This week I spoke with my client, “Sue,” who recently entered the online dating world. Right off the bat she had scoped out a profile she really liked and emailed him. He seemed interested, attentive and pretty fabulous on paper. The next thing you know…she has a date!
When they met in real life, he complimented her generously, told her he felt so lucky to have met her, and talked about doing lots of things together. At the end of the date, they both agreed they wanted to see each other again. She felt a major connection.
…the purpose of dating is to DISCOVER whether he’s your guy, not to DECIDE if he’s your guy. That’s what a relationship is for.
Sue was understandably thrilled and got that he-could-be-the-one tingle thing goin’. I’m sure you know that feeling.
But it’s likely you also know the end of this story: he never followed through.
He didn’t call when he said he would. He cancelled two dates. He had long story for why each time and professed his interest and desire to be with her again.
And then he stopped calling.
By the time Sue and I connected, this entire story had transpired. When I talked to her, she was in damage mode. You know: rumination hell, where we gals can’t help but go. Why had he said all those things to me? What did I do wrong? Do you think he ever liked me? Maybe he just has too much going on in his life right now…should I tell him I’ll wait? Why do guys keep doing this and not following through???
Sue was emotionally drained, and her dating confidence was in the dumps. She was exhausted. And then those words I hate to hear started coming: Why does this always happen? I’m done! This is bulls#%!
Listening, I felt the same here-we-go-again feeling. But it wasn’t about the guy; it was about her.
First, let me answer her questions:
Why had he said all those things to me? Because he probably liked you.
What did I do wrong? If you showed up, had fun, and were “real”…absolutely nothing.
Do you think he ever liked me? Again, yes. I do…when he was with you.
Should I wait? NO! For what?
Why does this always happen to me? It doesn’t. You’ve gone out with about 10 guys in the past several months, and this disappearing act has happened twice. That doesn’t count as “always” in my book.
And the major, most important answer I gave her was this: You will never know what happened. Ever. And it doesn’t matter.
She didn’t even know this guy. She was totally disregarding his bad behavior and holding on to her initial, uninformed impression. She was hitching her wagon to a fantasy: a wish that she was finally in the presence of The One (at least potentially). After one date she jumped in HEART first…and created her own crash and burn drama.
And the kicker is, while she was spending all her energy on a relationship that never existed, she wasn’t responding to the dozens of men in her Match.com inbox waiting for her attention. Seriously…dozens!
Now let me guess the guy’s side of this: “Oh, she was nice and kinda pretty. Fun to hang with. Yeah, It would be nice to see her again. I’ll make a date. Oh look! Something shiny!”
That shiny thing could have been another woman, his career or some family thing. Who knows? But he found something he’d rather do, and he did it. I agree it would have been gentlemanly of him to tell her that he was moving on, but I don’t think he was a jerk or a liar. He was not yet invested in her, and he was taking care of himself.
Ladies, it would help you to approach dating a little more like the guys. Yes, I said it: like the guys. Most women go on a date hoping he’s the one. Even though he might be seriously looking for the one, most men go on dates thinking something like, “She seems nice. It’ll be cool to see her and get to know a little about her.” And if what he learns doesn’t knock his socks off, he may get waylaid if something shiny comes along.
Remember, the purpose of dating is to DISCOVER whether he’s your guy, not to DECIDE if he’s your guy. That’s what a relationship is for. It isn’t about getting him to like you or making him fit your expectations.
Not only did Sue lose three weeks of potential fun dates, but she burned herself out and brought herself to the verge of giving up on finding love…all over a guy she never knew.
Start slow, keep an open mind, stay in the moment and don’t go ALL IN on anyone too soon. This is the grownup girl part of dating: manage your expectations and keep your fantasies in check no matter how strong the guy comes on. Balance your heart with your head.
By choosing the crazy woman’s path of dashed hopes and disappointments (I think I can say that because that was me for many years.), you will likely burn yourself out. The ups and downs will get the best of you. And then you miss out on so many opportunities to enjoy yourself and to stay open to many guys, one of which will your last first date. Slow and steady wins THIS race…and the right guy.