It’s a date, not marriage.
Humans are pack animals seeking like-minded individuals for our friends and ultimately searching for a soul mate (for however long that might last). We interact with a vast array of people as we try to ascertain who is ‘the one’, the special individual who can compliment your life. Often it can take a number of dates to determine if someone is right for you, if they offer the future you yearn for, or the balance that makes life great. Rarely do you know from one phone call, or even one date, if a person will offer all the things you are seeking. That is the nature of dating; it’s about meeting people, getting to know them and allowing them to get to know you. Only then can decisions be made beyond the immediate here and now.
Recently I got talking to a guy on an app. I had spoken to him before but he had become affronted that I should go to bed without saying ‘goodnight’. It might seem a little extreme but he clearly had manners and deemed it impolite to simply not respond and go to sleep. For a while there was no communication, he was upset. However, he contacted me again after I viewed his profile. Although a little prickly he warmed after some light-hearted chitchat. I was out with a friend and the messages were intermittent between talking with my friend and supping beer. Despite this, the conversation did develop and he eventually asked for my number so that we could message using a different app. I agreed and we exchanged numbers. Again the conversation was easy. Later that day, as I arrived back at home I received a phone call from the same guy; he wanted to talk. The conversation ranged through an array of topics as we got to know one another – it even became jovial at times. He complimented me and requested a date the following day. I agreed.
We chose a lunch date to eat a Sunday roast – not the easiest thing to do when one of you is a vegetarian! I offered to find somewhere for lunch and agreed to meet at 1pm. After 90 minutes on the phone to a guy I had never met, it was time to bring the call to a close; besides, I had the dog to walk. With the leash in one hand and the phone in the other I went through the messages I had received from friends and those I had received on the dating app (where I had first come across the guy in question). I responded to the messages and popped the phone away only for it to buzz in my pocket: a new message. Opening the message I read: ‘Should I be offended you got straight off the phone and back on scruff?’ Clearly I was being tracked! I informed him that I had messages that I was responding to; he was unhappy, telling me ‘I’ll pass on tomorrow’ and telling me it ‘doesn’t look good’ and that he was going to ‘add [me] to the list’. I wasn’t sure if this was Santa’s naughty list and was anticipating receiving no presents on Christmas Day. I was confused. He informed me that he would ‘rather have a lie in’ (until 1pm?) and went on to tell me that ‘[I’d] let [myself] down’. I’m sorry? WTF? I’d let myself down, by what? Responding to the messages of others?
I had evidently stumbled upon one of those guys that feels that agreeing to date makes you exclusive, that a telephone call equates to an engagement and that the date would be confirmation of marriage in God’s eyes. Heck, on date two he’d probably be laying out the clothes I was allowed to wear. By date three there would be a joint bank account with tabs on what I spent and by date four I would have a tag on my leg and a tap on my phone. It sound ludicrous when you put it like this but this is how controlling men work; they seek to monitor and restrict. I had talked with a relative stranger for 90 minutes and agreed on a date but somehow, to talk on the same app where I first encountered him was deemed cheating. I tried to point out the irony as eloquently as I could but sometimes people hear what they want to hear: he accused me of taking the moral high ground. I’m sorry mate but this is a date, it’s not marriage.
Sometimes we stumble across a myriad of people, not always ideal for us, but being mindful of other positions and perspectives is paramount if dating is ever to lead to something more tangible and if we are to grow as individuals. A fixed mindset is reductive to the success of the experience and thus never attractive. Dater beware: sometimes you might be agreeing to more than you realise.