Despite the fact that I willingly admit I am not over my most recent relationship, I decided a few weeks ago to start putting myself out there – out in the dating world. Since the only eligible men I seem to meet in my work environment are over the age of 65 and I’m not a huge fan of the bar scene (and I admittedly have NO idea where to “find guys” around town), I thought I’d try online dating again. The last time I was on a dating site I communicated with 3 guys, and it didn’t really go very well.
- One guy seemed really great, we met up for tea in Fullerton and talked for so long my mom had to text me to come home because it was getting late. But I never heard from the guy again, even after I sent a follow-up message about how I had a wonderful time and would like to see him again.
- One guy seemed to think that because we’d chatted for a week or so online, that meant we were done with the “talking stuff” and wanted to jump right into bed. And he didn’t understand why I turned him down for a sleepover – why couldn’t I just leave my daughter at home with my folks until the morning??
- One guy refused to go out with me unless I let him pick me up from my house, even after I told him why (I don’t like guys I don’t know having my home address and if I needed to get my daughter in an emergency, I needed to be able to drive my own car). Up until 2 hours before our planned date he was still trying to get me to let him pick me up and yelled at me for being so stubborn. I canceled the date and blocked him from my profile.
Yeah, I had a GREAT track record. I swore off dating sites and never looked back. Until now. I signed up for various sites, some I’d used before and some new ones. I worked and worked on my profile until it seemed similar to others I’d read and liked. I “winked” at guys who seemed like a good match to what I was looking for and who were easy on the eyes. Honestly, for me, attraction is a key part of starting a relationship. Some might say that personality and chemistry should be the most important, but if I can’t picture myself waking up next to that person later on down the road, if seeing their face doesn’t get me excited, then I have to pass.
And then I waited. And waited. Guys would wink at me, but they were either too far away, listed their relationship status as “Separated,” only filled out the bare minimum of their profile with their personal description as “Uh, I don’t know what to write here. Hit me up.” or they would send me their phone number telling me “hay sexy, your hot. lets hook up.” Ugh!
And then I got a message from a guy I’d winked at. I liked his profile, he was quite pretty and he lived fairly close by. We talked for a bit and then I suggested we go out on a date. I don’t like to spend too much time “dating” online; I don’t want to have a relationship with a picture that could be who knows how old, I want to meet and talk to the person I’m interested in. We agreed on a dinner location and set the date for the next night. Things went well, we had good conversations and were compatible on many subjects, but I just didn’t feel anything for him, there were no butterflies. He’d make a good friend, but not so much a romantic interest on my end. And the fact that the date ended with dinner at 10PM on a Friday left me feeling like he was thinking the same thing. I didn’t hear back from him and I didn’t reach out to him, either.
So I started looking for more guys. I figured, I’ve got more than a month of no kid, I might as well try to make the best of my time alone. I’d started a conversation with another guy before my date with no-butterflies man so I reached out to him again and we planned to meet the next night. About 4 hours before our date, he told me he had too many personal errands to run, could we reschedule for another time. I told him that was fine, to let me know which days work best for him… and I heard nothing. No response.
So I asked another guy I’d been talking to if he wanted to meet up for coffee. He agreed, seemed really excited and we planned to meet at a Starbucks near my house. We swapped more recent pictures of ourselves so we’d know who to look for (sometimes it’s hard to see a picture on a profile; they don’t always let you zoom up and get a good look when you’re aiming for recognition in a crowded place). I showered, dressed and was doing my makeup (30 minutes before our planned time to meet) when he canceled on me. He didn’t say why, just a “Sorry, I don’t think you’re right for me.”
I continued to receive multiple propositions from guys, both local and over 100 miles away, and the sites kept matching me up with guys who never responded to my introduction messages. The guys who I thought were in my league clearly thought otherwise and the only ones who’d approach me were the ones to whom I was not attracted, both in an aesthetic sense and based on their profile.
And then I heard from no-butterflies man. He was hoping I’d be interested in seeing him again. I figured I’ve give him another shot; maybe I just missed something the first time. So I picked him up, we grabbed a drink and a few rounds of air hockey at Dave & Buster’s, then saw a movie. I drove him home and we stood beside my car in the guest parking spot, talking a bit more. He nervously asked if he could kiss me and I let him. We kissed for a while, but I could tell he was seeing a lot more fireworks than I was. Still, it was nice to be wanted, to feel like I was attractive to him. His hands started to wander and I let them: I know my own limits and things would not progress beyond my level of comfort. But when his hands went under my shirt to touch my stomach, I froze.
It wasn’t because I thought he was going too far, it was because I didn’t want him to touch me there. I didn’t realize until that very moment that I am very self-conscious about the appearance of my stomach. I know I weigh about 15-20 pounds more than I should, and I look it. But I think I dress well when it comes to hiding the parts of me I am not so proud of, my stomach being the biggest one. The clothes I wear flatter and flaunt the things I want to be shown but I can’t hide my flub when it comes to skin-to-skin contact. I hadn’t had an issue the last time, but he knew me better, he knew I’d been working on losing weight in the past and he knew I was pregnant (though not yet pregnant enough to blame the belly on the baby), and he was okay with my stomach after pregnancy, he loved me, not my stomach. I don’t know if I freaked out on no-butterflies man because he just didn’t know me as well (he knew about the surrogacy) or if there was something deeper that was bothering me and him touching my stomach just set off my panic button. Regardless, my sudden mood shift was apparent to him and when I tried to explain that I was just afraid of him touching my stomach because it’s not pretty and he is and my body’s not what it used to be… My freaking out freaked him out. He didn’t protest or try to reassure me, he just stood there like I’d told him I’d had my thugs burn his house down while we were out: he was puzzled and had no idea how to respond. Neither did I, so I mumbled “I’m sorry” and drove home.
I knew things weren’t going to go far with him, I’d felt no spark. But now I’m left wondering if this will happen with the next guy, or not “if,” but when? How long will it be before I fall apart again? How many guys will I “wink” at or meet for dinner before I can be completely comfortable knowing that some day they might want to touch me. And is that really what was bothering me, the idea of him being repulsed at my jiggly stomach? Or was I already falling apart and this just set it off?