Ok listen up. There is a lot of unnecessary heartbreak, regret, hand-wringing and second-guessing going on and it’s got to stop. As I wrote a long time ago on WOE: sometimes in life, shit happens but this isn’t shit we’re talking about. This is simply meeting new people and many of you are overthinking the whole thing. You invest far too much in the equivalent a telephone job interview. You see a picture and you project a fantasy relationship, with you and them in blissful union. You place undue emphasis on a short conversation, one that is less meaningful than any you have with your hairdresser, a person who actually knows you far better. You bet the house on a few initial meetings. You worry, agonise, pursue, stalk (you know who you are Stella Grey) and lose your dignity. You annoy your friends, your colleagues and yourself. You invest heavily, when you should be dating lightly.
It’s the sort of thing you do when you’re young and you think everything matters and you can also fix world poverty. But you’re not and you can’t, so you need to stop seeing your adult dating experiences as your young, breathless self. Instead, you could try reframing it and giving it the gravitas it deserves: very little. Invest sure, but do it with lightness. Assign those initial dates a value that reflects the inconsequential activities they generally are, somewhere on the spectrum between meeting a useless recruitment person and one who might know their job. I know that’s about as minimal as you can get but I want you to see that you don’t need to let this stuff infect your life to the point where you become this pathetic person who waits for texts from someone they’ve not met yet or went out with once. Know when you’re not wanted, understand their lack of communication is part of the very real truth that though you might see hundreds of men or women on a dating site, the statistical truth is just as it is on a crowded train, a nightclub or a party. You may only feel something talking to one or two of these people. So the chances of a relationship stemming from a contact are statistically slight. The person who stopped texting you, felt that and reacted accordingly. There is no need for you to spend hours or days (or god forbid, weeks) agonising this stuff. Just wipe it aside and move on. Get rid of their phone number and delete their emails. Do not even entertain the illusion that they will return once they see what a good catch you are.
Stop spending serious time on things which have not yet signalled they deserve it. Impatience, desperation, anxiety – these have no place in online dating. Save them for things that truly matter. As for the person that matters, maybe you need to stop looking so hard. Or look sideways. And stay on your tippy toes.