November 8, 2011 | 11:33 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
No matter how old you are, dating is hard. I have been dating a long time and still have no idea what I’m doing. Well I know what I’m doing, it’s the men I’m dating that leave me confused. It’s a shame it needs to be so difficult. One would hope the search for love, friendship, sex, or whatever, would be more fun than stressful.
I have been dating Sparky for a few weeks. We speak everyday, text several times a day, and our time together is fun and comfortable. He is the first man I’ve dated that embraced my blog. He is not afraid of it, enjoys it, and supports being in it, as he knows people have been following my dating life and want to know how it’s going.
The best part of dating Sparky is that there are no expectations. We have certainly been clear about what we are both looking for, but there is no timeline. No commitment, exclusivity, sex, pressure, or deception. We are simply two grown ups, who are dating, building a friendship, laughing, flirting, making out, and enjoying each other.
It all sounds great right? Exactly how dating should be, right? Not so much. After 3 weeks of constant communication, I stopped hearing from Sparky. We went out to dinner and a movie on Friday night, and that was it. He vanished. There was a quick phone call Saturday to say he liked my blog, then he said he’d call me later, and nothing.
The whole thing confused me, then I spoke to Sparky today, and now I am just sad. Sparky said he thought he needed to back off, and we should just be friends. The thing is, I thought we were just being friends. I approached my time with him quite differently from how I typically date. I was just hanging out, and it was really lovely to not have the pressure.
I enjoyed his personality from our first conversation. He made me laugh, and think. He challenged, respected, and inspired me. I truly thought we were friends, yet my friend did not think enough of me to call and let me know he was feeling weird or uncomfortable. Instead, he opted to ignore me, and only reached out after I got in touch with him.
His change of direction could have been for a lot of reasons. Maybe he was just not that into me, maybe he was dating other people and felt more compatible with someone else, or maybe he just wants to play around. I have no idea, because he didn’t tell me. All he said was he wanted to just be friends, and he said it after be behaved nothing like a friend.
I felt sorry for Sparky on the phone, he was clearly struggling, and referred to himself as “clumsy”, which he was. I tried to listen and be kind, but in the end I told him I did not want to be his friend. Then for reasons I cannot explain, and am mortified to share, I felt my chin quivering, and with tears about to fall, I abruptly ended the call. It was horrible.
I could say he is making a mistake by jumping ship before we even knew what direction we were going in, but in the end it doesn’t matter. At this stage of my life, clear on what both my goals and fears are, if he’s not into it, then he’s not into it. I can’t help but be disappointed though, because I enjoyed the thought that maybe it could be something.
It was only three weeks, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. I went in with no expectations, so I’m not heartbroken. I am sad though. Sad that when my new friend needed me to be kind, I was not. Sad that I could not handle a situation I am familiar with better than Sparky did, since it’s a situation that is new to him. Sad it is over before it began.
I have a date this weekend. I had this date set up before Sparky decided to kick me to the friend zone. By friend zone of course I mean the zone where you are unfriendly but say you want to be friends. I made the date because I thought Sparky and I were just dating, so the plans were to protect myself from jumping in too fast.
Sparky asked me if we could be friends, which is silly. Of course we can be friends. I would not date someone I didn’t want to be friends with. Hopefully I will learn something from this, although I’m not sure what. I hope Sparky learns that communication matters, and his news didn’t hurt my feelings, but the time it took him to share, did.
To be clear, I am annoyed. I think Sparky was a coward and a schmuck in the way he handled this. I was nothing but kind and open with him, and I deserved better. Men need to grow up and realize that their behaving badly is not okay. Pointing blame is not necessary because it’s ultimately not a big deal in grand scheme of things, but if you insist, this one is on Sparky.
Dating is not my favorite thing, but I will continue to do it. I’m not in a rush, which makes it less painful. At the end of the day it’s hard for all of us, and I imagine for a man who has been married for over 20 years, and is starting over, it’s a little harder. To my friend Sparky, be kind to yourself and to others. Don’t be afraid, and always keep the faith.
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