[For a little orientation on my recent adventures in dating, go here.]
I’ve drastically changed my dating strategy. I’m starting to get the hang of this. When I started out, it seemed like such a big deal to be doing this and that there was such an agenda behind it for everyone that the getting-to-know you phase was necessarily urgent and abbreviated. I felt like I had to quickly assess people for our bonding and chemistry potentials, especially since there were many players at once. I thought I owed it to the guys to be focussed and decisive, but turns out I unconsciously assumed responsibility for their feelings because, well, I just didn’t have any perspective myself (and admittedly was probably a bit afraid of anyone becoming emotionally dependent on me before I was ready). I just had some bad assumptions about what people should reasonably expect about this process.
It takes time for me to get to know somebody. And it turns out there are a lot of nice guys out there that I could have reasonably interesting conversations with. Even if I were systematic and thorough with each suitor, there’s no way to know how our lives might ultimately intertwine. (I’ve had relationships that were friendships for years and then something happens that draws us to each other in a way that we become lovers.) And so it’s OK for me to just have made the contact, formed the basis for a relationship through getting together a few times, and then realize that I don’t have the patience or energy to keep hanging in there with someone, waiting for the gods to switch on the chemistry switch.
It also helps me to be calmer about this now because I’ve turned off my searchability on Yahoo and Match and the OkCupid interest in me seems to have died down. So, I don’t have an intimidating backlog of emails to answer and I can meet and get to know people at my slow pace (although it really ain’t cost effective for making the most out of membership fees.) For now, that means I let the sites email me their matches for me and I really just go on gut feel whether or not I even read more about them than the few intro details the search results provide. And then I’ll be the one to do the initial contact.
Maybe later, I’ll try switching on my searchability for small spurts to allow others to get match with me and contact me first. But for now, I can really only handle getting to know one new person at a time. (Of course, it relieves some of my desperation that I’ve got a nice physical contact outlet now and some exciting new friendships that keep me interpersonally engaged and feeling alive.)
Admittedly, I’m still chary about this whole on-line dating thing. I always figured if I found someone to come home to, it would be through more synchronistic means. But, for the time being, I’ve decided that participating in internet dating is my way putting out to the universe that I’m invested and paying attention, whether someone ultimately comes through computer love or not. No hurry.
Edit: For the next chapter in this saga, go here.