I want to share two examples where relationship potentials faded and conclude the post with takeaway points. I must preface with the that 1) these encounters began through an online dating website, and 2) it would be a long-distance. Despite knowing this, neither one ceased communication immediately. I’ll name them after the month of our initial contact to maintain privacy.
August initiated contact with me at the beginning of the month while I was out of town for a couple of weeks. Within a week of our conversation, we shared our long-term goals and what we sought in a partner. We were frank about our desires for marriage and family. He gave me his number after ten days of communication. We updated each other on our (almost) daily lives, exchanged work out tips/recipes, and even created a list of places we would visit and activities we could do. He offered to taste test dishes I’d prepare him. He was also understanding of the fact that I was not able to meet up with him the first weekend after my return because that weekend was already blocked off early on to spend time with a friend of mine. When I offered an alternative time, he initially accepted. Key word: initially. See below.
This exchange took place several days before the weekend we agreed to meet for the first time. He wished me a good night after my last response. We ended on an amicable note. The entire exchange spanned about one month.
December’s response to one of the questions piqued my curiosity and prompted me to initiate contact. He gave me his number within a week. I paused communication due to life’s circumstances and apologized when I texted him about the delayed response. He forgave me and insisted that we speak over the phone. He expressed his desire to spend New Years’ Eve with me, but was very understanding of the fact that I already had obligations with family and friends. After agreeing on what we sought – a relationship – we agreed to meet up a week later during my weeklong business travel in his city. We met three times during that week, with the last one ending with a quick peck on lips and an expressed interest in seeing each other again. When I texted him after returning to my hotel, he told me how much he missed me already and wished I were with him right now. That was the last I heard from him. No response even after notifying him that I made it back home safely. This exchange spanned about one month as well.
WHAT I LEARNED
I admit that logistics undermined the potential, especially given our limited interaction. However, their displayed willingness to prolong communication – even by a little bit – despite the fact begs the question regarding their possible ulterior motives.
Like market-based economy where timing affects sales, dating market is time-sensitive.
The first example is less apparent in terms of ulterior motives, since communication ended before we even met. My suspicion is that he was talking to other women as well, met a couple of them already, and even decided to pursue one of them instead. Time is of essence. He could’ve simply liked someone else better because something may have already begun developing between them when he and I began communicating, or even before he even initiated contact. Would outcomes have been different if we spoke or even met much sooner? Such is likely, but time dictates everything. The dating market is volatile, and every exchange matters.
Don’t second-guess yourself.
I detected red flags and bided time to test my theories, only to have his ghosting confirm my suspicions. First, he was insistent on me grabbing a drink the moment we met. Although I drink once or twice a year, I consciously accepted the offer and requested for the lightest alcoholic beverage. I spilled some by accident, which left me with under a quarter of the already-diluted serving. He offered to order me another one, but I declined. He continued offering to buy me drinks during subsequent dates, and I declined both times – not even for the first glass. Second, he offered me a place to stay at his place during the third date, even though he knew I had my own lodging covered. Again, I declined.
Despite the aforementioned examples, I demonstrated my attraction toward him. Examples of behavioral cues included my subconsciously playing with my hair while leaning in toward him during our conversations and holding one of his hands with both of mine when strolling along the beach. However, I was not good enough for him to consider me for anything more than a sexual release. This was despite his telling me earlier that he was looking for a relationship. Was that declaration, along with other kind “offers,” just a prop to lure me into what he truly wanted? Was I almost duped into putting out?
Should I have acted on my suspicion to avoid wasting time, or should I be grateful to see reality confirm my intuitions? While it would make more practical sense to leave early and minimize wasted time, I am ultimately grateful of the choices I made. For one, I stood firm and kept my physical integrity intact. This protected me from ramifications far greater than wasted hours. Furthermore, I’ve become even more confident in my discernment. Think of this as a social, trial-and-error experiment where I benefit from confirmed hypothesis with minimal price.