Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I recently went out with a guy I was talking to online on a dating app. We met for lunch. Lunch turned into coffee, then a cocktail. Hours passed and the conversation flowed. And then the restaurant was getting ready for dinner service so they politely asked us to pay the bill.
Honestly, it was a great first date. We talked and talked. We flirted. We spoke of future dates and things we could do. When I got home, I got on the app to message him that I really enjoyed meeting him — and he had already deleted our connection and blocked me on the app!
I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with online dating and this was right up there. Why did he block me after happily sitting through what was essentially a five-hour date? Why didn’t he just leave early if he wasn’t feeling it? Why couldn’t he be honest with me? That’s the biggest issue and one I’ve run into repeatedly, is people not just saying what they’re feeling and being forthright. It would sure save me some time and emotional energy.
Basically, online dating is exhausting. This was particularly tough. Advice?
First dates are often nerve-wracking and many people will say they know within mere minutes whether they have potential with someone. Call it chemistry, or intuition, but the basic takeaway is many claim to be certain almost immediately if they see the possibility of something romantic or sexual or somewhere in between when introduced to someone, especially in the context of an official date where both are presumably going in with the hope of making a connection.
More often than not, the connection isn’t there — and one or both people know it even before the appetizer arrives. Still, we hang in for the date’s duration, because most people are too polite and/or confrontation-averse to outright abruptly pull the plug. It’s potentially awkward, or rude, and hard to deliver such a decisive verdict early on: “I know we just sat down, but I also know there’s no way I’d ever be into you, so here’s my $10 for the calamari, enjoy!”
Nope, instead, we stick it out, even knowing the date’s a dud, despite how nice or amusing the person may be. Later, after delivering some version of a “nice meeting you, good luck” text, we commiserate over drinks with friends about another failed first date. And the search goes on.
Was it rude of your date to delete and block you without a customary “take care” text? For sure. He clearly knew it wasn’t meant to be and rather than face an uncomfortable conversation, hung in for the IRL interaction, then cut and ran via technology. All you can control here is yourself. If you want first dates to be more transparent and essentially efficient, don’t wait until they’re over to let someone know you’re really enjoying yourself and see potential. Likewise, if a date begins and you know he’s not the one for you, set the tone and summon the courage to politely say so.
Ghosted. Gaslighted. Kicked to the curb. Straight-up dissed. However you want to phrase it, yeah, it sucks to be on the receiving end of a dating disaster like this. But remember: it might feel like a “you” problem, but in the big picture it’s ultimately not about you at all — it’s about the indecisiveness and insecurities of the date who ditched you.
This person is a coward and an ass. And unfortunately, you paired up with them and they put on an Academy Award-winning performance to draw you in with the pre-date communication and on the IRL date, convincing you that they were also feeling a connection.
There’s no shame in finding yourself in the middle of a first — or second, or 15th — date, thinking, “Hey, this person isn’t my person,” or, “Wow, this is killing me.” That’s real life and that’s also when most decent human beings dig deep and say, “You know what”— you’re a good person, but I don’t see this working out.” Even not-so-decent human beings can conjure some level of honesty, and send a date off with a ‘Thanks, but no thanks” before moving on.
While there are more unwritten than written rules of dating, and online dating delves into the grayest of gray areas, I still believe that there are more decent people out there looking for a relationships and connections than there are jerks. It boils down to being genuine and honest: with yourself about what you’re looking for, and in expressing that to the people you date. So chalk this recent run up to bad luck, bad timing, and finding a bad person. And don’t give up hope. Good luck.