Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dodged an inflexible bullet

Jeff called late last night. After describing the fire he was putting out at work and asking me how my day had gone, he had a question for me.

"I read a forum post of yours," he said, "and it made me think."

"Have you read all my posts?" I asked. "I'm a good writer and very opinionated, so when I'm inclined to write, it's pretty quick and easy. I think I've posted more than 100."

"Not all of them, but the one about dating more than one person..." he said. "Do you remember it?"

These are the posts I've written on the topic -- back in 2006, for the record:

From the comments submitted it seems like there are plenty of women and men on this site who aren't treating others with respect and decency; no one's making excuses for women who "need work on their middot." What about the men who begin a correspondence and then abruptly drop it, or who correspond until they get the photo password and then fall silent?

It cuts both ways. There are probably men on here playing the field and dating more than one woman at once; who are we to tell another person how to conduct their dating life, as long as they're not leading on someone they're not interested in and not being rude to the people they're involved with?

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How does dating one person at a time imbue the process with holiness? As long as you treat each person with respect and abide by hilchot bein adam l'chaveiro, what is inherently traif about dating more than one person at once? If you set out on a date thinking "If this is the one, please make it work out," you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself and on the other person. You can't rush the development of a relationship. Besides, what if the person you're beginning to date needs a lot of space -- should you put your life on hold and wait for him or her to get back to you?

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Trust me, plenty of men take one look at you on the first date and then decide you're not for them -- it's happened to me more than once. As for dating more than one person simultaneously -- it's a personal choice. I feel that I committed to my last relationship too soon and missed out on what might have been better opportunities. This time around, I'm taking my time and really getting to know people before I decide to focus on one relationship.

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I'm very upfront with the people I date. Of course I would tell someone if he asked whether I was seeing other people -- and recently I have! I met a guy who was living in another state but was moving back to my locality; we exchanged many e-mails and phone calls. During our last phone call, he asked if I were seeing other guys. I told him I was, but fortunately for him, nothing was working out ;) He laughed and said, "Can't wait until I'm in the same city as you!"

I've been seeing several guys over the past few weeks. And many of them take their time getting back to me to make second- or third-date plans. Am I supposed to sit at home waiting for a guy to get his act together? I don't have that kind of time! Until a guy is ready to spend a lot of time dating me, I'm going to see other guys. I'll be honest about it, but I'm not taking myself off the market for a guy I only see once a week.

"I've always been a... serial dater, I guess," he said. "I just focus on one person at a time."

I don't think there's anything inherently unreasonable in anything I wrote. First he's upset because he thinks I'm trying to rush things. Now he's upset because I'm taking them slow? There's no pleasing this man.

"Well, the way I see it," I said slowly, measuring each word, "during the first few dates, you're not really sure where things are going to go. And in the past, I've missed out on other opportunities because I told someone I was busy, and then after I wasn't, I'd let him know I was free and never hear back."

He wasn't really satisfied with that answer, but just made some noncommittal response.

"There's an easy way around this," I said.

"What?" he asked.

"You and I can go out 3 or 4 more times, and that will be that," I said lightly.

He laughed. "That's funny," he said, "that's really funny." But he didn't ask me out again or reschedule the date he broke.

Between his obsession with the gym and his quick fixation on things he perceives as problems, I'm starting to think Jeff is about as flexible as an iron girder. And you know what? I don't need that. On our first date he wanted to order a bottle of wine, not just two glasses. I gave in, got flirty, and he got scared, so I had to mollify him. Then he cancels a date at the last minute -- on a day when I literally could have had another date with another man -- and even though he apologizes, he proceeds to interrogate me on my dating practices and philosophy, which he apparently just can't cope with.

Enough is enough. Yes, he's cute, and smart, and funny, and I feel comfortable with him and talking to him is easy. But he's also rigid and stubborn. He has to have things his way all the time. It takes two people to make a divorce, and I'm starting to think he's not as blameless as he cast himself. And I don't need to be with a stubborn gym rat who can't handle me having opinions that differ from his.

I have a feeling -- after years of dating, you develop instincts for how people are going to react -- that he'll either email or call me soon to say he's no longer interested in me. And I'll wish him well and hang up relieved. A little sad, a little frustrated. But mainly relieved.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, your dating strategy is 100% valid and reasonable. Objectively.

    ReplyDelete