As a single girl living in Boston, I am cursed (or gifted, depending on your perspective) with the pressure of finding a companion. I bought a cat to help fight the lonely blues, but he is only good for the cuddling. Finding a man these days is generally an easy task with social media, dating apps, single meet-ups, and such. Nonetheless, it is the psychology of dating that throws me through a loop. As a psych major and the daughter of a therapist, I like to think I am good at reading people. I can sort through and categorize the bachelors as either charming or straight out creepy with ease. If someone passes the initial judgment, then we enter what I like to call the “Five Date Series”.
The first five dates, no matter how drawn out, provide the time to ask questions, flirt, and test the waters. I like to cover all the bases I would for a short story: Who? What? When? Where? Why? If no red flags appear after my W’s are explored, then the series continues on.
Personally, I am giddy about planning dates. Maybe it is the suppressed romantic in me, but there is nothing like a well-thought-out date running smoothly. Museum of Fine Arts followed by a light afternoon lunch. Sunday brunch prior to a walk around Boston Common. A steak dinner leading up to a film showing at the independent theatre. Every detail is meticulously planned—starting with the shoes and ending with the goodnight kiss. This period of time is fueled by adrenaline, anxiety, and hopefully, lust. It is what lies after Date #5 that has really left me puzzled lately.
These days, male millennials have developed a very, bad habit. They appear to have every trait of Mr. Right, until the prospect of Date #6 is hanging in the air. At this point in the dating series, both parties usually know where things are heading and have developed a solid game plan. The behavior I have seen lately is the result of a man deciding that things just are not working out (for whatever reason). Most adults, would communicate these feelings delicately and present the logic behind the decision. However, the new pattern I have noticed causes the male party to simply ghost. No calls, no texts, not even a ‘like’ on my latest Instagram post. For days, weeks, months, I simply never hear from him again. Sometimes I find myself wondering if he had an unfortunate, head-on encounter with a bus.
Honestly, I would prefer a feeble excuse over avoidance.
I think this type of rejection is especially hard. Over the course of five dates, I build expectations around the budding–well actually, wilting–relationship. If I really like the guy, I have visions of rom-coms dance in my head. If I feel the need to move on, then I prepare and rehearse a heartfelt speech. Howbeit, I never get the opportunity to perform. Instead, I impatiently wait for days and days until I am so pale my roommates remark, “Wow, Sam, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!”