Searching for Fish in an Ocean of Online Dating
I haven’t been in a serious or long term relationship for… Hmm… Gosh, seven years now!
When I say that to people the standard reaction seems to be, “oh, what’s wrong with you?”
During my seven years of drought, although I was alone, I was far from lonely. I was far too busy having a life. I was overseas for two years, I pushed my boundaries and traveled alone through India. I moved to the UK and had a fun summer fling with an Englishman. I traveled throughout Europe and Egypt.
I wasn’t looking to settle down with a man. I didn’t need a man. Sure they’re fun to have around but I was living my life, completely selfishly, not worrying about anyone’s feelings other than my own.
I’ve been home for nearly five years now. I have my career on track, I rent a lovely little apartment with an amazing housemate, I have a car, a cat and I pay (most of) my bills on time.
Life is pretty good, but now I’m now ready to share my good life with someone special. Someone that is fun, kind, genuine and adventurous; someone that is happy for me to still live my life and have them share their life with me.
But you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find that someone! Perhaps there is something wrong with me? There are plenty of men out there; am I looking in the wrong places?
So tell me, how does a 31 year old, strong, independent girl find a man these days?
I have tried all the dating sites, at the moment I’m on Tinder and RSVP. I spend my nights mindlessly hitting the no, no, NO button only occasionally finding someone who’s profile says more than “I will flirt with you, and I will bone you” or “fwb*” or “NSA only**” or “I’m a doctor with a secret passion. I explore BDSM and kinky sex” (seriously?!)
So you can imagine my excitement when I started talking to a boy that was able to hold a conversation without asking if I wanted to see a picture of his penis. He was friendly and chatty and interested in getting to know me. At no point did he say anything sleazy or suggest that we catch up for a “cuddle.”
He was ticking all my boxes (yes, I have a list! Doesn’t everyone?)
Funny – tick
Love of good food and wine – tick
A desire to settle in the countryside – tick
So far so good. We started messaging. A lot. Most nights I would be lying in bed with my eyes glued to the screen for his next message to pop up. It felt really nice and I was excited, I felt that he was genuinely interested in me and not just the fact that I had a vagina.
One Friday night we exchanged phone numbers and that night we talked on the phone for hours.
Soon I found myself waking up to texts from him, (usually because I had fallen asleep with my phone in my hand) we had a lot in common. We were interested in the same things, had similar goals and morals.
But then I started to notice that he agreed with absolutely everything I was saying; from our favourite foods, to our preference of holiday destinations… Did we really have that much in common or was he being polite and agreeable?
I did wonder if I had said that I liked to cover myself in peanut butter and let my cat lick it off if he would have agreed with me.
I understand that we were getting to know each other but it was exhausting… I kept thinking, is this the right answer, will he agree with this, what if he thinks differently, will he still like me? If I didn’t know myself before, I certainly did now!
We decided to meet up one Sunday afternoon; I picked a nice spot in the city with outdoor heaters and river views. The conversation flowed easily and he was nice. Probably not the look I would usually go for in a man, but his personality was likeable and I found myself attracted to him.
We moved to another bar to get out of the cold and continued to chat while sipping on pints of beer. I was pretty tipsy by this stage (the three cruisers I downed before leaving the house probably had something to do with that!) I leaned in for a kiss and I was happy to be in his company.
When the time came to finish the date, we caught the train together and he put his arm around my shoulder and leant it for another kiss… That kiss… it was nice, it was exciting, it was tempting…
Then for some reason he showed me the length of his tongue.
He could groom his eyebrows with that thing!
“Imagine what else I could do with it,” he said. I covered my mouth with my hand in shock and most likely said something sarcastic or flirty (I’m not really sure, it’s all a bit of a blur now) but I do know that I struggled to look at him for the next two stops until my station.
The date was great and he seemed lovely but I couldn’t shake the image of his tongue. It’s not something you expect to see on a first date.
When my housemate picked me up from the train station he expected details… “I snogged him, but I’m not attracted to him,” I blurted out.
My friends encouraged me to give him another shot. “Go on, go on another date.” But I had already talked myself out of it, I picked on little tiny things about him – I didn’t like his shoes and he bites his nails. I used these excuses to convince myself that I was not attracted to him.
I was distant with him after that date, the excitement wearing off with each text message from him… at 10am, 10.13am, 11.46am… If I didn’t reply quick enough he would message saying “helloooo…??”
A week or so later I told him that he was lovely, but not what I was looking for at this stage in my life.
At this stage in my life? Should this not be exactly what I am looking for at this stage in my life? Someone with similar interests, someone who makes me feel comfortable, someone who excites me?
Maybe there IS something wrong with me! It seems that as soon as someone shows a genuine interest in me; with no game playing, no bullshit or drama, I sabotage it. I create reasons to not see them again, I pick them apart and convince myself that I’m not interested. I forget how they made me feel in the beginning and I move on.
I don’t know why I do it, perhaps because it’s so much easier to end it sooner, rather than let them end it later on?
There may be plenty fish in the sea, but I clearly know nothing about fishing! All the guys I meet just want to hook up or show me the length of their rods. I guess I better just dive right back in there and find me a catch. Or better yet stop using these crap analogies, stop swiping left on my phone and wait for a miracle man to fall into my lap. Then try not to push him away. Again.
*fwb – Friends With Benefits
*NSA Only – No String Attached Only
(Note from The Editor: Follow Sarah on her adventures of being single in her thirties. With every new man comes a new and hilarious tale…some of which she will be sharing with us. You can read more about her exploits here and follow her antics on www.inalilpickle.com)