Saturday, June 18, 2016

How I paid for my date

A few nights ago I went on a date. It was my first week back at work, I've been tired all the time, but I've also been bored and lonely. The three weeks of recovery from surgery were spent primarily lying in bed watching "Mad Men." Which was an excellent choice, since it has relatively few laughs and laughing hurt the first two weeks. But I was by myself, mulling over my choice to discard yet another friend I was sick of and my recent diagnosis as a sex addict.

It's an accurate diagnosis. The process I went through to hook up with a cub--posting a clever ad on craigslist, weeding through the responses, meeting up and banging, then feeling ashamed--is very similar to the stages of copping and using drugs. It's a huge distraction from loneliness and frustration, because it takes up so much time. (This article explains the cycle very well.) So phone sex and other addictive unhealthy non-relationship-building sexual activity was out.

Going back to work was good, albeit exhausting. Going to volunteer meetings (even during my medical leave) was also good. But trying to date is necessary. If I want to have a healthy relationship, I need to practice appropriate dating behavior.

So I went out with a guy. He wasn't very attractive in his photos. I thought that would be an excellent way to keep my expectations and hopes low, and force me get to know him as a person.

Except he wasn't interested in getting to know me. Maybe I'm still too swollen after abdominal surgery, but the second he saw me, his face settled into lines of resentment and disappointment. He was too polite to just walk away, but it was clear he wanted to.

I thought if I could get him talking, he'd relax and enjoy the date more. He might have, but I didn't. I asked him as many appropriate questions I could think of--about his job, his children, his car, his family, his politics--and he was animated and eager to discuss them. But when he was finished, he was finished. His face resettled into resentment. I had to come up with another topic.

He didn't ask me a single question about myself.

He also didn't ask me to suggest a restaurant until we were in the car and had driven past the places I usually like to go. Why not ask me before picking me up, or actually make plans ahead of time, like a gentleman? Yes, we're in my neighborhood, but I don't know what you're willing to spend or what kind of food you like. And I really don't think well when I'm put on the spot. I'm the least spontaneous person you'll ever meet.

But mainly, the date was painful because the responsibility for conversation rested solely on me. A few times I thought, "I'll wait a few seconds and he'll say something." He's apparently a champion at conversational chicken, because if I didn't speak, he didn't speak. This happened to me before when I had coffee with a guy I suspect has Asperger's--he could speak at length on a topic he was interested in, but he couldn't start a topic; it had to be suggested. That was another exhausting date.

It's a shame he was so disappointed in me, but I was annoyed that he expressed zero curiosity. Why even go out at all? I would have rather he stood me up. Mediocre chicken teriyaki--and being expected to try his sake and sushi, even though I hate both--was so not worth it. Even the green tea ice cream was a chore.

Maybe I should forget about spending time with people outside work and volunteer activities. (At this point I volunteer with three organizations and could potentially add a few more.) I'm no good at keeping friends, I'm obviously shit at romance. Maybe I should just be a hermit, and come out of my cave just to work and volunteer. Because I'm no good at organizing fun outings, and I don't know how to make new friends.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

4 comments:

  1. Whenever I went out on a first date, even if it seemed very clear almost right away that we weren't going to click, I always settled in and tried to enjoy a nice evening with another person, even if it wasn't going to lead to something romantic. What this guy did show a major flaw in character and his approach to life, and makes it doubtful he'll click with anyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly helps explain why he's divorced. If you can't make the best of things, you and the people around you are going to be unhappy a lot of the time.

      Delete
  2. I am terribly sorry for your experience, Ayelet....for there is nothing more painful than rejection. Speaking first hand, I have learned to 'reverse' the conversation. Hence, YOU are NOT the problem. He has denied himself the opportunity to meet someone who clearly is articulate, audacious, kind, mysterious and funny (based on your published works). Stay the course, Ayelet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) It's funny because I was really not attracted to him physically, and not that interested in the rest of him. Obviously his loss.

      Delete