I am an almost 33-year-old woman, with a great job, house, family, friends etc, attractive enough and have an outgoing personality. However, I keep coming up empty on the dating front. After a particularly disastrous serious relationship about four years ago (long story short: he dumped via text saying he was dying of cancer. Yes, he’s still alive.) I know that I can be somewhat wary and nervous about dating and relationships, but I don’t feel that I do anything Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.”
I’ve been doing online dating with some hits and misses and started talking to someone named “Dave.” The emails progressed and we moved onto phone calls and texts. He’s divorced with custody of his 10 and 12-year-old kids (he’s 34) so weekends were the only time we were able to go out. We had our first and second dates within two days and both nights were a blast! Fast forward several weeks and we’re talking or texting every day — things have gotten intimate and I was enjoying what was happening. I met him at his house Friday for dinner; things got intimate and then I left because I had already planned a night out with friends from out of town. We’d talked all week about doing something on Saturday night, actually spending most of the day together and then getting dinner etc. Well, Saturday comes and I shoot him a text and get no response. I wait and then around 5 pm call and ask if we’re still on for dinner. No answer – straight to voicemail. I’m pissed but trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Well, I finally get a response Sunday VIA TEXT that basically said “I partied too hard Friday with friends and was completely destroyed Saturday. Nothing you did, but I think I do want to call things off. I guess the most honest answer is really I just have been in a place where it’s hard for me to get close to anyone and I don’t really want to lead you on. I guess there isn’t enough there for me”. So yeah…shocked is a good word for how I felt and stupid is another word.
I feel like this is a common occurrence for me, and I can’t pinpoint what the turning point is for the guy. I’m not clingy; I normally follow their lead in terms of communication frequency and style so to say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I think sometimes I’m too accommodating or nice in the beginning so maybe I don’t notice things that I should, but it’s easy to second guess myself. I feel like I’m slowly letting my youth slide by and soon I’ll just be the crazy cat lady! Help. — Afraid of Being a Cat Lady
You say this is a common occurrence for you, but I’m wondering what exactly you’re referring to. Being stood up for a date? Being dumped via a text? Or, more generally, things not working out after a few dates? If it’s the former two, I might chalk that up to bad luck and perhaps bad judgment on your part. But it’s the latter … well, darlin’, that’s just called dating. I like to think of myself as an optimist for the most part, but the truth is, most relationships don’t work out. Think about it: the ratio of breakups to successful marriages in anyone’s life is very, very rarely 0:1. I’d say it’s more like 15:1, especially if we’re counting these piddly little three or four-week “relationships” like the one you had with Dave.
I’m not trying to belittle you or make light of your feelings, I’m really not. But let’s put things in perspective here: if you’re getting this worked up over the ending of something you had with a guy you saw all of, what, a handful of times, maybe that’s your problem. You’re getting too invested too quickly. You’re putting too many of your eggs in one basket. You’re counting your chicks before they hatch. [Insert countless other clichés here]. My point is, you may not find you have better luck per se by taking things a little more slowly, but you will probably find that your feelings are spared some if/when things don’t work out, and that will help you maintain a far healthier attitude as you continue your search for the right guy. Rather than get totally scared you’re going to end up a crazy, lonely cat lady if someone stands you up again or ends after a few dates things via text, you can shrug it off and say, “Wow, glad I dodged that bullet before I got too close!”
Also, even if you don’t feel like you’re being clingy, and you think you’re mirroring the other person in terms of communication, etc., if your head is saying, “Oh My God, this could be the one! I hope this is the one! I am almost 33! I don’t want to end up alone! I don’t want to be a crazy, lonely cat lady! Please God, let this be the one! He seems like he could really, really be the one … Oh please!!” that shit comes across whether you mean it to or not. Believe me, it does. Guys can sense these things. They can sense the desperation and it’s a turn-off. Big-time.
So, how do you stop yourself from being desperate? Well, for one thing, don’t rule out other options just because you’ve found one potentially nice guy to go out with. Keep a few pots on the burners if you can. If you’re online dating, try to be communicating with at least two guys at all times. Even if you decide not to go out with one or either of them, just knowing you have options will help you from getting too obsessed over one person. Also, if you know that being intimate with someone creates an immediate connection that may not exist yet outside the physical aspect of your relationship, then don’t get intimate so quickly. Wait until there’s more of a commitment. Wait until you trust the guy a little more. Wait until the guy has proven in some way that he is worthy of that part of you. Don’t rush into daily communication with someone you barely know. I’m not saying that doing this will automatically save you from being hurt or disappointed again in the future, but it certainly won’t hurt. It will help you from getting too invested too quickly — something that has proven to backfire for you in the past. And that, my friend, is going to be one of your best bets in finding the long-lasting love you long for without losing your mind in the process.
P.S. Even if you do land a long-lasting relationship, there’s no guarantee you won’t end up a crazy cat lady, still. Ain’t no shame, girl!
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.