From the Dating Files

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Let’s call him Mr. Bitter, because that’s how I referred to him after the date.

Mr. Bitter was one of my many online dates – although I can’t remember now which.  From his profile, he was exactly what I was looking for.  He was a devoted Christian, dedicating his life to serving the poor.  He had started a very successful nonprofit that worked to end sex trafficking in an Eastern European nation.  He had starred in a Christian TV series that had documented his missionary work in his younger years.  He was cute, he was smart, he was funny – I was sure that this was going to be a match made in heaven.

What’s more, I had planned the perfect date.  He was only in my state because he had briefly decided to leave his jet-setting life to come back to Ohio to live with his parents for a period of time.  So since he wasn’t from here, I would do my best to show him my neighborhood.  I lived in a cute suburb with a darling downtown filled with shops, restaurants – the perfect place to walk around on a Friday night.

The perfect date that I set up started with a stroll through the local art center, followed by a visit to the local make-your-own-candles shop, followed by dinner at one of the nearby restaurants, and capped off with a visit to the ice cream shop.  Absolutely delightful, no?  There were so many fun and interesting things to do, I was sure that I had set up the perfect balance between giving space for conversation with enough distraction if it dropped off.  This was going to be an amazing evening!

Only my perfect date didn’t take into account my less than perfect date.  From the time Mr. Bitter arrived to the time the date ended, the conversation mostly revolved around him and how unhappy he was – the issues with his parents, how disconnected he felt, how backwards were the people he was working with abroad – basically everything in his life that had seemed so good in his profile, he was discontented by.  I tried to veer the conversation in a different direction – look, a candle! – but it always came back to that main theme, and with a surprising amount of detail for someone he had just met.

By the time we hit dinner, it was less a date and more a therapy session.  He wanted to hang out longer, but I (thankfully) had to hit the road to drive to see my own parents late that night, so I bid him goodbye.

And yet, even though the date hadn’t gone the way I had planned, I still weaved romantic dreams about him on my way home.  After all, hadn’t he wanted to hang out more?  After all, didn’t I demonstrate what a caring and empathetic listener I was?  Okay, sure, he was a downer, but I could make him happy.

Only I didn’t get the chance.  Because he never contacted me again.  Despite the perfectly-planned date, despite the listening and sympathetic ear, despite his seeming interest in spending more time together – just silence.  When a couple days had passed and I slowly realized that I would never hear from him again, the pang of rejection was replaced by the feeling that I had dodged a bullet.

I had planned the perfect date to a T, but I couldn’t plan the perfect person to go on it with me.  On to the next…

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From The Dating Files

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Hey MRPers!  We are going to try a new series called From The Dating Files!  After three years of online dating – not to mention the guys who came before – I have plenty of stories.  Of course, since none of these are men that I married, they all end sooner or later.  NOTE—These stories shouldn’t be taken as model examples of Christian dating.  I’m just telling you the truth as it happened.

I met Henry (not his real name) through Match.com.  Our first date we met at a trendy restaurant downtown known for good food and its brewery.  From the start, it was pitch perfect.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, with sparkling eyes and a killer smile.  He was smart, with a law degree and an ambitious plan for his career, and well-read.  The two hours passed in a blur of witty repartee, deep conversation, and not-so-subtle flirting.  We left the restaurant and made out on the corner of the street as downtown traffic whizzed by and I couldn’t have cared less.  (In retrospect, probably where it started going wrong.)  I texted my friend on my way home that this was THE ONE.  (Spoiler Alert: He wasn’t.  But funny how certain I was!)

Date Two.  He texted me at the requisite 24+ hour mark (gold star!) and we got together soon thereafter.  We met in my neighborhood at a local restaurant, walked around the block, and ended up at an ice cream shop.  I remember two things: (1) whereas I was comfortable walking in companionable silence, he was not and kept pressuring me to fill it without apparently feeling the need to make conversation himself and (2) we made out in the cemetery near the center of town in broad daylight with traffic again whizzing by.  (Again, not a strong choice and one I still feel embarrassed about.)  I knew it wasn’t as fantastic as the first date, but I figured just a bump on the road to love, right?  (I also asked a friend’s boyfriend for feedback and he said, you got ice cream and made out, sounds like a great date!  Sooo not all advice is good.)

Date Three.  On the prior date, he had suggested that we get together for the local Irish festival and so I waited, and waited, and waited for him to give a time.  He finally gave me a time…on the day of.  Red flag, right?  But I didn’t see it.  We walked around the festival, stopping intermittently for heavy PDA, and I thought it was the perfect date.  Back on track!  Boo-yah!

Date Four.  I was so excited about him, so sure that he was right, that I set up a happy hour to introduce him to a couple of my friends.  Was I a little jealous that he seemed to flirt with one of my married friends and she didn’t seem to mind the attention?  Maybe.  Did it keep me from making out with him again?  It did not.  I was so attracted to him, I couldn’t see any of the signs or any of the problems.

Date Five.  He completely flaked on the plans that I had set up (and bought tickets for) so we instead did a church activity of a cross-town scavenger hunt.  We actually won, but he seemed uncomfortable, barely touched me, and the night went downhill from there.  During dinner, he started asking me for tips on how he could improve his Match profile (subtle, right?).  I first thought he was joking and played along, but it quickly became clear that he wasn’t.  I confronted him and he finally said that he didn’t think it was working out. (Nice of him to make me be the one to force the issue.)

I drove home crying that night.  Although I can see it clearly now, at the time I was completely shocked.  I had truly thought everything was going so well – CLEARLY he was attracted to me!  We made out everywhere!  But I didn’t recognize that the physical side was just masking a lack of commonality, a lack of conversation, and a lack of true interest.

I had spent a month building up this guy in my mind, talking about him to my friends, imagining a future together.  When it ended abruptly, I felt like I had lost more than just a handful of dates, that I wasn’t good enough for him, pretty enough, whatever.  But at the end of the day, it wasn’t any of that.  We just weren’t right for each other.

And another one bit the dust…

Can you relate?  Comment below!