I used to feel the same way about Internet dating. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t like the guy after the extensive profile review process and promising email exchanges that had come before the actual F2F meeting. But now I approach it differently.
The origin of the word “date” comes from the Latin word for giving. So first dates are something you give of yourself; your time, your emotional energy, your attention. And if you are not getting what you want and need in return, cut your losses and move on. It is only a date, an appointment, a meeting. You do not have an obligation to have another appointment any more than going to one Jiffy Lube necessitates that you return there the next quarter for your oil change.
Or any more than you need to stay with a weirdo dentist.
I’m reminded of a man I dated a while back named, ahem, Jim. He was a teacher also and a single dad. Our initial communication had been witty and intellectually stimulating with just a hint of sexual undertone. No obvious mental illness (on his part anyway) and his criminal record was clear (not that I had anyone check or anything). He seemed like a good match.
But when we met, I just didn’t feel what Cole Porter calls "that thing." There wasn’t anything wrong with him. Contrary to many other dates, he did NOT talk about his collection of Star Wars figures, nor did he ask me about the condition of my eternal soul, and he didn’t ask to touch my toes. No, we just didn’t click. However, I felt obligated (and maybe a little desperate) so I saw him again.
At the end of the second date he said, “I don’t think we should see each other again. I just don’t think we’re a good match.” Then I had to tell myself it’s only an appointment. I was more upset because I had missed Trivial Pursuit night with my sisters, even though my sister Allyson is a big cheater.
I think one of the most empowering things about Internet dating is that it allows women the freedom to be picky. Now one of my biggest personal online dating maxims is that if I don’t feel a connection within three hours of the first date, there will never be one. And no amount of convincing, cajoling, or trying to tell myself he’s perfect, will change it. So I really try not to waste his time or mine and I move on.
It’s something we give of ourselves, after all, and it’s only a date.
copyright © 2009 Tiia Jones