The Ambiguity of Dating in 3 Segments

Let’s get one thing out in the open:

I’m gay.

I’ve never taken a high interest in the bar scene. That’s not to say Buffalo doesn’t have a decent one; the drinks here are too cheap to warrant complaining. It’s simply never been somewhere I’ve been eager to hang out. Sure, I’ve been to bars plenty of times before, and to clubs. I’m always accompanied however by a close friend or relative. My point is that I don’t see bars as a conducive environment to meet someone.

It seems to be much easier for heterosapiens to meet organically than it does for us. Maybe I’m mistaken. But if you pick out any one person on the street in a neutral area (meaning nowhere particularly gay-friendly), it is more likely that they are straight than gay. This is because fans of the opposite sex outnumber those of the same sex. That being said, because I don’t rely on serendipity to bring mine and my future potential mate’s paths to cross, I utilize online dating as a means to meet other men. This way, I know that every profile I come across displays a man who is both interested in men and single. Right?

Wrong.

Each person involved in an open relationship should probably be aware that it’s open.

I’ve admittedly struggled in the past to accept and support the concept of an open relationship. I personally choose to practice monogamy, and for the longest time I couldn’t get my head around the idea of someone who doesn’t. However, if it works for you, and you’re happy, then by all means.

People often seem to think it is acceptable not to keep your partner in the know about how you’ve decided to open your relationship up. It isn’t. Stop it.

Case in point: I’ve come across profiles of good-looking guys who seem grounded and stable, and listed under ‘relationship status’ is ‘single.’ So I start up a conversation. Things seem to be going smoothly, until I’m abruptly informed that he is actually not single, is committed, or even married, and his boyfriend or husband doesn’t know about his still-active online dating profile. What? Why would you do that?

Again, I’ve come to back polyamory 110%. But what I can never bring myself to support is a lack of honesty among partners. It’s not cool. Being honest about intentions from the get-go is so much easier, and keeps everyone informed, all of the time. This is another point I will get to following the next paragraph.

I know I shouldn’t judge someone’s way of living if it doesn’t affect me personally. Except it does often affect me if I’m misinformed that you’re single and assume it’s true. To quote Paramore, you can’t be too careful anymore.

Intentions should probably be clear from the beginning.

Why does it seem so difficult to find someone else who shares the same hopefulness that I do to find a long-term relationship? I know it isn’t easy, but the process is excruciating. All too often I’ve seen guys listed on various dating websites and apps that I’ve used whose profiles all contain some variant of the following statement:

Just out of a LTR/newly single/newly divorced and just looking for friends. Nothing serious.

So, your boyfriend maybe broke up with you yesterday, and your immediate reaction is to create another new account on OKCupid? What that proves to me is that you’re fickle as all hell. What kinds of friends do you really expect to find on a dating service? I can’t imagine anyone ever actually wanting to be a rebound. Sidebar: those who are committed and appear on these services as ‘just looking for friends,’ you’re not fooling anyone. You’re greedy and looking for some buns to place your overcooked wiener between on the side. I’m not even sure what that means. Maybe I’m a bit jaded; I am simply following the guidelines in my copy of the Idiot’s Guide to Being Forever Alone. 

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I digress.

There is a very big disparity between what someone is open to, and what they’re looking for. Oftentimes someone who is open to a relationship but isn’t looking for anything serious will not be able to fulfill you if you’re actively pursuing a relationship.

I was recently dating a guy who I really liked. I enjoyed his company very much so. On our first date, I learned he was previously married and divorced. In his own words:

I’m really looking for good friends. Someone I can hang out with at the end of the day, and then go from there.

I was honestly a tad disappointed that we weren’t necessarily looking for the same thing, but I appreciated his honesty. I continued to date him, and at the end of our second date, he kissed me goodnight. I was surprised in the best possible way, but also confused. Is this normally something friends do? Doesn’t seem like it, I thought to myself. It made me believe that he felt the chemistry I did, and that he certainly felt something more romantic budding; something deeper than a friendship. After our third date, he left for vacation to Key West. When he returned, I saw him out one night, drunk, dancing on and kissing other guys. I felt confused and hurt. Even though we weren’t technically together and he was allowed to do whatever the hell he wanted, I felt disrespected. I have this theory that if you genuinely like someone, you wouldn’t let yourself do things like that. Even so, I didn’t want his little display to ruin something potentially good, so we had a fourth date. Although it went well, I soon realized that I think he was just biding his time and having fun with it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was beginning to fall for him, though, and he didn’t appear to be taking things between us as seriously as I was. Maybe I should’ve confronted him about how he saw our little dalliance developing, but I refrained. I backed off, and I haven’t heard much from him since. I think that’s closure in itself.

The ambiguity of the entire thing, while some may have found it exciting, I found it somewhat misleading and I had a hard time enjoying myself. That brings me to my third and final point.

Those who have no expectations are probably doing it right.

Dating is supposed to be fun, no? If you don’t have any expectations and simply enjoy the ride, it goes more smoothly, and you avoid disappointment. I know several people who are very much like petals in the wind, so to speak. They go with the flow, wherever life may carry them, and are easily excited and stimulated by new adventures and the unknown. I am not one of those people. I like to know what’s going on. I’m happiest when I know where things are going so that I don’t have to play the guessing game. The only time it’s remotely entertaining is in the form of the children’s suitable-for-all-ages game, Guess Who? If the rules of dating were similar:

What’s my date like? Does he have freckles? Glasses? Is he bald? Does he have a big nose? A hat on? 

All the while you’d be overlooking profiles that don’t fit the descriptions of the questions you’re asking. The last one remaining is your date! How fun. And it would guarantee you a date, which is a feat in itself these days, it would seem. I’ve encountered more men who are less open to going out for dinner or coffee than they are willing to invite me into their bedroom without being able to tell me my name.

But as long as they kiss me while we’re fooling around, that must mean they really like me, right? Right.

I think.

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