In high school I was never a ladies’ man. I had little to no confidence. I always assumed girls wanted nothing to do with me. I never liked what I saw in the mirror, why would they? I had no girlfriends in high school, it bothered me a little but it was okay. No big deal, I was going to find love in college, just like mom and dad.
Well, I knew that would be tough since my school was more than 90% male. How tough exactly I would learn. By early junior year I was still alone, no girlfriend, no girls even remotely interested.
College and all of the leadership positions I uncomfortably forced myself into did wonders for my confidence. But when it came to woman, I was still not confident. I was never, and will never be the type to approach a woman in a bar, or anywhere else, to strike up conversation.
Enter online dating. For a while I cringed at the idea of even trying it, but what other choice did I have? Surely I had nothing to lose. Goes to show how little I knew about my heart and the scary, but potentially rewarding world of dating.
I made an account on OKcupid or Plenty of Fish. I honestly can’t remember which. I filled out my information and wrote a very serious bio. It wasn’t short and you could tell I put in effort. Uploaded some pictures of me I liked best. Now all I had to do is wait. Well after waiting for weeks I realized that waiting for a message doesn’t do a damn thing. I grew some courage, sent some thoughtful messages: “Hi, How are you? I read through your profile and think you did a great job with it. If you’re interested I’d like to get to know more about you.”
You know how many times that worked? Never. I was an online dating noob. And little did I know my long and detailed profile scared more women away then my pictures. I came off as too serious about dating. I was 20, I was supposed to be looking for a hookup and/or not looking for marriage material yet apparently. Clearly no-women-confidence me was not the hookup type. As young adults dating these days, there seems to be no middle ground. Everyone explicitly specifies “no hookups” in their profiles, but the minute you say you are serious about dating they run. In my opinion, what is dating if you aren’t looking for a partner for your future? Not saying there isn’t a long period of making sure that person is good for you. But dating, just to date, and not move on from there, never getting more serious, is not how I do things.
After months of trying, and a few conversations that lasted maybe 10 messages on average, I finally had a conversation worthwhile. Her name was Cynthia. We hit it off well enough. I asked for her number, and very nervously, and anxiously awaited the reply. Well the first time ever asking for a girl’s number and I got it. That broke that first little barrier that I’m sure many of us know. Things progressed for a few weeks and seemingly got better. I was excited, first woman ever to give this much time of day. But surprisingly I managed to keep mostly a level head about it. By now it was about week 3 or 4, we were saying “sleep well”s and “good morning”s everyday. And we had made plans to finally meet the next week.
I was in for my first lesson of the disappointment of the dating world. One day her replies were becoming increasingly sparse. Assumed she was busy, no big deal. And later that night she told me she was busy. No reason not to believe that, she had been messaging me almost nonstop for weeks, she was into me I knew that. Four days away from our date now. The next day she was busy again, hadn’t replied to me in about 4 hours. That’s okay, I’ll message her anyway. “I hope your day is going well. No need to reply right now, I know you are busy. Just saying hi and hang in there”. Well no reply until that night. “sorry, really busy. Hope your day was good”.
Next day. Busy again. Of course. After hearing nothing from her all day, I sent her a little heart to heart message. Something like: “Cynthia, there is no doubt you are busy these days and I’m trying not to be a bother. But it seems things have changed and there is less interest. If you aren’t interested in me you can just tell me. I’ll understand. I think you know I like you, if I’m overdoing it just let me know”.
She replied ensuring me she liked me too and she was sorry for being distant. She was just so busy. And said a bunch of stuff that made me feel a lot better. Well the next morning came, renewed hope I messaged her a nice good morning, saying I was looking forward to finally seeing her that night. No reply. Few hours go by and no reply. Sent a nice message hoping her day was going well. It’s the afternoon now, still have heard nothing from her. “Are you still available tonight?”. About an hour to our date I tried calling her. No answer. Waited and waited. Nothing. Sent her another message, can’t remember the details. Another heart to heart sort of message. Never heard from her again. As a matter of fact, I was blocked on facebook from her too.
I was pretty hurt by that. I was excited about her clearly. And never got the chance the even meet. In a way that made it easier. After all I know that’s why she didn’t go through with the date, it’s much harder to disconnect from the person after that. I can only speculate her reasons. And that’s a natural reaction to being “ghosted”, or even a breakup of any caliber.
It was good preparation for the road of dating ahead of me. It never got in the way of me doing my daily routine at college. Although it was distracting, for about a week I couldn’t get it off my mind. And I probably was a little grumpy.
What I learned, and what others should take away. No it’s not a groundbreaking perspective and it’s not always apparent or easy to accept.
You don’t know their motive, so don’t dwell on the reason: While it’s never right to ignore someone and offer no explanation, it’s also best to not to get caught up and start blaming yourself.
It was him or her, don’t be hard on yourself: Unless you were a complete, utter jerk or had questionable deal breakers, their actions were not how things should go down. But life isn’t fair like that. So yes, blame them, but don’t make it about them. Or you.
Life is hard, there is never a good time: This applies more to people who are in the opposite side of this. No one likes delivering bad news, timing is never right. And if you wait for the right time it’s not going to happen. When you can’t overcome your doubts, make it known. It’s not the easy thing to do, it might even be more hurtful to the person initially, but it’s the right thing to do and it makes for better understanding and healing. And they won’t think of you as a jerk for the rest of their remembrance of you. Do the right thing.