During the last two months, I’ve found myself undecided at the end of many first dates. This isn’t normal for me. I’m generally a clear yes or no, and I tell the guy exactly what I’m thinking. But lately I’ve been giving guys second and third dates because I haven’t been sure of my feelings, which, as I should know about myself by now, actually means I’m not interested. If I don’t have an overwhelming “wow” feeling at the end of date one, it really is a waste of my time to go on more dates because that feeling won’t magically appear. And yet, I’ve been doing it anyway because a lot my dates were really great guys I wanted to like.
The Non-Profit Development Director: The first guy to get more than one date! So attractive and fit (he ran Boston this year!) and so sweet and good, as you might guess from his job. He did something really charming for our first date – something that indicated he was paying attention to things I said and was really interested in getting to know me. I appreciated this. But…he was too young for me. There is young 35 and older 35, and he was definitely young 35. Despite all his accomplishments, I felt like I was dating someone in his twenties. Also, somewhat related to this, the level of conversation wasn’t what I need. I would try to delve into deeper topics, but he wouldn’t respond with much more than a few words and a smile for my thoughts. Disappointing, for sure.
The Artist: I figured I can’t be single in Boulder without ever going on a date with the quintessential Boulder person. Enter the artist (former meditation guide, body worker, yogi, metaphysical book store employee, Buddhist monk, and all around flower child). This date was an excellent lesson in not stereotyping people. In many ways, he was not at all what I expected. Obviously there was never going to be a love connection here because we couldn’t possibly be more different, but I felt a little tenderness for him. He’s a good person just trying to find his way in this world.
The Handyman: Three dates! That’s a record this year. This guy was great. He was in tech sales for a decade, hated it, got out and started his own company. He knows about things I don’t know about and vice-versa, which made for great conversation. We were constantly teaching each other new things. He’s sweet and emotionally open. But he’s too extroverted for me. We hung out with a bunch of his friends on two of our three dates. I’m flattered he was willing to introduce me to his friends right away, but there needs to be more one-on-one getting to know you time. He knows everyone in the town he lives in and said he never stays home in the evenings. He goes out all the time with his big group of friends. This doesn’t work for me. I’m a homebody. Also, a few things he said led me to believe his last relationship is in the too-close past and he’s not quite over her yet or ready to date, even though he’s trying.
The Software Developer: We connected intellectually instantly but I wasn’t attracted to him at all. I gave him a second date because it seemed such a waste to walk away from someone who was so intriguing and who I felt really understood a lot of where I was coming from and where I want to go in life. But on the second date, even though he seemed a bit better looking, the attraction still wasn’t there. I couldn’t see myself ever kissing him, much less anything else. Disappointing for both of us, but when he suggested a third date that weekend, I had to say no.
The Environmental Researcher: This guy is wicked smart in his scientific field of study, as well as a range of other subjects. And he’s passionate and caring about the world around him. But, he was suffocating. Even before the date he was texting me too much and talking about “us” and “we.” He seemed really concerned about making sure the date happened, like there’s some real insecurity there and he needs to be with someone. He was too flattering on the date and already making future plans for us and he tried to take my hand when we left the bar. I have no doubt that he would make the most loyal and caring boyfriend for someone, but I felt smothered and wanted to run away. Also, I found out on the date that he is ex-military and now considering joining the National Guard, so that’s definitely a no-go for me.
The Chemical Engineer: My first date with him went really well and I ended up liking him more than I expected to, so I happily agreed to a second date. But date two made clear that we are not a match of the kind I want. Here’s the thing, on the first date, we quickly found out we had a lot in common. A lot lot. This may seem good, but there’s some truth to the saying that opposites attract. Partners should balance out each other’s weaknesses and faults. They should make each other better and help each other through sticky moments. What I realized on the second date was that he has too many of the identical negative points of my personality (and, I suspect, to a greater degree) and it would be too easy for us to get into terrible downward spirals in circumstances that frustrate us, because we get frustrated by the same things. I didn’t see the potential for the kind of positivity and mutual encouragement I want in my relationships.
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The more dates I go on, the more I realize that I don’t have time for anything serious. I keep matching with people on Bumble and realizing that I can’t meet them in person for at least a week and a half, so I let a lot of matches expire. I don’t want to bother maintaining a text messaging connection that long. What’s more, I’ve realized I don’t want to make time for someone. With my full time job, freelance work, creative writing projects, working out six days a week, camping trips on the weekends, travel, a dog to walk, and spending time with my social circle, I simply don’t have time for a relationship. I’m happy with my life and not willing to give anything up for someone.
Many years ago, I had a successful seven-month non-relationship with someone whose lifestyle choices were completely incompatible with mine. We had a fabulous time when we were together but there was no interest from either of us in having an actual relationship. No pressure and no expectations. It only ended because I got serious with someone else. That sounds perfect right now.