I’ve had dating mishaps with a couple of different people recently that I wish I had handled better.
I was planning a date with a guy I met online. He asked, “What’s your comfort level?” and I said, “I’m fine with having sex on the first date.” He said, “You have to wait for what I got, but I can offer cuddling.” I said, “That’s cool,” and I meant it. I thought that “cool” was well known as a positive word, but he didn’t take it that way. He said, “It sounds like you’re unhappy with that?” I said, “Not unhappy, I’m agreeing with you :),” throwing in a smiley face to reassure him. I learned that I need to be more expressive when people set boundaries like this so that they don’t think I’m unhappy with them for setting boundaries.
Later in our exchange, I said that I’d buy us something to eat, cuz it sounded like he wanted me to pay for both of us, although I’m not sure that’s what he meant. He said, “Are you selfish with your money?” I said, “I’m very angry that you’re accusing me of being selfish with my money.” Accusations that feel unfair are a hot button for me. He said, “This is why I hate text. If you were here, you’d see that I’m smiling.” I jumped from thinking that he was making a false accusation to thinking that he was making fun of me, so I was still fuming, and I stopped replying. Now that I’m calmer, I think that he may have been trying to thank me in an ironic way for paying for the date. I regret that I took him too seriously and blew him off. If I could do this interaction over again, I’d say, “Yeah, I make Scrooge look like an angel,” to play along. I might have really missed out…he shared my interest in psychology. He seemed enthusiastic about meeting me, cuz he said, “I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun. You might wind up liking me a lot.” I let my temper and difficulty reading social cues get in the way of what could’ve been the beginning of something great 😦
There was another guy, Charlie, who I had already gone out with once, but we didn’t recognize each other at first when we started talking again. When we figured it out, he rejected me again, and I was frustrated that I turned to have wasted my time on someone who had already turned out to not be a match for me. I took my frustration out on him, saying, “Than you for saving me the time and energy from dealing with you again.” He didn’t retaliate, but sent a classier reply than I deserved, saying, “Sorry. Good luck.” Looking back, it wasn’t his fault that we crossed wires again. If I could do that interaction differently, I would’ve said, “Yeah, it’s Shae. Sorry for the mix-up.” I would take the blame to smooth out the awkwardness.
A previous therapist said that I need to have insight into the situation earlier in my interactions with people. I wish I could make that happen. I keep failing, and I feel horrible about it. I don’t wanna be an asshole. I wanna be kind to everyone, including the people I date.
My goals from these mishaps for doing better in the future are to:
- Get someone else’s opinion if someone upsets me again so that I can gauge how appropriate my initial reaction is and if I need to adjust it
- Send even clearer signals that I’m okay with peoples’ boundaries by saying something like, “I’d be happy to do that (as in, doing x instead of y).”
- Realize when a situation isn’t the other person’s fault and adjust accordingly.
I’m trying to become a better person, and, under that umbrella, a better dater/partner.