You’re Doing it Wrong

Is there a wrong way to do it? I’m referring to dating, in case you can’t read my mind. Maybe specifically online dating, but mostly dating in general. This is so new to me. I keep thinking that my case is unusual, that most people have dated much more than I have at some point in their lives, but maybe that’s not true and I’m just one of many out there wondering if we’re doing it wrong.

I feel some guilt about the fact that I’m talking to multiple men at once, sometimes even going from one text conversation with one man to the other, making sure that I know who I’m talking to each time. I’m honestly writing about it just to see if I get any feedback or comments indicating that it’s normal or that it’s wrong.

It’s not like I’m sleeping with every man I swipe right on. I’ve only met a couple of men in person and I have not even kissed either of them. We are still living in a COVID world after all, and I do have my boundaries.

What I’m thinking each time I swipe right on Bumble or hit the “like” button on Match is that I should explore what’s out there and then if I’m matched up with someone I still have the option of passing. I’m not indiscriminately swiping and liking the profile of every able-bodied man out there. Have you seen some of these profiles? I wonder what they’re thinking sometimes when they choose which picture to put up as their main photo. Yikes.

If I match up with someone I take a closer look at their profile, see where they live, what they’re looking for, try to see if their eyes look kind. I’ve had several brief conversations with a few men that didn’t go anywhere. Others have transitioned to exchanging phone numbers. And only a couple have led to a face-to-face meeting: a first date. Only one of these has led to a second date. This was the one that I was afraid I had scared away by talking too much. Another potential date is on a prolonged hold while he takes a step back to re-assess and get his life organized a bit more. I’m hopeful this won’t take too long because I was looking forward to meeting him.

I was talking to someone about my dates not too long ago and I said that I didn’t know if they would want to see me again, if either of them was interested. Then my friend asked “What about you? Are you interested? What do you want to happen next?” Those are very good questions! I tend to focus so much on whether someone likes me that I don’t stop to think about what I think, what I want. I need to remember to make choices based on what I want to do and not what I think someone else wants to do or wants me to do.

So what’s my goal with these dating apps, and with these men? Definitely not to find husband #3. Maybe not even to find a “boyfriend.” I’m mostly looking for friends at this point. Someone, or yes possibly more than one someone, to spend time with doing stuff around town. I do miss being in a relationship. Someone to have dinner with, walk with, sit on the couch and watch TV, talk about life or books or movies or music or anything. If the attraction is there, if there’s chemistry between us, I would want a physical relationship as well, and I think I can only have one of those at a time. But I do want that kind of relationship eventually. I missed that so much toward the end of my marriage. If I fall in love, that’s a whole other ball game.

I don’t want to limit my options too soon. There are so many interesting people out there and my experience is so limited. So tell me this: should I only talk to and go out with one person at a time? Is it OK to play the field like this? Tell me it is. I don’t want to strike out before I get my share of at-bats, but I’m also not looking to score a home run each time.

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