Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I went into this pandemic having recently gotten divorced after a 20-year marriage. While I have tremendous respect for my ex-husband, our marriage was over long before we made it official, and I feel more than ready to start dating again.
At my girlfriends' advice, I signed up for a few dating apps, and I’ve connected with and chatted with quite a few guys since taking the leap. One guy in particular, we talked quite a bit, and we kept talking about meeting in person, and finally last weekend he came to my house.
I was nervous about him coming over because I’ve been really socially distancing since COVID-19 kicked in, and also because I just feel so out of the loop on dating, and it had been obviously a long time since I’d been with someone besides my husband. But we had a wonderful time, very intimate — I don’t want to overshare. When he left, he said he was excited to see me again. And, I haven’t heard from him since.
When I last was single 20 years ago, you would wait a couple days to call someone you liked. The world moves faster now and I feel like a week later, I should have heard from him. I sent him one text saying I hoped he was having a good week and heard nothing back. So what’s happening? Should I move on? Cut him loose? Call him out? I really liked him and don’t want to screw this up if there’s a chance.
The joke of online and app dating is that we think we have so much power, when in reality we have hardly any because the very trope of Tinder and Match and all the other platforms is to present such a buffet of options that people are more resistant than ever to settling down. What you’re going through is not unique, but it’s absolutely frustrating, and of course it’s confusing, especially if you’ve been out of the dating pool for a couple decades.
My first point of advice is of little help now but hopefully will help out next time, and that’s take it slow. I know that’s counterintuitive to the fast-paced dating world of late (at least, before COVID-19), but if what you want is a partner, hooking up on the first night sends the wrong message. That may sound prudish and antiquated, but it’s also fact, and especially given the frame of the pandemic, now’s the time to enjoy that slow getting-to-know-you phase and delay any rushing into things.
But, too late, right? You’ve already gotten all intimate with this guy, and now he’s ghosted. Now you have a choice. Either just let it go and move on — and who knows, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised in a week or so when he reappears. Or you can send him a straight-talk text and ask where he’s at, which risks you coming off as “aggressive” and “possessive” — and I put those things in quotes because honestly, if you’ve gotten “intimate” with someone, don’t you have a reasonable right a week later to ask what’s up? It’s actually kind of crazy to think you don’t. Worst-case scenario, he’s further freaked by your tenaciousness and bails — in which case, he was never the right guy for you anyway.
I think you’ve been partnered up for so long, you forgot what it is to truly be single and independent. Yes, a lot has changed in the dating scene in 20 years, but one thing remains the same: You are in the dating driver’s seat, if you choose to be.
Why let someone set the pace for you? You can take things as slow or as fast as you want romantically. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship or a hit-it-and-quit-it situation, that’s totally up to you. You can be passive or assertive as you want with your communication and your reciprocation expectations.
Of course, it ultimately takes two to tango. And yes, sometimes your connections will not work or will flame out. And it would be a big-time bummer if your recent fling flakes on you or if you scared him off. But remember: you control your dating destiny. So, if you’ve found a guy you like, use your texting device to call him, tell him how you feel, and ask him how he’s feeling. You know: 1990s, old-school style.
Whether this current situation works out or not, move forward, remain confident and stay open-minded. There are a lot of people in the dating pool and you needn’t waste your time hanging with someone who doesn’t provide what makes you happy and excited. Good luck.
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