Oh dating. What an exciting and arduous and uplifting and depressing experience it is. There are so many ups and downs and missed cues and long silences and unanswered text messages and a lot of other work that goes into the process of finding someone to spend your time with. It’s exhausting. I don’t need to tell you. You know.
Communication is key in dating both with words and actions. In my experience, a chap who splits the bill down to the last cent on the first date is usually not interested. I know this sounds sexist but there it is. If there’s no light touching or flirting and no kiss at the end of the night, this too usually signals disinterest. What else could it possibly mean?
So if follow up dates aren’t made and contact isn’t maintained and if there have been no overt statements along the lines of “I really like you. I want to see you again. I am wondering what it might be like to kiss you, oh and are you free next Thursday?” then I feel it’s safe to assume that the other person isn’t interested. Or is it?
Last night I was out on a second date with someone who I really like (who I am pretty sure doesn’t feel the same about me, but more of that later). I chose the local pub for us to meet up and because the universe must have been drunk, sitting right behind us was a man who I had seen several times but who never once indicated he was interested in anything other than friendship. In fact, I had been planning to meet him for lunch earlier in the day but he never contacted me and so I thought oh well, that’s that then.
I wouldn’t have even known he was there, but he texted me saying “behind you…”.
I went over to say hi for five minutes – how could I not – but my date came back to our table and I then felt compelled to explain to him who I had been speaking to and what had just happened. I was mortified. Not least of all because for a large chunk of the evening my date was pretty much able to look right at this other guy. He eventually, mercifully, left and my date and I went on to enjoy our evening.
Today I texted the first chap. He was not happy. He told me he hadn’t realised we were dating other people and that I clearly wasn’t interested in him if I was seeing someone else.
What I don’t understand about any of this is, how on earth was I supposed to know the first guy was interested? He goes days without contacting me. He had never so much as brushed up against my arm. We met up no less than five times during which he never tried to kiss me or even indicate that he wanted to. He never complimented me and even when I said to him “it was really nice to see you” he didn’t respond in kind.
I had a discussion along these lines with second date guy. We both agreed that on line dating in your 40’s is tough and that it is crucial to clearly communicate. We both said the “fade away” is an awful way of showing your disinterest and that even though it’s not pleasant, we would both prefer someone just say “it’s not you, it’s me, I don’t think we should see each other again” or similar.
So the end of the evening came about. He walked me to my car. It was freezing and so it wasn’t really conducive to end of night “will he or won’t he kiss me” banter. But I was really hoping he would kiss me. And I was really hoping he would say either way whether he was interested in seeing me again or not. Especially given our earlier conversation.
Instead he just pressed his cheek briefly against mine and said “I’ll give you a call” and then he walked away. I haven’t heard from him since. So he’s not interested, right?
Dating is hell. If you need me, I will be curled up in a corner eating sweet and salty popcorn and muttering quietly to myself.