A few years ago, after the heart wrenching break up of a brief relationship, I swore off of dating people I knew, or were close to my inner circle.
Knowing the same people, enjoying the same places/activities might sound fantastic when you are seeing someone; it's easy, and you feel like you can trust them more, because people you like like them.
But when one evening in bed he tells you "this is not a serious relationship." and he doesn't even know if he wants a serious relationship, it all falls apart and you are struggling to hold your shit together. Then it becomes this nightmare of trying to decide if you still go to the same gatherings as they are invited to. You want to, to see them again; you shouldn't see them again because you leave emotionally crashed. You don't want to miss events, but you don't want to tell friends you need him not to be there. Maybe people think you are over it because you try to be.
A picture of the guy who accidentally devastated me hangs on the fridge of one of my family members. It's a picture of him with his kids and new wife. I can't look at it, but I can't not look at it.
After that agony I swore off becoming intimate with anyone I was friends with or would have to see regularly for any valid reason.
Then I shattered that plan and am back to dating then running into former lovers in places I like to go, and even places I have to go.
None have been as damaging as the wreck from years past: I don't spend a 3 day period eating salt and vinegar potato chips and downing pots of coffee while sobbing after a sighting.
But, the weird eye contact moments, the little waves/nods from a distance, social networking overlaps, or the times you have to chat in a group bring back memories. Sometimes these are sweet or sexy memories that make you miss them. Other times they are memories that make you angry that you are still required to live in the same dimension. Sometimes you are just fine with it in the moment, then spend far too much time analyzing the interaction later. Did I come off strong and witty, or clumsy and/or damaged?
This is what led me to online dating. The plan to meet new people that I didn't know and, if I got really lucky, that my friends didn't know either.
One of my favorite couples met on an online dating site, so I jumped in with positive feelings for the activity. My town is full of fantastic people, I just needed a new avenue for meeting them and for them to know I was here.
I thought that the strangest part would be talking to strange men.
The strange part has turned out to be the people I know.
Within 2 hours of creating a portion of my profile and looking around a little the 'People I Might Like' section is sporting a familiar photo.
Yes computer, I might like him. In fact I liked him very much. But now that we are not dating and I've removed his number from my phone so I will never text him again, and it's 11:30pm, it's probably not a good time to bring up that we are a fantastic match.
I knew he was on the site, my friends run into him there, but I really had high hopes it would take the dating machine more than 2 hours to start introducing me to people I know.
To be totally unfair to both of us it honestly bothers me on some level the amount of time he can put into looking for/flirting with new girls online, as I (again unfairly) keep thinking that if he had put that much time or effort into me... Wasn't that exactly what more I had needed and asked for?
I clear this in my head by telling myself that in the short term this is a lot more work for him, but I suppose it's investment in finding someone without my high expectations or requirements. It still hurt though. Because what it really confirms is the obvious "Not that into you."
I finally chose to see this as a positive, this dating site thinking this guy was a good match for me. Yes computer, you are onto something. This is what I like. Someone like him. Only not him.
Turns out there is a super creepy button on the site that lets you find people like a profile of your choosing. You just pop in a user name and they give you the closest profiles to that person.
So I guess that's always an option. A disturbing and possibly dysfunctional sort of option.
Then I found more people I know. Thanks cupid.
There is a best friends baby daddy. The only thing at all outstanding about that is that I live in a city, not a small village in North Dakota. Day one one this site and they try to hook me up with someone I almost consider family. I'm getting suspicious of the user base numbers.
Then more people I kinda sorta know, including...
I thought that guy was in a relationship already. Wait, I think that guy is in a relationship already. That's gonna feel weird later...How do I bring that up? Oh. There's another one.
Their pictures and profile are very obvious, so I have to believe that their significant others are aware of these profiles, but it's still uncomfortable when the open aspect of the relationship has not been opened up to you in person and you aren't sure.
I've considered the casual 'Fancy meeting you here' message...
A week into it I haven't seen the profile of one new person I would want to meet, aside from a 62 year old man who I messaged that though we were in different parts of our lives and we wouldn't match up because of the stages we were in, that he had a great profile and was an attractive man. He wrote me back a lovely email which included that he had just started seeing someone special... and that he is pretty sure he recognizes me, maybe from farmers market.
Most of the other messages I've received, now that I'm seeing the messages roll in from some of those strange men I was bracing myself for, have been two lines or fewer. Most of them mention how sexy I am, but nothing about what's in my profile. Even the one liners have typos.
If a guy got on this site with any agility at flirting he could really clean up.