Day 564 – Do I Wanna Know?*

Arctic Monkeys - AM

In the last few days I’ve had cause to end a casual relationship, which has been on and off for the past couple of months. I liked this man and I enjoyed his company but it just wasn’t clicking for me and so I called him and told him I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. He said “okay, well you can’t help how you feel” and that was it. It was maybe a three minute call if that.

We weren’t in a serious relationship and it had only been more “on than off” very recently. But I have been wondering, why didn’t he want to know why? Because I did have my reasons.

When I broke up with Guitar Man I didn’t tell him the real reasons for my ending it. I just told him it wasn’t him, it was me, and that it wasn’t a great time for me. I really regretted this and I wrote him a long letter outlining all of the things he did which prompted me to end our relationship (I didn’t send it of course). I felt a lot better after this.

In these modern times of internet dating, people move very quickly from potential partner to potential partner. If one date doesn’t go well, there’s always a multitude of other prospects on any one of the various dating sites, who may fit your criteria. This works well for me. I’m a single parent in my 40’s working in a female dominated industry, it’s the only way I meet single men. But it also means that people don’t tend to explain themselves. They just say “next”.

Recently, a blog post about a post first date brush off went viral. What should have been a short text saying “don’t really think things would work out between us. Nice to meet you, all the best” was actually a long and nasty letter (disguised as being friendly) from a man who stated that the woman he went out with possessed such an utterly repulsive body that he would never been able to have sex with her. If you’ve not seen it, check it out here. It was repulsive and unnecessary. The text message, whilst vague, would still have been true and yes, there may have been some disappointment but no really lasting damage done. I read the comments attached to the and one man said “but what am I supposed to do when women plead for a reason why there’s no second date”? Give me strength. I suspect this chap would fit in very well over at Nice Guys of OK Cupid.

But I digress. Do I want to know why someone doesn’t want to see me again?

In a word, yes. But also no. If it’s a first or second date, then a text brush off as above, is enough for me. Bit of a let down but okay. Sometimes people don’t click, no matter how much it seems like they should. But if we’ve been out a few times, and there really was something I did which was very off putting then I want to know, so I don’t do it again! It’s a very fine line of course. If it was because he didn’t like my lipstick, well, I don’t need to know that. If he found my feminist leanings not to his liking, then I know that I don’t want to see him again anyway.

I’ve stopped seeing people for various reasons, but since I only date men, and only one of them has ever asked why, I fear that many men out there are going about their business thinking their dating behaviour is just fine when it most certainly is not!

For example, I’ve ended things a few dates in for extremely rude behaviour to wait staff, racist and/or misogynistic comments, descriptions of all ex-partners as “crazy” and so on. Also questionable personal hygiene.

I hate the fade-away. Just tell me you’re not interested and we can both move on. But if you think I just talked way too much and you couldn’t get a word in (I am guilty of this) please let me know. If you were put off by me speaking with my mouth full (I try not to do this), then tell me. If you think I drink too much (I don’t, I’m the classic two-pot screamer) then tell me. I don’t want to go on date after date making the same mistakes.

Surely the idea is that we learn from our experiences and grow into better people because of this? I have really thought about my dating behaviour (and driven many a friend insane with my constant questions) and I try to conduct myself in the same sort of way I wish to be treated. I don’t tell someone I want to see them again when I don’t. I don’t do the fade-away. It’s uncomfortable yes, but so what? Taking the easy way out means someone else is left disillusioned and confused. Doesn’t make you a very nice person, does it?

But what about you internet daters? What do you prefer? A reason or a fade-away? Can you walk away without communicating and feel perfectly fine about it or do you feel like a jerk? Do tell. Because I really do want to know.

*Title of this post and image borrowed from Arctic Monkeys

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4 thoughts on “Day 564 – Do I Wanna Know?*

  1. Personally I am happy just to have the text message saying thanks but no thanks. Although sometimes I do think on some level I’d like to know why, the thing is that the reasons people don’t like us are about them, not us, and vice versa. So the guy with the offensive right wing views will find someone who shares those views, the girl who is so enthusiastic about what she’s talking about that she ends up talking with her mouth full will meet someone who thought that was cute etc etc. It’s that thing about what other people think of us is none of our business. I think that getting lots of information about why people weren’t interested would ultimately be confusing, as for every date on which someone thought you talked too much or didn’t like your lipstick there will be another one who did. We can only ever be ourselves – the best version of ourselves in that moment, and I reckon we just have to hope that someone comes along who likes us at the stage we are at now – even with dodgy lipstick and questionable views

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  2. See I don’t really agree. If you’re being kind of an arsehole but you don’t realise it, and then you’re asking your friends, what is it? Is it me? Then to be honest, I do want to know. It’s not so much about getting lots of information, just tweaking here and there. My examples for me weren’t great I know but I was being extra kind about myself 🙂

    My point was, the person who drinks too much on a date, well maybe they should know. The person who is consistently rude to wait staff, again, maybe they should know. I’m still optimistic enough to think that if the world is going to become a better place then people should be open to some self-reflection and hopefully self improvement. It’s all relative though, like I said. After the first date, a short and generic no thank you is more than enough. A girls got to be able to get out there again right?

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  3. My thoughts are … if only had one or two dates, then saying a respectful goodbye via a simple txt is AOK, as long as no hankipanky has been had. There’s no need to offer an explanation. Sure, one could be given if asked. However if there’s been some physical intimacy (like kissing), then I reckon it’s reasonable to offer an explanation – as long as it’s self reflective and none-judgemental of the other. I’m drawing this distinction because I see such intimacy as an ‘act of connection’ – which comes with some responsibilities. Consequently some respectful explanation is appropriate is something physical has been shared.

    This dating malarkey is about finding a meaningful connection with someone to grow love with (although I appreciate that not all will have this motive in mind). When we first meet, we’re exploring the possibility of a fit. If there’s ‘no fit’, we can simply move on and take our own learnings with us.

    Unless a connection has been established, giving unrequested feedback might be most about our own need to ‘give feedback’, rather than help the other. After all, the other person hasn’t sought contact to ‘look for help’ – even though they may benefit from receiving some!

    As we muddle through this dating-world malarkey, we can come across some lovely surprises along the way when giving feedback can be readily done. If a friendship has been formed then sharing feedback then has a nice context. But, like finding a partner, discovering friendship can take time too and initial forming might be hindered if we jump into feedback mode too soon.

    But then again, I’m sure I have no idea! Maybe there’s no right and wrong with any of this – only the meanings we choose to empower. We seem to be geared to – make sense of the events we experience. Maybe there’s a way to disengage from ‘making meaning’ and simply enjoy meeting new people – anything above this can then be a nice surprise.

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    • I think you and I are kind of on a similar track (also thanks for giving the male perspective, it’s great getting your comments). I don’t think giving unsolicited feedback is necessary and in my most recent situation, he clearly didn’t want any. But I do think if there’s something specific, it can feed into my version of the camp site rule “leave it in better condition than you found it”. I told someone once that his behaviour was really controlling, he was genuinely shocked. He felt he was behaving in a helpful way. He really wasn’t, he was being pushy and overbearing. He later said it had never occurred to him and that he would reconsider his behaviour in future. That’s the sort of thing I mean when I talk about feedback. Dating is hard. I would still like to know why a chap I met a few months ago, who I really liked and who I went out with twice, just disappeared into the ether. I will obviously never know but I wish he’d just had the decency to tell me no thank you.

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