Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I’ve been single for several years. I blame my busy work schedule and the fact that I just don’t go out much. I’ve always been shy. I have “met” lots of guys on different dating apps but it’s rare we move on past the messaging. I felt different about “Chris,” because it seemed like we had a lot in common, and he genuinely seemed interested in meeting someone. We started off with messages and then we traded numbers and texted and finally one night he asked me to meet for drinks. It was the first time a guy I “met” online actually proposed a real date. I had an amazing time — I felt like we hit it off right away, and he actually did look like his photos. As we said good night in the parking lot, he leaned in and kissed me. It was amazing. We kissed for a few minutes before finally we parted, agreed it was late, but he said he couldn’t wait to see me again soon.
I waited a day and didn’t hear anything so at the advice of (more experienced) friends, I messaged him that I had a really good time. He wrote back that he did too. I saw this as a good sign, and couldn’t wait to see him again. But then nothing happened. I didn’t hear from him. As the weekend approached, I sent a “How’s your week going” text. He didn’t reply for hours and when he did, all it said was, “Pretty good, hope yours is good” except he didn’t even write “good,” he used a thumbs-up emoji.
Yesterday a friend told me she matched with him on Tinder, and that was the nail in the coffin, I guess. Until then, I was holding out hope that he felt as excited as I did by that first meeting, but this past week, was maybe just busy. With that, I realized I am really not going to hear from him again. I’m now looking back wondering what I did wrong and why he behaved the way he did. Why did he kiss me? Why did he say he wanted to see me again if he didn’t? I feel so clueless. Help?
First of all, don’t be alarmed by the fact that Chris was the first guy to propose an actual date. A lot of folks who participate in “online dating” should more appropriately call it “online messaging,” “online connecting” or frankly, “online finding someone to talk to me and make me feel better about myself and less lonely overall and give me a much-needed ego boost.” I had one girlfriend who seemed to constantly be “matching” with different guys; she had conversations going on with many of them. I use the word “conversation” so loosely, as the dialogue was mostly vapid exchanges of sexually charged flattery and ramped-up innuendo-laden flirtations about various enthralling physical possibilities that exist if they met IRL.
There are a lot of reasons people are on social dating apps, peruse and pursue connections, but don’t actually date. People are lonely. People are enthralled by possibilities but hesitate to make a move. People are super shy, or lack confidence. People are actually already in relationships but create fake dating profiles to flirt with strangers and feel better about themselves. The list goes on.
So kudos to you for taking a chance at a first date. Dating is scary, and first dates are even scarier, and the expectations and hopes can leave us all wobbly after the fact. Now that the dust has cleared, I think you see that Chris, to steal the often-quoted term, is just not that into you. He’s a dude, so he was into you enough to kiss you, but not enough to see you again. It’s brutal, it hurts, it feels a little like getting used. But hey, if anything, hopefully the date further clarified what you do and don’t want, and you got a little make-out sesh, which can be fun on its own when you divorce it from long-term expectations.
Go forth, keep your chin up, keep trying, and keep your eyes open. First dates are like job interviews: inevitably awkward, but completely necessary if you ever want to land that long-term gig.
Or, perhaps, he’s just like you: super-busy with life, super-confused about your intentions, and a little shy/anxious. He also didn’t hear from you the day after a great date and magical makeout session. And when you finally reached out two days later, you just asked him how his day was going. You didn’t tell him you couldn’t wait for a second date. You didn’t tell him that you can’t stop thinking about his kisses. He hasn’t heard from you since, and I’m guessing you haven’t taken down your online dating bio, either. What’s he supposed to think?
Or, yeah, maybe he’s not into you. Maybe he’s a player playing the field. And maybe he’s ghosting you.
But you’ll never have clarity either way if you don’t reach out and tell him that you want to see him again. How hard is that? I get that you’re shy … but you finally met an awesome guy! And you clicked! And you kissed! And it was great! That’s why you’re doing the online dating thing, right?
I feel for you. Online dating is a wild and crazy place filled with wild and crazy people with all sorts of aspirations and angles. And I admire you — you’re hanging in there and wading through all the crazy hoping to find a gem.
You’ve already learned that reality is blurry at best on these dating sites, and that there’s very little that you can control once you’re on them. But one thing you do have control of is your communication and your course of action. Reach out to him, tell him you want to see him again, and see what happens. Don’t wait. You might be surprised. And if it doesn’t go anywhere, don’t beat yourself up. Keep fishing.