Now that it’s been about a year since this happened, let me tell you a little story about the first guy I met from a dating app. This guy ended up kind of gradually stopping talking to me, and looking back, it was probably rightfully so. This story is a little embarrassing, but let it be a lesson to you in not dating too soon after a break up.
The breakup was so complicated, I couldn’t tell you for sure how long after it this meeting took place. 3 months? 4 months? 5 months? Do you measure from the last “I love you” or the decision to end things? Needless to say, it was a weird, drawn out thing, and in my mind there was a timeline for when I should be ready to date again – and this was it. So I downloaded Bumble after my sister told me about it. I had never done dating apps before (had sworn I never would) but I figured giving it a shot was better than being lonely.
The first guy I started talking to and felt like I would have chemistry with – we’ll call him Salt N Peppa. I’m sure he’s long since forgotten about me and will never see this blog, but I like giving people nicknames, so indulge me. He was older than me by probably 7 or 8 years, but was really attractive and was the creative type (for some reason, creative type is always my thing – musician, artist, person-who-can-make-something-with-welding…I dig it). Also, tattoos. He had also been divorced, and we seemed to have a lot in common. Plus he said he was a feminist (swoon). We decided to meet, so he picked the place and I almost threw up from nerves.
The first mistake I made was being late. I know there are people who are always early and get mad when people are late…and I always hope I’m not meeting someone like that because I am always late. It’s not that I’m rude – I swear the part of my brain that estimates time is just broken. I think it’ll take me 10 minutes to get somewhere that it actually takes 30 minutes to get to. Well, it so happens that Salt N Peppa is an early guy and seemed annoyed that I was late, even though part of the reason I was late was that I got lost. Downtown can be really confusing, okay? The directions part of my brain is also broken.
Besides the waitress commenting that she thought I was going to stand Salt N Peppa up, the date actually went pretty well. He actually looked like his pics and was funny. We got along well, I thought. He didn’t seem to judge me for eating my pizza like a cavewoman. He kind of talked about his ex a lot – enough to where I was able to find her Instagram pretty easily (oh hold your judgement, Judgy McJudgerson, if you say you don’t do that you’re a liar) – but I didn’t think anything of it really. When you’re divorced, it’s not out of the ordinary to trade divorce stories. It’s like moms who trade birth stories – we like to know someone else has also gone through a really unpleasant thing and compare scars. We talked about a concert we both wanted to go to months away, and we talked about getting together again at the end of the date so I assumed this was the start of something that could actually be good.
Well, it wasn’t.
He ended up cancelling on our second date, and then gradually just stopped responding to me. I am too proud to text and ask “hey, do you not like me now or what?” so I stopped texting also. My ego was a little hurt, just because I actually did like him and I didn’t know what I did to make him not like me. It has been pointed out to me that with the dating app culture, it is easy to drop someone if something better comes along – which hurt my feelings even more. I think I’m a catch, dammit.
So where did this go wrong? It took a while, but I realized it went wrong with me trying to get comfortable too fast. The relationship I had just gotten out of – there was no real “getting to know you” time, because he’s someone I’d known for 20+ years. It was comfortable from the start. Once you’re so comfortable with someone it’s hard to remember that it’s not like that with everyone. So I talked too much about problems with my baby daddy at the time. I sent pictures of drawings my kid did, which seems so inappropriate to me now that I’m blushing as I write this. I don’t think I talked about the last ex too much, but my brain was broke at the time so I probably actually did. I’m sure I seemed like a stage 5 clinger and a damn weirdo. I never took into account that meeting someone from a dating app is a lot different from real life in that it takes longer to get to know and get comfortable with someone. My problem was that I had recently lost a best friend and I wanted to fill that void with whoever was unfortunate enough to show me any interest. It’s like replacing a missing limb with a broomstick. It’s silly and it doesn’t work for anyone.
The moral of the story is – wait until you’re actually ready to date someone after a break up. Don’t try to force yourself into being ready just because you think you “should” be. If it takes a while, it takes a while. At least you’ll be recovering by yourself instead of inviting yourself to live with someone after a week. Which I totally didn’t do. Totally.