Dating Tumbleweed

dating9

It’s been over 8 months since I started on this online dating mission, and things haven’t exactly turned out quite as hoped. If you’re read my previous blogs you’ll know I’ve been using Tinder, POF and happn to search for women. Since then, I’ve also added Lovoo and Badoo to the mix. As you can guess this was due the the lack of success on the original three apps. You would have also read I’ve had a couple of dates, one of which ended up ghosting me after a promising start, and the other leaving me in the dreaded friendzone. So what’s been happening since then?

To cut a short story even shorter: sod all, sweet FA, diddly squat, nada. Well, not strictly true, as I did manage one other date, and she did seem reasonably pleasant and we got on, but she lived far too far away to even consider taking any further. But apart from that, nothing.

App success

Comparing the apps in terms of getting dates directly can be a little tricky as the type of feedback varies. In Tinder you only know about mutual matches, and never about people liking you when you didn’t like them. In POF, you are informed when someone likes you, and you receive messages from anyone. happn (I wish they’d capitalise their first letter, I hate starting a sentence with a lower-case letter!) also only report mutual matches, as do Lovoo. Badoo give some indication of who’s visited your profile and those that who have liked you.

So how much success have I had? Well on Tinder I had one match from someone who lives in a different country (must have been visiting the UK at the time to appear), and that’s it. Given I’ve been swiping nearly every day, that’s a massively disappointing hit-rate. With POF I’ve managed a couple of matches, but not had any replies when trying to start a conversation. However, I had received a lot of likes and messages from non-matches, so some women clearly like me. The downside all these women seem to be at least 10 years older than me, and look at least 20 years older. I’ve also tried messaging several women who I’ve taking a liking too from the search, but haven’t received a single reply. Sending messages can be tiring, as I don’t just want to say ‘Hi there!’, and rather say something based on their profile to start a conversation; so it does need some thought, which after a day working and dealing with the kids, I don’t much energy left to do.

On happn I’ve had one match (after 8 months of nothing!), and tried to start a chat, but got no reply. Lovoo, I had a match from someone far too far away. Badoo has shown a little more promise in that I’ve actually struck up a couple of conversations on there, but they seem not to be the most articulate women in the world. One word answers are bad enough, but one letter answers?! What’s happening to the literacy in this country?

So what next?

I know I’m not the greatest catch out there, and being a man, I’m up against a vast amount of competition, but I really was hoping for better. Have I stepped over the age threshold where I’m now considered too old by most women (except for 50-somethings it seems)? Does my profile stink? Are my photos rotten (personally I think they give a good impression of me)? Is my particular taste in women not reciprocated by those women? It’s not like I haven’t put the effort in on the apps, searching on most days, so being very active. I’m really feeling like the invisible man now, without the actual benefits of being invisible.

So what do you think I should do?

In the Friendzone

dating8So I’ve suffered the ignominy of been ghosted, and wondered what else the world of online dating relationships could throw at me. I had met another woman via one of the dating sites a few months ago and we clicked on the first date and starting meeting up on a reasonably regular basis. Bear in mind my situation of being a working parent with little spare time, so the regularity of these were every couple of weeks or so.

From day one we seemed to get on pretty well and soon seemed to feel relaxed with each other. We’d chat on the phone every couple of days or so, and talk about everything under the sun. There seemed to be a good chemistry building and we started to understand each other’s little quirks and happy to wind each other up a bit. When she’s had some bad days I’ve tried to comfort and cheer her up, and be a sympathetic ear for her. I really felt like we were in a proper relationship where both of us could be ourselves and not have to put on a ‘dating face’ for each other.

However, there was one major thing lacking. After a few months and many dates, I had never had more than a peck on the cheek from her, usually when saying goodbye. She also seemed unwilling to invite me to her place, even though she had a place of her own. She had shown some interest in visiting me, but seemed to find excuses not to at the last minute. She seemed to show no desire to take the relationship to the next level, to use baseball parlance: to first base. I’d rather use a cricket analogy being British, so I’ve just taken the first wicket, but the second wicket doesn’t appear to be coming and the batsmen have made a century partnership. Any hint of flirtation from me seems to get an abrupt put-down. In all my previous relationships, things got a lot more affectionate way faster than this (at least 5 wickets down within a couple of months!).

So it seems I’ve ended up in the dreaded friendzone and that’s where the relationship is stuck. Now, I can understand the friendzone phenomenon when you’ve met someone in ‘real life’ where there hasn’t been the pre-selection of a dating website, and the mutual attraction isn’t clear. But I met this woman on a dating website, where she has chosen me as someone she finds attractive. So have I turned out to be unattractive to her, but just pleasant company to be with? Have I done something to be be a turn-off? Is there something in her psyche that prevents her showing affection and desire?

I’m confused and dejected over this, and not sure whether to stick or twist on this one. We seem to get on well and enjoy each other’s company, but I’m keen to have more than just another friend.

Ghosted

dating7Where’s Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and the other two when you need them? For the uninitiated, ghosting is when somebody stops communicating with you and they just disappear off the face of the Earth. But unlike ghosts, who may come back to haunt you, these people never return.

It appears I’ve become a victim of ghosting and it has affected me more than I would have imagined. I’m a pretty pragmatic and realistic person, who never takes much for granted, but this particular ghosting was quite unexpected and has left my questioning my own personality and judgement of others.

The Beginning

I managed to get myself a very rare match on one of the online dating apps, and after striking up a conversation with the woman, we organised a first date. All went surprisingly well on the date, she was extremely attractive, intelligent and good company. Too good to be true I thought, so I was expecting that to be the end of things. If you’re going to get ghosted, it’ll be straight after the first date; but no, she’s kept in contact afterwards. We met for a couple of further dates, and we began to enjoy each other’s company and I began to feel more relaxed with her, and we had plenty of messaging between us on a daily basis. So things were looking good.

Busy Lives

We were both busy people, both parents with full-time jobs, so finding time to meet up was difficult. But we both understood that, and she always seemed keen to meet again once we’ve got our various distractions out of the way (usual things like winter bugs, weather, work and so on). There was even talk about maybe meeting at either of our houses, which of course would be a major step forward. That idea certainly got my interest up! It was just a case of finding a suitable day to do this, and in the meantime we kept the messages going, discussing our daily lives, and learning more about each other. Everything was going well, and I really felt we were forming a good relationship that had serious potential.

The Silence

She sent me a message one morning, which was nothing unusual in content or timing. I replied to it a couple of hours later, and said nothing particularly unusual, just something benign, but the sort of the thing that would normally be answered. We were never quick repliers to messages, as we’re busy people, so not getting a reply for several hours was normal and fine. However, I’d noticed by message hadn’t been read, which was less usual. I followed up with a couple more short messages to check if she was fine, but they weren’t read either. I was now starting to get worried, as she would normally reply within a day, and would have at least read them, but not this time. I decided to call her in the evening the next day, but it either went straight to voicemail or just rang unanswered.

The Concern for Her

After a couple of days of no response to my messages, which were still unread, or to my calls (just a couple of them, I didn’t want to appear overly persistant), I assumed she was having some problems. Maybe a family problem? One of her children was ill? Was she ill, or worse? I was now getting very worried for her. Why hadn’t she even let me know?

All I had was her phone number, I didn’t know her address, and I didn’t even know her surname (she did casually mention it, but I didn’t really mentally take note at the time). So there wasn’t much I could do. So all I could was wait and hope she’s get back to me. So I waited and waited…

The Realisation of Ghosting

After a few days, it began to dawn on me that I’d been ghosted. She clearly didn’t want me contacting her as a later attempt at a message didn’t even get delivered, so I seemed to have been blocked. Her profile on the dating app has also been blocked to me. I wasn’t just been ignored, I’d been actively blocked off from her life. I tried to recollect what may have triggered this, but there was nothing to suggest she wasn’t interested anymore. She never read the reply to the last message she sent me, so it’s not like there’s anything I said that would have caused the sudden cutting off. Maybe she had another man (or men) on the go from her dating activities, and decided to plump for one of them instead of me. It would have been nice to know where I stood, but I was just left hanging for days on end without knowing. In fact, I still don’t know the reason.

This rejection really hit me hard, as we had been on a few dates and really felt we were gelling and getting closer. On the last date, she was getting quite flirtacious, and the body language was very positive, so I things were really heading in the right direction. She was always on my mind, and I hadn’t felt that way about anyone for a very long time. I simply do not meet women like her, so I didn’t want to miss out on making something of this. So when I realised she had rejected me after such a build up, it felt like the last fish in the ocean had been hooked away from under my hose.

The Undigified End

What really rankles with a ghosting like this, is that she never had the decency to let me know it had ended. Even just a message to say “I’m not interested anymore, so will not be talking to you anymore”, would have been better. At least it would have been an instant line in the sand, and I could move on. I would have preferred an explanation, so I knew what I could work on if it was something at fault with me. To me, she is just a cold-hearted coward. Does she do this to all the men she meets? I can tolerate a ghosting after a first date, as it almost goes with the territory, but not after a series of increasingly better dates.

Even now, several weeks after I was cut off I still think about her, and wonder what I could have done to not get rejected. I’m always wanting to know more about her, but I don’t want to end up as some bitter stalker, trying to track her down. That would just be bad from every angle, and I just have to move on, and respect the fact that she’s now back to being a person I don’t know anymore.