This is an old chestnut, I know, but one which requires further roasting.(You can tell I’m a writer coz I has such amazing metaphors.)
Most people on dating sites don’t know what they want. Most PEOPLE don’t know what they want. Or, to put it slightly differently, most people don’t know what will make them happy.
This link leads to an article about Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, in which he expounds the argument that people are fundamentally bad at predicting what will make them happy.
And this I know, in my waters, from my dating experiences.
I had an almost perfect example the other night.
I got chatting to Daniel* on line. He was witty and engaging from the get-go. We moved quickly onto the phone, where we enjoyed some sexy, intelligent banter. He was single, employed, around my age and gloriously funny. I was in! Clearly he felt the same way, because we arranged to meet in an hour.
There was an instant attraction. So much so, that our greeting peck turned into a snog before we had barely said “hello”. But we managed to recover our senses long enough to sit down and talk. Early on in the conversation, he started to tell me about a woman he worked with, who he was concerned about. He knew that she had feelings for him, but he didn’t find her attractive in that way, although she was a dear friend. I should have realised what was going on and gone home then. But, of course, I didn’t. My pudenda won the argument and kept me there…
Things hotted up physically between us, but always with the spectre of the work-collegue hovering over. He was torn: he wanted to invite me back to his place, but he felt somehow guilty about this woman, even though they were not in a relationship. Eventually HIS pudenda also won the argument, and we retired to his nearby home.
An hour later, in his bedroom, the music was playing, the fan was on, we were in the throes of passionately, physically, expressing something…and then a particular song came on.
And he stopped.
“Oh god”, said he “this song…I can’t go on…I can’t do this.”
I extracted my tongue and sat up.
“Are you telling me”, I expostulated, “that this song has made you realise that you have feelings for your work collegue after all?”.
“I don’t know” came the feeble response. “I suppose so.”
I got dressed, pecked him on the cheek, and drove home somewhat stunned.
He appeared a little taken aback the next day when I texted him, partly to wish him well, but partly to point out how humiliating the situation was. Humiliation was “not my intent”. Well OF COURSE it wasn’t. Who wakes up in the morning and thinks “Who can I humiliate today?” (except BDSM masters…).
My humiliation was a product of his inability to sit with his own feelings, his laziness about dealing with emotions, and his inconsideration for his collegue, for me, for any other women on that dating site (I can’t have been the only one).
This man thought he wanted to go out dating. Then suddenly realised that he had feelings for the woman who had been his friend for so long. But only realised it when he was inflagrante with me. Of course, that is just what he THOUGHT…for all I know, after a couple of days, he decided he DIDN’T have feelings for her. Or maybe he confronted her and found out she wasn’t the least bit interested in him. Oh how gloriously awful and delicious, that would be!!!
None of us are great at unpacking this stuff. But there are too many people using dating sites as a way to sort themselves out at the expense of others. And although they don’t WANT to hurt other people, they are reckless about whether they do or not.
Dating sites are really just massive group therapy sessions, using a combined form of role-play, immersion work and virgin sacrifices….
Well…maybe not virgins as such…
* Names and identifying features have been changed to protect the stupid twats who do this kind of thing…