I'm still not ready to go back to on-line dating. If or when I do, I won't be focused on it. Meeting guys socially works about a billion times better for me. As proof of that, I've made nearly 20 REAL friends in the last year, which is more than I made in all the years since college combined.
The problem with meeting guys socially is figuring out whether we have a mutual, more-than-friends interest in each other. A few guys have really confused me, leaving me uncertain as to what my next step should be.
My instinctive strategy has been to take no chances. I got badly burned by Dean, my one boyfriend since coming out, because I hit on him too quickly. He abruptly ended what I thought was a great relationship after four months because he wasn't attracted to me. That break-up happened 20 months ago and I still haven't recovered from the shock and pain of his rejection. I never want to put myself in that situation again.
Another reason I've held back with questionable guys is because they're questionable in the first place. If I'm unsure about them, isn't that a clear indication that we shouldn't date? Aren't sustainable attractions powerful? Don't they develop naturally because of their own momentum?
I used to be convinced that a "wait-til-it-happens" strategy was the right one, but now I'm not sure. I had a recent epiphany where I realized how important flirting can be. Because I don't flirt, do I come off as being too aloof? Is that why I get confusing signals? But then I ask myself, "Why would I flirt with guys who are supposed to be friends?"
Is there anyone else out there who finds crossing the more-than-friends barrier extremely confusing???
My original plan for this post was to write about three different men I've met socially who, because of their behavior, have made me wonder if they're interested in me. Two of them explicitly said they wanted to be platonic friends...but then in subsequent interactions they've done things that might indicate otherwise. I've been so confused!
Recent events, however, have caused me to change this post. Instead of writing about three guys, I'm only going to write about one, Shane:
The first time I read Shane's on-line profile was well over a year ago. In addition to being age-appropriate, a formerly married guy with kids, local and attractive, he said his best quality was his loyalty. After getting dumped by both Gabbie and Dean, "loyalty" is now a major turn-on for me.
He also said he was into monogamy, which really cemented him in my mind as someone I had to meet. The problem? He was "currently in a great relationship but always looking to meet new friends." Bah!!
Although he was coupled, I still seriously thought about contacting him. Then I got to thinking...what if our meeting went so well that I developed a big crush on him? That would be a problem.
Ultimately I decided not to message him because the chances for a good outcome seemed slim. We'd have to click in a mutually platonic way, and given how much I already felt attracted to him, that didn't seem likely.
Well, a few weeks ago, Shane joined an on-line social group that I happened to belong to. As soon as I saw him there, I logged into the dating site to see if he was single - and he was. Awesome. Even better, on the social group's site he said he intended to come to the next meeting. I couldn't have asked for a more relaxed way to meet him - so much better than the usual on-line dating BS.
It turned out that Shane did not attend the meeting. I went home very disappointed, and even worse, the next opportunity to meet him wouldn't be for another two months.
As much as I tried to be patient, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Finally, after a long internal debate, I decided to email him. I wanted to be as low-key about meeting as possible, so instead of asking for a date, I invited him to meet other formerly married men at a local mixer. His reply was fast and enthusiastic, but unfortunately, he couldn't go. Instead he suggested that we meet for coffee. I took him up on that offer immediately.
We ended up meeting for dinner five days later. I, of course, thought of it as a date. He, I assume, thought of it as meeting a potential local friend. It was torture waiting all week for that date. The whole time I couldn't concentrate on anything else.
I'm happy to report that the dinner went well. We talked for two-and-a-half hours and I felt like there was genuine, mutual chemistry. The highlight of the meal was when he described his 'type' as "skinny and bookish, under the age of 50."
As he said that, he didn't seem to realize that I fit that exact description. It wasn't a flirtatious comment, it was a statement of fact, and hearing it made my hopes really soar. No man has EVER described their type as anything close to me. Most age-appropriate guys (those over 40) like beefy, hairy men, not twerps like me. For anyone to say skinny was appealing was a minor miracle - to hear Shane say it was un-fucking-believable.
The next day I emailed him to say "thanks for dinner" and "I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you." He replied very quickly and said we should have lunch sometime soon. I said that would be awesome. Then, just two days later he texted me at 10:50am and asked if I was available for lunch at 12:15. You bet I was available! Lunch went well too.
The next day I emailed him again and told him about a social event I planned to attend the following night. Would he like to come? He said he would. It was a 40 minute trip each way so I offered to drive him. He took me up on that offer.
The night went well, especially the ride home. He brought up the subject of open relationships and how every gay couple he knew had one. I said I wasn't surprised, but that it wasn't for me. He said he felt the same way. As we talked more about it, I felt like we really understood and appreciated each other in a deeper, more connected way.
After that highlight, saying goodbye was a small disappointment. There was no hug and no friendly pat or squeeze on my arm. Instead he simply jumped out of the car, said, "Thanks for driving - have a good night!" and walked away. It felt very platonic.
"Oh well," I thought, "I shouldn't make too much of it."
So I didn't... until the next day... when I couldn't think of anything else. Is he interested? Is he not? I really had no idea. Then, at about 2pm, the door to my office opened AND THERE HE WAS.
"I have just two minutes, and I happened to be nearby, so I thought I'd say hi."
He did only stay for two minutes, and we didn't talk about anything interesting, but right after he left I did a big fist pump and said excitedly to myself, "HE'S INTERESTED!" No one stops by unexpectedly like that, especially when they just saw you the night before.
That was three days ago. We've traded a number of texts and emails since then, but I have to say, the vibe in them has felt rather platonic. And... the more I think about every positive thing he's said, the more I wonder if I'm hearing what I want to hear. Looked at objectively, nothing he's said has unambiguously indicated he has any romantic interest in me. So, I remain very confused.
|Shane's type: RJ Mitte|
I like Shane as a person so much that I really don't want to wreck our developing friendship by hitting on him. I've got to have a clear sign that he's interested in me. I misunderstood the depth of Dean's interest in me - and I paid for it dearly.
I also keep coming back to the idea that if we're meant to be together, that will happen naturally and inevitably. I don't need to be in a rush. I just need to be watchful and patient.
If only it was that easy...