My Tinder Adventure
“You are a Dirtbag” I wrote.
“You have been playing games since the day we met.”
“Actually, it’s a new relationship, but whatever.”
“Were you single 2 weeks ago when you got back from your trip and texted me at 5am?”
“…” he started to type something and then the lines disappeared again.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
I was officially done with this jackass.
In the grand scheme of things “Pretty Boy” hadn’t done that much wrong, lately. We had dated this summer, he’d had a meltdown about moving too quickly one Saturday night in October (a surprise to me at the time, as I’d had a date lined up with Chicago guy for the next evening and had been operating under the assumption that we were non-exclusive).
I had mishandled the situation and he pulled away for a bit. We had been intermittently texting since then but not seeing each-other. So my outburst didn’t have to do with how intense our relationship was, or how strong my feelings were for him. It had to do with lying. I HATE men who lie to women.
See sometime right around my birthday, Pretty Boy had gotten back into town after 2 months of travel and started texting me, liking my pictures on Instagram, liking my Facebook posts, and generally doing the “I’m interested again” social media dance. But it turns out he wasn’t single, he was seeing someone exclusively. Which he didn’t tell me, until I flat-out asked him what was up, and if he wanted to see me. That (along with a few other things) made me feel completely misled. As my mother says “If they make you believe something, when they know in their heart that it’s not going to happen, that’s lying.” (Did I mention I hate men who lie to women? I LOATHE them.)
See here is the thing, while Pretty Boy was doing a “will we won’t we” text-message flirtation, Chicago Guy was calling me to tell me that he had just started seeing someone, but they weren’t exclusive, and he was in town and would I be interested in some stress relief. (UMMM Yes. Always. Why does he even ask at this point? If we are both non-exclusive, I’m interested). And the thing I like about this, is that Chicago Guy is honest. He is always honest. Sometimes to a fault, but, I have no questions about what his intentions are, or if he’s going to call, or if he wants to date me. He doesn’t, he wants to come over for some great, multiple position, bed-thumping sex and then go away and do whatever it is actors do out on the road.
There was one point in time when I briefly wondered if Chicago Guy had lied to me about being single when we had previously slept together. A mutual friend had told me that he was with a girl, and when I had done the math in my head, I realized that it was the same week he had been in NYC doing a concert, and well… me. He had been in my bed 3 of the 5 nights he was in town. When my friend told me what she thought was going on, I had mentally freaked out about it, and then calmed myself down and asked him later in the day :
“Umm were you in a relationship the time we were together in August?”
“No! I wouldn’t do that to you!” he had exclaimed.
“I mean, I would just tell you if I was dating someone. Like I did last time I was here.”
At that point I exhaled, “Ok, good. I feel like we are always honest with each other and I really like that about us.”
He nodded “Yes, I don’t…I wouldn’t do that. I’d just tell you what was going on.” And I believed him, because that’s what he normally does.
See, people have patterns of behavior. Sometimes you get a one-off where someone does something really wild and crazy, but normally, if they have done it more than 2 or 3 times, they will do it again, and again, and again. Even I do this.
I have a terrible habit of saying “yes, sure” when someone who I know asks me out, even if I’m not sure the answer is actually a yes. In part, that’s because I like going out on dates. In part it’s because sometimes it’s easier to say “yes” and then never be available than it is to say “no”. Sometimes it’s because just don’t want to hurt a guy’s feelings. But “sure” is rarely a yes. (Yes is “Yes”. No is “No”. Sure is “ehhhhh maaaayyyybe?”)
Most recently a guy asked me out at work. And I said “yes sure” because he’s a really nice guy. But I personally have never felt comfortable dating someone I work with. (My industry is 80% male and a woman already has a hard enough time negotiating work-life without adding a sexual element to it. Plus, as one of 4 women in my department, it would be news within a min.) So later I came back and explained to him that I wasn’t comfortable dating someone I work with. He was really nice about it, because he’s a really nice guy. I still felt bad though. If I wanted to be honorable in the way I deal with the people I interact with, that probably should have happened the day he asked me out, not 3 weeks later.
I know that people are dishonest for many reasons. Pretty Boy actually liked me at some point, he probably liked the attention and maybe was thinking that if it didn’t work out with his new squeeze, sometime in the future he might still want to see me, (this is called putting someone on the back burner). I wasn’t straightforward with my co-worker because I knew he was really nice and I didn’t know how to explain my discomfort with Showmances (romances that take place during a Theater or TV show). There is a range of reasons both good and bad for why someone might not be upfront about what is going on with them. But the point of fact is that when a potential lover is upfront about what they want, or are able to give, everyone feels safer and more taken care of in that moment. Even when Chicago Guy or I haven’t been available to one another recently, it feels nice to know that I can trust him to be straight with me.
So, going forward I’m going to try to say “sure” less and be more straightforward about my interest. When I first had the “I don’t think we are ever going to seriously date because distance, kids, timelines, different places in life etc.” conversation with Chicago Guy, it made me a bit nervous, but it’s been really refreshing to have a man around who is truthful with me and to be honest with him. I always let him know if I’m seeing someone (seriously or not) and he does the same for me. We currently aren’t seeing each other as more than friends, and I’d love to find a guy in my city who can express himself that clearly. Plus, I’m hoping to filter out the Pretty Boys who don’t know how to be honest with me.