Before I dive into this latest entry (and it's a long one!), I would like to point all of you to an absolutely wonderful blog written by my dear friend, Charlotte. Through her own experiences, she explores what it's like to be a single 30-something woman, tossed back onto the scene after a long-term relationship. Her candor, sweetness, and bravery are not only a pleasure to read, but the inspiration behind my new baby blog. Please show her some love, and check out My Pixie Blog at http://www.mypixieblog.com/
It was originally my intention to leave the topic of dating and relationships out of my blog, but sometimes it just needs to be discussed.
After leaving my ex-husband, I didn't really take dating very seriously. I wasn't particularly interested in having a boyfriend, but I did date casually. It seemed easier to date guys I knew I wouldn't grow attached to, but I could still enjoy the company and attention that they brought into the mix.
Summer came and almost went, until in August, (approximately 10 months after I'd left) I was introduced to someone through a mutual friend. Mr. Doe and I hit it off instantly, and I realized that I could really, really like him... Uh oh.
And I did. And for several months, it was all about him and me and nothing else. My friends wondered where I'd gone. I stopped showing up at the places I'd normally be spotted in. I declined invitations to most things, but when I did go, all I could do was think about the next time we'd get to hang out again. My sister said my eyes were sparkly. We had a blast together. It was fun, it was organic, and it seemed to be going swimmingly.
And then, one day, he woke up, and realized that we were, in fact, in a relationship. Without going into the long, drawn out history, he was relationship-phobic. Bad break up, trust issues, blah blah blah blah blah. What it all came to is that this was evolving and he was scared. I, being the fearless woman that I am, had no problem with it. It was simple: We were happy, it was fun, and it was all happening without discussion. And it reinforced that I was in a good place and able to bring something to a relationship. And he was just so stinkin' cute.
We had a few conversations about it, and his discomfort was evident. He SAID he was ok with it. But he clearly wasn't. The distance grew, the time together got less and less, and next thing I knew, it had been weeks since I saw him. But we still talked or texted every day. Huh.
Here's where I went wrong: Being so incredibly uncomfortable not knowing what was going on, I turned to the abysmal excuse for socializing known as online dating. Why not? I know people (ok, maybe TWO, tops) who have had success with that! I'm ready for a relationship! Mr. Doe isn't the only one! I started talking to several different guys via a dating site. I even met one or two people the "old fashioned" way... but something just didn't work--with any of them.
You're thinking, "She's just too hung up on Mr. Doe." WRONG! Why didn't ANY of these meetings turn into something else? Because, apparently, someone went and took the simplest social etiquette out of dating. I don't think the scene has changed SO drastically since the last time I was in it, but apparently, it's completely acceptable to abruptly blow people off, not respond to communication, etc.
Every single one of them, regardless of how much or little time we spent talking, simply... "disappeared." On what level, be it dating, friendship, or even merely acquaintances, is it ok to just blow someone off? Is this the new way of expressing a lack of interest? For most of them, it was nothing more than annoying. I wasn't particularly invested, but still. There's something to be said for someone who doesn't have enough decency to say, "Hey, you know what? You're cool, but I don't think you're right for me."
This isn't a question of the dating scene being so difficult, but one of simple common courtesy. Mr. Doe and I spent a lot of time together. There was a very personal connection. And yet, he chose the "blow off" method. He asked to see me (post-relationship-phobia meltdown), I said I was available on a certain day, and I never heard from him again, until I text him four days later to let him know how disappointing and insulting his behavior was. And all he could do was say that it wasn't right to keep me around if his feelings weren't growing. But that wasn't the issue. He, like so many of the others, refused to acknowledge that kind of behavior as unacceptable.
I started to think about why people are so comfortable being impersonal, and the first thing that comes to mind is technology. Is it because texting (the absolute preferred method of communication) and email are so impersonal that it's ok to be just as impersonal in the end? Is it as simple as deleting that phone number from your contact list? For the online thing, I do believe that a photograph, profile, email address and text messaging all make it somehow less "real" that you're dealing with an actual person. But people I've met in person, the old fashioned way, choose this method as well. And from what my single friends say, I'm not alone in this.
Are they so unaware that you can tell someone you're no longer interested, and do so in a polite, respectful way? Are some women out there so crazy that, when presented with rejection like that, they push back or beg for another chance, or just go all out batshit, and these guys don't want to deal with it? At the end of the day, all we have is our integrity, and it seems degrading to allow it to be stomped on because people can't be honest with uncomfortable information. I didn't even ask Mr. Doe why he didn't want to see me anymore. Why? Because it doesn't matter. He doesn't, and his reasons are his own. I'm not insulted by that. I'm insulted that he (and the lot of 'em) couldn't "man up" and have that conversation with my face. Or my text inbox. Or my email address. Or my online dating account.