Disinterested

Had a fun date with Duke about two weeks ago. Day drinking in the city is a favorite activity and he chose a great, low-key bar. Traditional, perfect, quiet and most importantly unpretentious.

I met Duke on Bumble. He is a handsome Irish/Italian guy, a bit out of my traditional “type” range but still quite handsome. A bit slim for me – I have always been attracted to fuller men, manly men.  In my opinion, very European – he showed up dressed nicely in his scarf and cap, and vest.

While not exactly initially appealing, his personality grew on me the way Tony’s did – I was thankful to see this happen again as it means (somewhere deep inside) my requirements are adjusting to what’s below face value. That’s good, right?

We sat at a local city bar, both of us had evening dinner plans, and passed 3 hours or more chatting and laughing. He’s super interesting, uncommon I would say, and had great stories. Plus, the Irish brogue was hot!

During the conversation, each one of us asked the other if we matched our photos, profile and expectations. He said he was very pleasantly surprised by me because I was prettier in person, had a genuine smile and was definitely interesting. He mentioned that he found my responses to him to be disinterested – he didn’t feel I was really engaged in meeting him.

He’s not wrong. My guard is up all the time now in these initial conversations. One wrong move and *boom* I’m over you. I’m sick and tired of the probing sexual questions from men and he hinted at that a tiny bit on the phone so I probably shut down. I supposed that can come off as disinterested. I do feel more disconnected than ever from the dating world – the round robin of matching, texting, speaking and meeting is a lot of work over and over and over again.

I was glad he said it. It made me write this post about being scared. It caused me to pause and think on my behavior. He may have caught disinterest but, in hindsight, I realize it’s much more about my fear of moving forward and being vulnerable. I am keeping everyone at a distance I can manage because I still feel the pain of Tony too keenly and because I will need to share my story, if I am being honest, when we get undressed.

I am definitely in a very weird place in my life: entirely uncomfortable with myself….so how can I be comfortable with someone else?

In any case, the date ended and we left the bar and stepped to the side to kiss. A perfectly good kiss that encouraged more but didn’t get heavy. I wasn’t exactly excited but had the feeling I wanted to explore more. He asked me out again and we decided to take it to text to make our next date.

I left feeling like the date was a success….until his text started later that day into the next.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

11 thoughts on “Disinterested”

  1. This is almost typical in your situation; it’s like you’re circling the wagons, raising your shields and distancing yourself in a protect mode… while still trying to date… which, begging your pardon, is a bit cray-cray because your mind is set to diss a guy if he even blinks at you the wrong way, let alone do or say anything else that might piss you off.

    I get the Tony thing… and I think you understand that finding someone that’s anywhere close to him is going to be impossible; he’s become the standard you measure other men against and every guy you date will always fail… because they’re not Tony and because they’re not, his ghost continues to haunt you and causing you a great deal of discomfort on top of the other shit you find yourself dealing with.

    You’re right: Until you can get back to being comfortable with yourself, you will not ever get comfortable with anyone else but as long as Tony’s ghost continues to live inside you, good luck with that. It’s not that you don’t know that you need to let him go because you do but I’m not sure you understand why you can’t seem to let him go. Just when you think you have him out of your system, he reappears and you get all weird and in ways that, as far as dating and maybe even getting laid goes, will keep you not being engaged, being overly defensive, and a few other things that aren’t good for you and continues to defeat the purposes at almost every point in your life right now.

    To get a guy interested in you, even sexually, goes a long way to reestablishing your comfort levels with yourself but if he gets the sense that you’re not really interested, well, he’s not gonna be interested and that just doesn’t help anything, does it?

    Being a guy, I don’t have a problem telling you this and at the risk of pissing you off: If we were on a date and no matter what we were talking about I sensed or realized that you’re not engaged or even as interested as you may have initially said, I would have ended the date right then and there, taken you home, and then made an effort to lose your number. It’s one thing to realize that you’re not the guy for her and, as men, we expect that… but when you agree to a date and you’re sitting there and all disconnected – and even looking for any nitpicking thing to fuel your disinterest, well, that sucks and I hate to say this, makes you very unattractive.

    If you don’t give a fuck, how can you expect someone else to give a fuck, Madeline? And if you have reason not to give a fuck – and I’d say that you really do have a few reasons – why are you dating and more so when, again, all you’re really doing is making the guy fail before the date even happens?

    I’m not a fan of women who try to shut themselves completely off from things but I’m thinking that you need some “me time” to get your head screwed back on right enough so that you’re dating for success and not dating to experience self-induced failure and, again, as long as the ghost of Tony continues to haunt you, every man you date has already failed because they will never, ever measure up to Tony.

    And I gotta ask you if this makes any sense and if it serves any of your purposes to keep sabotaging yourself like this. And if you know you’re being “self-destructive” to your own aims and goals, what’s it gonna take for you to stop being your own worst enemy?

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    1. I think you are right, my own disinterest in anyone who isn’t Tony is coming across in ways I probably don’t even realize.

      I say this with nothing but the truth: I want to move on from Tony. I want to reconcile that relationship, take the positives from it and move forward. But my brain and heart are not doing this consistently enough. He still keeps haunting me (perfect way to put it!)

      I need to more consciously make an effort when I choose to go out on a date. Maybe I am nitpicking. I also realize I want things to gel immediately and when they don’t, I get frustrated. Again, that was Tony – we gelled immediately and instantly.

      Everything you said makes sense. I don’t think not dating at all matters much. It’s part of my life and I need to practice this as much as I work towards getting a job or being a better mother.

      I must be self-destructive in ways I don’t even entirely acknowledge. I can sense it but I can’t exactly pinpoint how I let it happen. I used to be very attuned to my audiences (work or play) and have seemed to misplaced that skill n

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      1. If I’m telling you about it, I can see how you’re kicking your own ass; I’m just a guy who has the nerve to tell you that you’re being your own worst enemy in a lot of this.

        Instant gratification is a trap many people fall into; they want it to work perfectly right now rather than to take the time to dissect each other to find, hopefully, more things they can work with together with each other while just taking note of any incompatibilities that will inherently be in everyone.

        No click right off the bat is a deal breaker for a lot of people and, historically, women in particular. We want to rely on that instant chemistry and without understanding – or want to be bothered with – the fact that the needed chemistry can be created if one is willing to take the time to mix things up and see how it turns out.

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      2. I think there needs to be some form of instant chemistry. Not all cylinders have to fire the first time around, but some important ones need to in order to have either party come back for more.

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      3. But it doesn’t always happen, does it? That’s what makes the whole instant gratification thing problematic when dating so relying on it kinda doesn’t make sense… but one can do their best to engage the other person to determine if there can be a click if it doesn’t happen the moment you lay eyes on each other. Doesn’t one have to “look” for that which they may find interesting? If so, how long does it take to find something interesting about someone to make an informed decision? One date? Two?

        You still gotta do what you gotta do; I’m just offering up food for thought; some guys aren’t that forthcoming on a first date since we tend to say stuff that we think is innocent and inoffensive, only to find out that’s not how it was received and we’re kicked to the curb before the date even gets going good. But that doesn’t mean some chemistry can’t be found or established and I maintain that if a woman doesn’t do or say anything to show their real level of interest, most guys aren’t going to do the same thing when they should.

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      4. Well, sure – one’s results will vary and may not match the expected outcome; it’s something most people take as a given since, um, that’s usually the way things work and no matter of our expectations. I think we tend to hold very tightly to the notion that you only get one chance to make a good first impression – which is true – but that it also means that if you don’t make a good first impression, you shouldn’t have a shot at making a more positive impression the second time.

        I get it… don’t necessarily agree with it in every case because not everyone gets it right the first time and this, too, makes dating such a hard thing to do since, in the majority of times, you’re not gonna know what will make a good first impression with someone until you fail to do that and they tell you how you failed to impress them… and if they bother to tell you at all… and they usually don’t.

        Still, you shake it off, take a deep breath, and prepare to re-enter the fray once more, right?

        Right!

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  2. I’m going to give M a pass on whether she sabotaged this date until we hear from her on how the dude followed up. It does sound, M, like while you initially reactively experienced all of your doubts, you worked on this date to remain open-minded and found yourself wanting to see yourself through the next chapter. I don’t think you can work through your past in a vacuum. You get out there, you try again, shit comes up, and you either work through it or you see that you aren’t ready yet. The guy only observed that you seemed disinterested and gave you a chance to clarify. You took the feedback constructively. I empathize because I have a hard time with this, myself. I am curious to know what happened next; it sounds like you had a not-so-great text exchange that ultimately turned you off.

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    1. This is true, I did work hard during this date to remain light, frivolous and open-minded. I had to do it more consciously than ever but I did try. It’s why the man said I was so much better in person. I know he was pleased to meet me. I also did take the feedback to hear because I don’t think he was wrong – I am self-sabotaging but I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is that I’m doing. I don’t think I’m doing it intentionally but something is rising up that my dates are sensing.

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  3. Here is the thing about dating, at least for me. I do it for two reasons. One is the obvious one; to meet people and potentially find someone to have an interesting relationship with. The second is self-discovery, which means that the other party(parties) are actually kind of inconsequential. Whether or not things worked out (or blew up) with this dude, M, you used the experience to discover more about yourself. Dates are a laboratory for us to (a) get experience with new kinds of social interactions and the challenges therein (b) try new experiences that we might have conservatively thought don’t fit with our identity. In all, we confront our value systems and the assumptions we make about ourselves. Esther Perel makes a somewhat radical statement of this same theory, saying that in many cases, affairs allow an individual to further explore themselves (and that it is less about their feelings or investment in the people involved).

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