Earlier this week I announced Emma, Kovie, and I would be starting a weekly column for our readers who, like us, are single as fuck and looking for advice and guidance on all matters dealing with love, sex, dating, and relationships. We’ll select one question and publish our answers on Friday. Have a question you’d like to submit to the team? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you! And now, without further ado, #SAF Presents: Vol 1.
“Someone needs to help a sister out. I just moved to a new city and have been going on an average of 1.25 dates per week (5 guys in 4 weeks, #math) with guys I meet online. On two separate occasions it has happened that I have a great first date with a guy. Good conversation, banter, things in common, they always offer to pay the bill, walk/drive me home, and there’s a great kiss at the end of the date. I’ll have a text message exchange with them a day or two after the day, a vague plan is made, and then they just never follow through and blow me off. What am I doing wrong? I’m a pretty good judge of when someone is interested or not, and these guys seem so interested. I’m just confused. The only thing I can think is that I make it clear that sex is off the table on the first date. Is everyone just a bullshitter and really secretly trying to get it in? Should I not even go for the kiss on the first date? Single. As. Fuck.”
Kovie: Girl, this is the ultimate struggle. It’s like one minute you’re thinking, “Yay! I finally met someone who thinks I’m cool and is attracted to me and wants to get to know me and I want to get to know him.” And then in 24 hours, you’re like, “So…#foreveralone again, cool.”
It’s a good thing that you’re straightforward about what you want and don’t want right from the start. It may be disappointing but it weeds out a lot of guys who are just interested in the physical and nothing else. (I’ve written before about why I think casual sex is harmful but that’s a whole other point.) Unfortunately people do bullshit and tell you what you want to hear one minute and the next minute, pull a 180. It happens to all of us. I think the thing to get better at doing is not putting so much weight into what people say, but what they do. Actions do speak louder than words and that includes inactions.
All that being said, I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. It sounds like you are trying to get to know people and “putting yourself out there” (I hate that term but I’ll use it in this case.) I mean this has happened to literally every single girl I know. You like a guy. You think something could happen. Then just like that, he stops communicating. And it’s frustrating as hell because I think most of us just want to know “why,” at the very least. Probably because we think it will give us closure. And maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. But you know what? If you want to ask a guy, “Hey, what happened?” I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea. But be prepared for the answer, whatever it is. Personally, I’m not a big fun of romantic purgatory so I like to extend the courtesy of telling people I am not interested when I’m not. But unfortunately, I haven’t always been on the receiving end of such courtesy. So the mind is left to wonder…
But I think the best thing you can do is keep being upfront and straightforward. Extend people the courtesies that you would like done to you. Not everyone is going to be reciprocal but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still live life up to your own standards. Because at the end of the day, you want someone who respects you and your values. But I get it, people suck. You just have to keep on trucking. #SAF life ain’t easy.
P.S. Every good kiss is about the right moment (with the right person). That one is totally up to you (and the moment).
Emma: First off, if you’re feeling it, always go for the kiss on the first date. I’m not even sure I believe in first dates without kisses. People can try to pretend that chemistry doesn’t need to be discovered right away, but then it’s like – what are you guys even doing? Just going to dinner and being buddies who have no sexual draw or desire to get really close to each other’s faces?
Second, if you’re telling these dudes that sex is off the table and you never hear from them again, that’s all you need to know. They’re assholes. I am the same as you – I try to make it known upfront that this isn’t just a casual hookup, and I’m not that kind of girl. Because of my honesty, I haven’t been called or texted back past a first date. And ya know what? That’s okay. In fact, it’s great. Because you don’t want to continue wasting your precious time with some douche who was looking to pay his way into your pants via a nice, first date dinner. You may want to work on how you tell these guys sex isn’t happening, and what your approach is, but at the end of day, you’re not in the wrong for being so upfront.
Thirdly, if the whole sex thing isn’t the culprit, then you just have to chalk it up to them not actually being that interested. I think it’s admirable you’re in a new city and throwing yourself head first into the dating scene. How else are you to know what’s out there and what the possibilities are? The odds are in your favor, but they’re still odds – finding the one dude who is great and is going to keep calling is tricky, no matter how you approach it. Just keep at it, stay true to yourself and, eventually, you’ll be able to tell a guy sex is off the table on date one (WHICH IS NORMAL AND GREAT), and he’ll love you for it.
Koty: It’s not the first date kiss that’s the problem. You’re setting clear boundaries and expectations by letting them know, ‘hey, I’m not looking for a casual thing.’ You want something that will last. You want a real connection. And that’s great. One of the most important aspects of dating is understanding what it is you want out of your dating life and the people you spend time with romantically. So many people are confused about what they want, they haven’t really thought about it, or they’re bruised from past relationships and unwilling to take the leap with someone new. They want to have sex because it’s fun, of course, but they aren’t willing or interested in developing anything further. They want to linger in the in between, in the grey space, without ever taking a risk or getting emotionally involved. It’s very frustrating.
Too often guys hear a girl say ‘I’m not looking for just sex’ and they either think one of two things: 1 – That the girl doesn’t really mean it. Or 2 – They confuse not wanting casual sex with wanting something serious right away. So they bolt, leaving the girl confused and wondering what she did wrong.
At the same time you have to consider the idea that maybe it wasn’t about sex. Maybe these guys just decided they weren’t interested in pursuing anything further with you. And that’s okay too. I’ve gone on great dates before with people I genuinely liked during the date, even kissed at the end, to later think about and realize that, for whatever reason I couldn’t see it working between us. I could have said yes to a second date but I didn’t see the point in continuing any further when ultimately, my gut instinct was already telling me this wasn’t the guy for me. It just happens sometimes.
Understand you’re not alone. Nearly all of my single friends are dealing with the exact same issue. Keep doing what you’re doing – going on dates, being upfront about what you want, and sticking to your boundaries. In a new city, with as many dates as you’re going on, eventually you’ll find someone who is looking for just the same thing as you. And when you find him you’ll be so glad you didn’t settle.