him that I will give friendship a shot and see what happens. In the meantime, I'm going to continue dating others.

He told me he has some FOO issues, and I was thankful for the honesty on his end. He is in therapy and seems to be able to communicate the issue...but can't find a way around it. I'm not sure I'm willing to deal with yet another guy with FOO issues. It is almost like he has a rubric for the perfect woman...I didn't meet the rubric by the 2nd date, therefore no lightening for him.

So, I put the ball into his court. He can't hold me against the rubric, I'll never measure up, and I won't psychoanalyze his FOO issues. We can just be friends and hang out occasionally and get to know each other as friends. I could use a good guy friend.


trumanshow posted 11/5/2013 06:51 AM

It is almost like he has a rubric for the perfect woman.

this-along with "the one" "chemistry" "complete me" "lightening" etc always made me NEXT their profile. It is unrealistic

StrongerOne posted 11/5/2013 12:18 PM

OK, we are R so I am not dating , but I did want to respond to something you said. Take it as an objective view from outside the dating scene -- use or ignore!

You said:

The update: He texted me at 10:30 last night with a "Hope you enjoyed your weekend, mine was really hectic. Friday was nice."

I basically blew him off. 1) I can see that he has been on Match over the "hectic weekend", 2) It took him 9 hours to respond to a text, and he waits until he is going to bed? 3) He was contacting me every day then poofs for 48 hours after a great date/ends in kissing? 4) He didn't ask to see me again.

I don't know how works, but can you be logged in without actually being active? Also, since you are not exclusive, I don't see why he can't be still looking. Hectic weekend -- I know that when I have a crazy weekend, I can do quick stuff online, but maybe I am not calling my mom or my BFF because I don't have the time to have a nice convo.

Nine hours to respond to a text -- that's still within one day. Not bad for a non-exclusive relationship.

"poofs" for 48 hours -- again, non exclusive relationship. I don't think it's reasonable to expect to hear from someone every day if you've only gone out once or twice.

Didn't ask to see you again -- that's the important info. The other stuff doesn't tell you much, I think. Not asking for a date, that's telling you something.

Don't mean to offend here -- just observing that at the beginning of a dating relationship, one wouldn't expect the kind of attention that's expected with a more exclusive or developed relationship.

[This message edited by StrongerOne at 12:19 PM, November 5th (Tuesday)]

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