I have been doing the online dating thing for a long time now. It is not fun. There seems to be a lot of games involved and no one gave me the rulebook. Now, due to not understanding the dating rules, I have done a fair amount of research on the matter. I have read various articles and blogs pertaining to these so-called rules of dating and more specifically, online dating. Some of the things I have read tell me what I already know and others completely confuse me. A few blogs seem to be very black and white. That sort of bugs me. How can we blanket these rules over all situations when it comes to dating? Are we following these rules at the risk of passing up a possibly good thing? And who the hell writes these rules?
Now, let me give you an example of something that has been bothering me. I had met this guy online. We hit it off and things were going great. We met and the sparks flew! Yes, we slept together. Not the smartest thing to do when wanting to keep a man's interest (this is a whole different topic) for longer than the night, but nonetheless, it happened. He insisted he was not like the others and wouldn't pull a disappearing act on me. At first, he seemed to be living up to his words. After a few days passed with fairly consistent contact, he started to disappear. His messages were less and less frequent and the phone calls stopped altogether. The contents of the messages also changed. He used to ask how my day went or want to know things about me. The messages became more about what he was planning to do that day or how tired he was from work. He would contact me once or maybe twice a week.
I decided that I did really like him, but I didn't want to partake in what I was sure was a failing level of interest after having had sex. I stopped messaging. Sure, I would respond to his messages if the message needed a response, but I wouldn't make first contact. That has been the ongoing ritual lately. Naturally, I had decided that he was just being nice or keeping me interested enough to be able to booty call me when needed. I did what any normal, rational woman would do. I went straight to the girls! I asked all of them what their impression was of his messaging behavior. Most of them were of the same mind. "Move on and let this one go." "He obviously has lost interest." A few of the ladies thought I should just bide my time, continue to chat with him, but keep my options open. None of this helped me. I love my girls, but sometimes I just don't see things in the same light. My next option was to do some internet research. This is where the articles and blogs enter the picture.
I read and read. I thought and thought. I took in what these writers had to say. Some were cut throat about the length of time between contact. Others were completely indifferent or contradictory to their own opinions. Then I noticed most of these writers weren't trained experts. Sure, they were experts, but not in the legal sense. They weren't doctors or therapists. They were mainly women. Single women. Just like me. Of course, for me, there is no better expert than the person living the situation. I decided to agree with them and write him off. Write off the gorgeous, sweet, gentleman, who had been so kind to me in all of our conversations. The man who begged me to relax and not punish him for the men of my past. Yes, walk away. He is so not interested.
I did exactly that. I wrote him off. I didn't message him at all. When he messaged me, my responses were short. In fact most of them were no longer than four words. I would wait a good deal of time before responding or even reading his entire message. After a few days of behaving this way, I noticed his messages were more engaging, but there still weren't any phone calls. I had decided that I would be friendly because I could see him and I being buddies if the romantic relationship didn't work. I just didn't want to give him too much of me anymore. He hadn't earned it. I was going to listen to the female writers and just give up. Then his messages starting talking about work and his crazy schedule. I started to think that maybe this is what is keeping him from contacting me like a normal person. Maybe he is legitimately busy with work. He doesn't work a normal job and he does have a normal schedule. It might even be possible that he is interested and would like to see me again. So, what should I do? Do I follow the "rules" or do I make my own?
I often wonder if we, as single women, walk away from men too quickly based on some rule we read in some random article. There are good men out there! I know quite a few of them. Not every guy we talk to, date, or sleep with is a jerk. What if we are making them jerks by blowing them off or assuming they are not interested? In my experience, men are not the best at communicating their feelings or thoughts, especially to a woman. When they do say things to us, we pick it apart and lose focus on what was said. Men are not hiding messages within their words. Typically what they say is what they mean. If a man tells you that he is sorry he hasn't been in contact with you for a few days or a week because of work and you know his job is quite demanding, then he is probably telling you the truth. Now if he works at an office and keeps normal hours…maybe not so much. The point is, don't look to your friends or the internet (other than my blog, of course) for answers to how you should date. Consider all of the circumstances and make a decision based on your gut feeling. A woman's gut reaction is normally spot on. In the end, I'm going to follow some sage advice I received from the only other person involved in this situation with me. I'm going to relax and just let things roll.