First dates fail – advice needed

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  • Sandra555
    July 18, 2021 at 8:05 am #1095107

    Hi there. I’m 29 and have been single for 3 years. I’ve dipped in and out of online dating during these years but have been struggling so much and am noticing how cynical it’s making me. 2 years ago I moved to a new big city and am finding the dating scene a lot more disposable here. I’ve been on multiple first dates but they never lead to seconds. I’ve been on dates where men leave within an hour and I’m confused by it all. I’m by no means amazing but Im average in looks, have a good job, love exercising and am very social and outgoing. I’ve a lot friends and am always out meeting people. Up until my last relationship ended in 2018, I never really found it that hard to meet people and always got male attention. Have I changed so much in the last few years that now I am repulsive? I’m confused and it’s getting me seriously down and feeling hopeless. Any advice would be appreciated. 

    July 18, 2021 at 12:35 pm #1095116

    Hi. I know this is frustrating. Read “Why he didn’t call you again”…by Rachel
    Greenwald. She is a dating coach and talked to 1000 guys after their dates to glean insight on why they did or did not go on a second date. It is very interesting and funny too. Great points to consider.

    July 18, 2021 at 1:14 pm #1095119

    Hmmm. Yeah, read that book for any insight. I definitely can’t tell from your letter what might be wrong, but I think a guy will pass on a second date if:

    —- You are a drunk mess / have a “road soda” in your car
    —- Appear sloppy / like a slob
    —- Lied or misrepresented yourself in your profile / didn’t have accurate pics
    —- Seem “crazy.” I know women who are quite attractive, successful or at least have a steady job, are fun, etc., but they are definitely kooky, like make terrible choices, or are perceptibly desperate for a man / a baby. This will come across to your date. My husband’s friend went on a date with my friend and basically ended up leaving her at the restaurant after one beer. She’s very pretty and fun but she’s bonkers.

    Those are the big reasons I can think of, but also there are cities like Los Angeles where the dating scene is known to be brutal and people are just flakes. And maybe you have to be super duper hot.

    I don’t know, I’m from Boston and last online dated in 2012. I did meet my husband on Match though, at 36 or 37. I think everyone was interested in a second date. I had real, representative pics, and I would put on a dress and try to look cute before each date. And have 1-2 drinks, throw down money, and get out. I wasn’t trying to linger all night. I’d be like, gotta go walk the dog!

    July 18, 2021 at 1:41 pm #1095121

    To Kate’s point about misrepresenting yourself-this can be inadvertent and the book addresses how you could mistakenly give someone the wrong impression and how to avoid that. It also points out that some of the guys have weird or impossible standards , so don’t take “the no second date ” too personally either. Anyway it was fun to read and food for thought.

    July 18, 2021 at 2:07 pm #1095122

    You said that you’re “dipping in & out of the dating pool” How many dates are you going on? It’s a numbers game because compatability is rare & elusive. It’s tedious, but the more coffee meet ups you do the better. You also said you’re cynical. Dudes can read that. Try to just be there for the evening with no expectations of a second date. What Kate said about not lingering is gold. You don’t want him to think you have nothing going on. That you don’t have an established life. My gf meet a dude who was able to pull up roots & join her on her traveling work lifestyle after 2 weeks. He was abusive. Having nothing going on in your life (friends, family, hobby, job, larp costume design, anything) Is a big red flag

    July 18, 2021 at 2:44 pm #1095123

    I do think if you’re getting multiple first dates, you’re doing something right. Your profile looks good enough to attract guys and then you’re doing fine in your chat if it leads to a date.

    So the possibilities are:

    —- Your profile attracts the wrong type of guys
    —- Your appearance is off from your pics
    —- You’re talking too much about your ex or seeming negative
    —- Something else you’re saying is a turnoff
    —-The city you live in is truly just a huge flake-fest

    July 18, 2021 at 7:06 pm #1095131

    I’d say I’ve been on about 10 first dates in the last 6 months! I’ve had my friends check my profile and they said it seems aligned to who I am. I’m pretty happy single. I have a very active social life but I’m noticing my friends getting engaged and having kids and it’s making me worry about the future. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so super happy for my friends, but it can disheartening watching everyone move on and progress and dating has been going so horribly for me so I feel stuck. I have single friends and they seem to experience this too so i know I’m not totally alone. Thanks for the advice! I’ll try read that Book and also try not take things too personally! I think it’s because I’m turning 30 and society pressures and expectations are real and hard!

    July 18, 2021 at 8:28 pm #1095134

    This is entirely subjective but you might be giving off that vibe of hating it or feeling the pressure on your dates as well. I had a friend like that and she didn’t manage to land a bloke until well in her 30s and frankly the one she did get sucked. If you’re going into dates with a bit of a defeated or desperate attitude they’ll sniff it out right away.

    As for how to get rid of that feeling I’m not an expert as I never wanted kids so that took all the pressure off me anyway. However I’ve mentioned this before and I had my most success when I stopped caring (I think I called it turning off my ‘give a shit’ lol). You’re still young and have so much time and it sounds like you’re having success initially so once you stop caring if the bloke in front of you is ‘the one’ and just enjoy the date for what it is you might go better. Living your life according to what other people want for you or where you think you need to be by a certain time is a recipe for disaster. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. If it takes a bit of a time out or some therapy to believe that wholeheartedly then do it. Dating doesn’t have to be this merciless slog that makes you unhappy and reminds you of your mortality and if it is you’re never going to have success anyway.

    July 19, 2021 at 6:18 am #1095179

    My guess is that men are making a bunch of assumptions about you and the date is potentially confirming it. 29 is an age where, although we’ve stopped using the term “spinster” we’re not yet free of “desperate to find a man” and “biological clock”.

    If you’re talking about how all of your friends are getting married that puts a big old exclamation point on the date. If you’re talking about your friends having kids – take that exclamation point, add a few more. I’m just saying that on a first date, you don’t want to give the impression that you’ve written the story, booked the theater, now you’re just finding someone who can play the role.

    July 19, 2021 at 8:02 am #1095185

    Is it at all possible your photos are dated, overly filtered, or that you’d look different in person than someone would assume from the pictures?

    I mean, yes, you can’t take rejection personally because it IS a numbers game, but at the same time there’s a pattern here, with none of your 10 first dates converting to a 2nd.

    It definitely could be they are picking up on the negative emotions you mention above, and your anxiety about catching up to your friends.

    On a tactical level, are you paying your way or at least making a genuine effort to pay? Are you texting them afterward to say thank you and you had a good time, especially if they paid?

    July 19, 2021 at 8:58 am #1095199

    One other thing – I’m in NYC and it’s brutal. It’s an uneven game. (Most) Women in your age group are looking to settle down and most men have figured out their age range just expanded exponentially. It’s perfectly plausible for a 30 year old to date a 25 year old. It’s also perfectly fine for a 30 year old guy to date a 40 year old woman (or older) who’s just gotten a divorce and is looking for commitment free companionship.

    Best advice is to find the things you love to do – do those and find people who like to do things you like to do. Or just play the numbers game and go on as many dates as possible with minimal expectations.

    July 19, 2021 at 10:05 am #1095210

    So a few thoughts.

    1. As others have noted, in big cities people may be more transactional in their dating and may go on a lot of dates. It may help to maybe open your filters for first dates and do more of them on the assumption that most won’t go anywhere. Still, what you’re describing, particularly the guys leaving after an hour seems like a bit of an outlier.

    2. I think that Kate’s comment on the profile is something to think about. Your friends will not tell you if you currently look worse than your current photos. If your photos are from when you were 23 or they’re more recent but you’ve put on weight since then or cut your hair short, men may be showing up with the expectation that you look one way and then lose interest when you don’t. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find someone as you are, but you’re going to have to have a profile that more accurately reflects your current appearance.

    3. I don’t know how to say this without being a jerk but as you get older your experiences with dating are going to change. When I was 25 and muscular women and had all my hair, women would flirt with me at stores and whatnot. They don’t do that now that I’m in my early 40s. Your experiences at 29 are not going to be the same as when you were 22. It’s not just the experience of being older, but when you were 22 you could date guys who were 22 and 25 and 29. Now it’s switched around. The 30 year old guys you are dating are also dating 22 or 25 and 29 year olds.

    I don’t want to overstate this. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great dating life and meet an incredible partner, but it may be that whatever your experiences have been when you were younger might not be the same and you may need to work in a way you didn’t before or be more open about the people you date. Things that happened passively and effortlessly are going to require work and thought on your part.

    4. It may your city to some extent. There are definitely cities (NY, DC) that are harder for women because of the numbers.

    5. What are your post-date communications like? Are you just waiting for the guys to reach out? Are you texting them to tell them you had a good time?

    6.I do wonder if there is some kind of mismatch between what you want and what the men you are looking for want. Are you somehow finding guys who are looking for hookups while you’re looking for a relationship.

    7. Would you consider opening up the age ranges/heights/restrictions on the men you’re dating? It may be that doing so will enable you to select for men who may be better prospects for second dates.

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First dates fail – advice needed

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