In response to my previous article, the woman I mentioned linked me another blogger’s post to further explain her feelings regarding our relationship. We shared a lengthy and insightful discussion and a better understanding of one another.
When I first started dating, I was very active on online dating sites but had very few responses. It became frustrating at times to write 20-30 lengthy and thoughtful messages over the course of a few weeks without getting any replies. However, by sheer volume I did manage to get several first dates but few follow ups. The common refrain was “you’re smart, funny, and handsome but I didn’t feel we had any chemistry” or variations of the same. As is my nature, I analyzed (and often over-analyzed) what went wrong, often laying the blame on myself. Sometimes, the fault was indeed my own (a topic for a future post) and others I should have been more cognizant to realize it was on the other person and move on. A co-worker who was also dating online suggested I read The Game. The sub-title immediately turned me off. I value my integrity and did not want to be involved in a relationship built on a foundation of emotional manipulation. However, I did research help.
The online dating industry, including matchmaking sites but also coaching, is very lucrative. The coaching focuses on attracting matches and first dates as opposed to establishing relationships. Sometimes, they might touch upon how to make sure to get that elusive second date. This is almost natural as the coaches have some financial incentive for people to never truly be successful if they keep coming back for more advice, seminars, whatever. I found Mark Manson’s article both interesting and refreshing (including his additional blog posts) because he doesn’t dwell on “techniques” or “tips” but cuts straight to the point: Do you truly want to pursue this relationship, activity, whatever? Certainly, it takes experience to recognize what you desire out of a relationship (whether romantic, platonic, professional, etc). After a first date, you might not have all this information unless you’re very thorough or really hit it off. In the former case, are you curious enough to find out more? I went through a phase of going on several dates with some women just to see if something would develop when I wasn’t really enthusiastic after the first. I rationalized it as “well, it’s not like there is someone else I am communicating with [through online dating] right now so maybe by learning more we might establish chemistry or common ground.” He refers to this as point 5 in reasons why people remain in bad relationships.
In conclusion, the article helped me better articulate to myself what I already somewhat knew but couldn’t exactly express with certainty. I don’t wholeheartedly agree with everything in the article: I’m personally uninterested in a “friends with benefits” relationship and have refused a few offers when the woman I dated offered it as an alternative. Nor am I interested in one-night stands, so while the body might say “fuck yeah” (I’m a guy after all), I’ll still say no because I value my own personal code of ethics. But one thing is certain, I’m going to sign up to that improv. group I’ve been thinking of.