Online Dating, Ghosting and Benching

I’ve learned a few things over the past few weeks when it comes to dating. I’ve learned that I am not alone in being completely confuffled and bemused by men who seem to be so keen on you but then “ghost” you. I’ve learned how to recognize when I’m being “benched” and I think I have finally learned, and accepted, that if a guy does either of those things, that is a reflection on him, not on me.

I recently put myself out there, and put it all on the line by asking someone I had a genuine interest in if there was room for me on his very full plate, “because I am really attracted to you” I said. “I am just not sure it’s mutual?” That was over a week ago, with no response. That, my non-dating friends, is called “ghosting”. Disappeared, like a ghost.

I then came to read an article about someone who had been “benched” by the guy she thought she was seeing, only to realise that he never made an effort to contact her or make plans with her and if he did it was last minute. This is called benching – aka, suit up, get ready to play, but you’re only getting called into the game if one of the other, better players, gets injured. Apparently “everyone” does it. I’m not sure I have. I have called other players into the game when one of my main players or stars have not shown up. Is that the same thing? Perhaps.

Either way, I have learned that men people in the dating game have very little regard for the person they are seeing or have been talking to. I gave my ghost an out. I acknowledged how full his plate was, and wondered if there was room for me. A simple, “I’m really sorry, you’re right, my plate is very full and this is all a bit too hard at the moment” would have sufficed.

Out of ALL the guys I’ve dated in the last 12 months, and I have been on so. many. dates. I have had TWO be straight up honest with me. I accidentally told one of them I was looking for someone tall and then rattled off a host of other attributes before remembering the guy I was sitting next to was a couple of centimeters shorter than me. He asked me if his height was an issue for me and didn’t set me on fire when I told him that I do have an issue dating shorter guys – will save that for the next post. And recently a guy I had a 4.5 hour dinner with went home and messaged me telling me it felt more like a friendship but best of luck in my search. While I wish he’d have just said that 2 hours into our date, I was grateful for his honesty.

So I have vowed to be honest with everyone I date going forwards. It feels really uncomfortable and cruel to tell someone you “weren’t really feeling it” or don’t find them physically attractive, not that it has to come out that way, but it is the fairer thing to do in the end. I would rather not waste time and emotions on someone who is obviously not feeling the same way about me as I am about them.

Bet all you married folk are glad you’re not navigating this game anymore. But those of you who are single – how do you let people down gently? Do you ghost or bench people? I’m also curious to see if this happens mostly to women or if women are as guilty of it as men are.

It’s Becoming A Habit

At first having the freedom and newfound liberation to go and sleep with strangers when I wanted to, if I wanted to, was kind of thrilling. But it has become a bit of a habit, and now it just makes me feel awful about myself. Especially when I learn more about the One Night Stand and they seem like guys I’d like to have something more than a ONS with. Although I only find this out through cyber stalking. And you know, they clearly don’t feel the same. None of them have exactly tracked me down the next day to ask me on a date. And why would they when they already got what they wanted?

It takes a pretty strong, confident and noncommittal person to have a one night stand. My pattern is simple. I drink to much. A cute guy buys me some drinks. We flirt. We kiss, and I am his. I am that easy. It all feels wonderful at the time, but the next morning my flight instinct kicks in and I am gone before they awake. I really am the ideal ONS. No strings attached.

But there are strings attached. To me. To my emotional state of mind, which quite frankly has been pretty fragile the second half of this year. I thought this was supposed to get easier? Time was supposed to heal?

The solution seems simple. Don’t go out. Don’t get drunk. Don’t kiss cute boys. Any or all of those would be a good start. But then I sit home, alone, lonely, and end up feeling crap about myself anyway. Surely the right solution is to just figure out how to not get emotionally attached to a ONS. But is doing that really that easy? What do you think?

 

Not What I Thought

It’s been 12 months since my husband and I separated. And I can absolutely say, this is not what I thought it would be.

I thought that leaving a marriage I didn’t want to be in would automatically free me from all the weight I had been carrying around for years, knowing I wasn’t happy. I thought it would instantaneously make me happy. I thought being with someone I didn’t want to be with was keeping me from finding the one I was supposed to be with. I thought all my problems would be over once I finally got up the courage to walk.

Truth is, your problems and worries just change slightly. Instead of worrying that in 10 years time I’ll have wished I had left 10 years ago, I now worry that I will never find someone else. Instead of worrying about when we’ll be able to own a house, I worry about if I am going to be able to pay all the bills. Instead of worrying about my own sadness, depression, ability to cope with what I am going through, I now worry about my son’s sadness, depression, ability to cope with what I have put him through.

There are times I crave being on my own. There are times I am on my own and the loneliness is crushing.

My moods are generally dictated by the status of communication with whatever guy I am chatting to/seeing/hoping to hear from this week. To the point where I am so distracted at work I’ve had issues with my performance and my ability to bite my tongue and be diplomatic.

All of this had been building up and spiraled into a firey crash a couple of weeks ago, which led to my seeing a psychologist last week. We talked about boundaries, self worth, self discovery, the ability to change the way I think about things and working on the ability to think before speaking. And the biggest of all, ACCEPTANCE. Accepting what has happened, where I am now and accepting that the future will hold what the future will hold.

Life is like the tides, it ebbs and flows. Now to figure out how to ride the waves without having too big a crash.

 

 

We’ll Always Have Pearl Jam. And Herpes.

I remember when one of my best friends was diagnosed with Herpes, in my head I thought, “Well that’s what happens when you sleep around!” Boy how those words have come back to bite me in the ass, almost literally.

Contrary to what educators would have us believe, safe sex isn’t always enough to protect you from disease or transmission of sex-related infections. I know this, because last week my poor doctor had to deliver the news that I suspected…I have the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. That is the herpes that normally appears on your face in the form of a cold sore.Except my sores won’t appear in the facial region. They’ll appear in the genital region.

I can’t tell you how uncomfortable the last two+ weeks have been. To walk, to sit, to use the restroom…the only thing that came close to this kind of discomfort was the first two weeks post-child birth. Today, the pain started spreading down my left leg into the nerves in my thigh and just below my butt cheek – the kind of pain that made that whole area sensitive to even touch.

Dr Google tells me this is somewhat normal, and is similar to the sensation people with shingles have. The medication is the same treatment also. In my research, I came to learn that Herpes is the most commonly transmitted STD and if I am lucky, this initial outbreak will be the worst, and future outbreaks will be few and far between. I also came to learn that oral sex is not always “safe” and that someone with a cold sore or even a developing cold sore, can spread HSV1 to their partner.

Initially I was absolutely devastated and distraught. I thought I was getting what I deserved for sleeping around. What I remembered as a fun and intimate night of enjoying each other, and singing along badly to all the Pearl Jam classics, turned out to have a much bigger impact than I thought at the time. The truth is, the guy who gave me this may not have even known he was infected or at risk of sharing this virus. Even couples who have been married for years can give this to each other unknowingly.

The stigma associated with the disease is, supposedly, much worse than the disease itself, although after the last two weeks I am not sure about that. For me, the hard part now is having to have this discussion with future partners and dealing with the potential rejection because of it. For someone who was just starting to gain her confidence and sexuality again after a really long time of insecurity, this has absolutely knocked me for six. But, like I have every other situation I’ve faced in the last 12 months, I will learn to live and deal with this and it is Just Another Bend In The Road.