Hi from my sickbed.
After arriving at my office early this morning, my co-workers told me to leave immediately. They claimed I looked like I was either hungover, half dead, or both. Truth is, these days, I don’t have enough “fun” to be hungover anymore.
So here I lay ill. And for the first time in months, I’ve actually had time to think about things other than my job or networking or being funny or being adept in social situations (i.e. not drooling on my own shirt when I’m feeling relaxed in public places).
You may wonder what I’m thinking about. You may not. But either way, I’m going to tell you.
All I can think about is dating and the disappointments that come with it.
As none of you probably recall, I had a summer romance that ended with me horrifically sobbing on a sidewalk while my heartbreaker looked on after shocking me with a “let’s just be friends” conversation. All I can remember is bursting into tears so tremendous that I couldn’t see. It was all very melodramatic. He stayed and watched me until I calmed down, of course. He only left after I’d snotted up his sweatshirt. What a gentleman. I think he’s back with his ex-girlfriend now. Whatever.
The disappointment I felt after that moment left me completely frozen. I was afraid to talk to anyone. I had random crying bursts in my car for no reason at all, except that a song came on the radio that reminded me of him. But the thing is, it was never about this guy specifically. It was about being led on to believe I was about to be a part of a couple again and having it ripped away from me at my most vulnerable. I’d shared myself with this person and thought that would be enough to build something. It obviously wasn’t and I suffered the consequences. I was devastated that I couldn’t make a relationship happen for myself.
Today, those feelings are re-surfacing. With all this time to think while laying in bed by myself, I have no choice but to confront my own thoughts. There’s no one to distract me from them. Usually I’d run and hide under the covers with my laptop and old episodes of MTV Made. But today I decided I would reason with myself. I would let myself feel.
About a month and a half ago, I started a texting relationship with a first year law student. We matched on an app I was trying out called Hinge. He’s incredibly attractive, to the point where I couldn’t understand why he would talk to me at all. Not only is he athletic and smart, but he also considers himself a feminist and an atheist. I couldn’t contain my excitement over such a find. Due to the timing of our Hinge match – right before the holidays – we weren’t able to meet up for real until a little after New Years. We texted every single day. When we finally met, we went to dinner and had plenty more to talk about. Conversation felt so easy. The texting never eased up, either. We were still sending messages all day, every day. And then, after a few dates, he completely disappeared last weekend. After almost an entire week of silence, I contacted him last night. I received no response.
This started to feel eerily like what I encountered last summer. Something exciting and new came about, only to be ripped away by the guy I hoped to devote myself to. To be fair, I realize he may be busy and I may be over-dramatizing what’s going on. But it’s hard to accept that he’s simply too busy to send one text. After all, he wasn’t too busy to text me regularly for the last month or so.
All I wanted was companionship and happiness and all I got was a blank phone screen.
Just a couple days ago, I had a long phone conversation with my mom. She was telling me about a young lawyer in her firm who had met an amazing guy on Match.com. The man was very attentive, sweet, and fun. He took her on plenty of dates and they spent all their time apart texting each other. Then the man went AWOL. She didn’t hear from him for several days, which completely broke their pattern. Concerned, she reached out to see if everything was ok. He finally responded later, saying he’d met someone else and that they were over.
What starts with a text can just as easily end with one.
This is where online dating has me down. On the internet, the guys I talk to always have more options lined up behind me. They can immediately stop talking to me when they find some other prettier or more interesting girl. Ditching me is as easy as closing a screen or ignoring a text. To be fair, I’ve probably done this to them as well. It’s a double-edged sword and I think it’s incredibly unhealthy and disrespectful on all our ends.
In real life, things aren’t as easy. You need to confront people’s emotions when you play with them. My summer guy met me for the first time in real life and he broke up with me in real life. As horrible as it was, it was the right thing to do.
As for the guy I’ve been talking to lately, he seems to be employing the worst tactic I can imagine: ignoring someone until they go away.
Is he talking to other girls on Hinge or another app? Is he bored with me? Is he just so busy with school that he doesn’t have time for me right now? I don’t know. And I may never know because it’s far easier for him to go silent than to confront my feelings and see how he’s affected them negatively.
I think I may take a prolonged break from online dating. While I’ve spent the last 2 years getting to know myself both on and off the internet, I don’t know if I’m prepared to handle another guy breaking away from me via radio silence. It’s too insulting and it does horrible things to my self-esteem, not to mention it completely triggers my anxiety.
At this point, online dating is only bringing me negative feelings. So that’s it. I’m going to stop doing it.
Don’t worry about Ok, Stupid going dark, though. I still have hundreds of horrifying messages to post for you all. So keep checking back.
And as for spending the weekend in my sickbed? I guess I’ll just have to get comfortable snuggling up with my feelings and my own personal drama for the time being.