I wanted to talk to you all about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Singleness and its implications in the world of online dating.
Online dating has created a strange culture surrounding dating and relationships. We’ve formed a very transactional view regarding our connections with others. This has led to a number of cultural phenomenons such as the slow fade, ghosting, and even gaslighting (Side note: it’s an excellent movie. I encourage you to check it out. Ingrid Bergman is phenomenal). One thing that the tangled web of online dating has shown is that we crave genuine human connection, but many of us are afraid of the implications. We have created a world in which relationships can be formed and broken by matching and just disappearing. We’ve learned not to value human connection and yet we crave it. How may times must me encounter a just casual to come to this realization? What even is a just casual? What is the point of having a relationship without the commitment or the emotional engagement? At the end of the day, no one wants to be alone and online dating has given individuals a way of taking numerous short-cuts to having someone. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find genuine connection, but it is certainly quite difficult particularly in certain age groups. I’m also not judging anyone for taking this route. It’s just not necessarily for me. All of this has come to light in the midst of me forming what many would lovingly call a “situationship”.
Unlike most situationships, mine lacks all physicality, but it involves a lot of emotional intimacy. I find myself in a friendship with the emotional intimacy typically associated with a romantic relationship. To start, yes I did meet this individual on a dating app. I’m not even sure how we matched to be honest. He told his sister that it’s due to the fact that I didn’t see how short he is…he’s probably right. Sue me! What started as casual conversation slowly turned into daily calls for hours. Suddenly, something clicked in me. Perhaps it’s the avoidant in me, but as the emotional intimacy grew I found myself pushing him away. Not necessarily as a friend, but as a potential romantic interest. I hate the word “friend zone”, but it’s exactly what I’ve done. I must admit that I do have feelings for him, but as soon as I was faced with the prospect of true intimacy I turned away from it– potentially robbing myself of something that could be good for me. I’m waiting in vain for us to reach that dreaded impasse where we must confront the obvious mess that we’ve created. I’m not certain how I’ve found myself in this position yet again. It seems to be becoming a trend. Perhaps, I’m the secondary component of casual. There’s the individual with which someone might share physical intimacy and there’s another individual with which they share emotional intimacy. It is easy for romantic relationships to dissipate especially since there is always another option that is just a swipe away. I suppose that some part of myself can acknowledge that I find solace in not having to lose the potential emotional intimacy that comes with the dissolving of a romantic relationship. I’m beginning to question whether or not my current perspective is the symptom of the disease or a cause of it. Perhaps, deep down we’ve all come to fear vulnerability and the fear of loss that can come with it. We’ve created a world in which we never have to feel it. In the age of connectedness, we’re more hidden than ever before.
I invite you to grab some popcorn, a glass of wine or three, and settle in to my date with the douche. Let’s call him Putin.
Part I: Enough Red Flags to Line an Ultramarathon
Before we begin, let me preface this story by taking full responsibility for ignoring the pre-date red flags. In my defense, he is Russian so I cut him a little slack 🤷🏽♀️.
I’ll list a few of the red flags below:
His insistence that girls and guys cannot be friends…and that if we dated I would not be able to hang out with my closest guy friends 1:1.
His very arbitrary points system. At first I thought that it was a joke about brownie points, but he’d reference it throughout multiple points in conversations because I was and I quote: “Trying out to be on his varsity team”.
His insistence that cleaning would be 60/40 with me doing the heavy lifting. Furthermore, he said that was him being generous. Ideally, it would be 100/0. He also said that cooking would be 100/0.
His insistence that if a girl is assaulted then it is her fault. She should know that every guy is potentially just trying to get in her pants…including her own father 🤢🤮.
That I should stop dating other people and cancel my plans for the next week before we even had a chance to meet.
Somehow all of his exes happened to be “crazy”
His insistence that he has everything that a woman can want and that it’s okay for him to suggest changes to her. Any changes that she would suggest would likely be small and unimportant.
His claim that he dated nothing but models and that he received acclaim for his skills as a lover
I know…I’m judging myself too. What the heck was I thinking?! I felt a responsibility to challenge his problematic ideas and a girl has got to eat 🤷🏽♀️.
Turns out the pre-date red flags were just the tip of the iceberg. Tune in next week for Part II to hear about the actual date.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know about the types of red flags that you look for before a potential date.
For my first, First Date Chronicles I wanted to share a potential tool to help make first dates a little less awkward. I don’t know if any of y’all have heard of the game We’re Not Really Strangers, but it was recommended to me by a friend and it was honestly one of my best purchases of 2020. I thought I’d pass this along to y’all.
Per the game’s website: “We’re Not Really Strangers is a purpose driven card game and movement all about empowering meaningful connections. Three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards that allow you to deepen your existing relationships and create new ones. “
I could not agree more with the above description. I decided to use it on a recent first date. I’ve played it with friends during quarantine as a means of strengthening our bonds, but I thought that it would be interesting to bring the game into the romantic sphere. There are three levels, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too deep too early. Surprisingly, my date was incredibly open to it. It invited some of the deepest conversation that I’ve ever had on a first date. I seriously recommend you trying it especially during these difficult times when we must be more deliberate in our romantic ventures. I’m happy to say that we have another date planned for next weekend, so at least it didn’t scare him off lol.
Side note: I also think that some of the questions can serve as good prompts for journaling. I believe that we all lie to ourselves in small ways which inevitably alienates us from ourselves. I want to encourage you to not be a stranger to yourself especially if you are putting the energy into getting to know someone else.
Let me know if you end up trying it out. I’d love to hear more about how the game works out for you.
Update: They’ve released a voting edition for those who are curious about that as well.