Guest Column: Dating Online Series. Expectations? Part II by Ms. Jennifer 

I get it. Expectations fuck me up…they can fuck any of us up.  I’d be way happier if I stopped having any.  Just go with the flow and see what, if anything, happens. Like I called Tony a few hours ago.  We had been texting VERY sporadically over the last month and he asked to exchange contact info. I invited him to send me his cell, which he did, and I called.  He was busy and said he would call me back.  Will he blow me off or does he really plan to call me back?   Who knows….but the stakes are really low.  Epilogue:   He sent me a text at 10:00 pm asking if I was still up.  I immediately responded “yes.” and then he immediately didn’t respond.   Twenty minutes later I asked, “Did you want to chat?” and he immediately didn’t respond to that either.  What was the point of that?  Why open the door only to not be on the other side?

This has been a bad week.   I flew to Chicago (where I spent my entire adult life) to pick up my car that has been rusting in Chicago.  You may recall this summer I went to my ex-boyfriend’s house while he was off on another grand adventure to get my clothing, but I didn’t get it all.  When I picked up my car I let my ex know that I would be stopping by to load my car with whatever treasures I had left. It was all business until I got into “my” old abode.  He wanted to know what time I would be there so he could leave and make sure he didn’t see me.

It wasn’t until I was inside his loft that my expectations started hemorrhaging.  The dude has never apologized to my face (he told me he started fucking someone new over the phone the day before my birthday…Happy Birthday!)   So as I was going up and down three flights of stairs with boxes of books and papers, I sent him a text “do you ever intend to apologize to my face?”  Of course, there was more, like “how are you honoring our five years we were together when you simply replace me like changing out a used tire?”

I did not expected a reply, that’s how David rolls… he withholds (unless he’s in a new relationship and then he likes to seduce).  The crazy thing is he did this exact thing to his wife so why would I (and now my replacement) think we are so special that he won’t do this to us?   I guess I EXPECTED after he devastated his wife and two kids that he wouldn’t do it again. I was wrong. 

I departed and drove to Michigan for work and the next day I had to drive 14 hours to NOLA.  It was a lot. I was already pretty (that’s a lie, let’s say totally as in 100 percent)  burnt out from taking care of my dad.  About two hours after I left he sent me another text about how I “disrespected him” because I got his stairs dirty tracking in snow. I will not tell you what I said to him after that (unless you write me a love letter begging me to tell you).

And I realized part of the way he justifies himself is to find fault with me so I deserved what I got. His approach is best to smear your accuser. I told him we were now “even.”  Why hadn’t God or Tinder sent me someone so I could be having a passionate love affair that would have been a good antidote, but my two potential lovers had run away before we could really get started.  

You recall Juan.  He was looking for a LTR (long term relationship), but after going on a few very fun dates we started sextexting after our dates and he was all about it and “couldn’t wait to be inside me,” but wait I still can’t have any expectations like that exposure or intimacy is nothing more than a fleeting moment and don’t expect anything else.  No, Sir!  He told me it wasn’t that I showed my naked self to him, it was then he started to feel my expectations and he just came out of a horrible relationship so I helped him sort out what he doesn’t want (although he doesn’t say what he DOES wants).  I suggested we meet and discuss it.  He agrees and then the day we are to meet he gets the “flu.”   I believe him, but then almost two weeks goes by and he never contacts me.   

I have been on a lot of single dates.  It’s not easy to find this chemistry. Why is he willing to give it up so easily?  He says it’s not because I showed him my nakedness, but right after that my expectations rise. I think about this… yes, it’s true, but when you’re vulnerable with someone isn’t that natural that you feel more connected and therefore you start to expect more, not less? My backing  off (after his flu) and my earlier suggestion to meet…produced no results.  

It’s time I have to tell him I’m sad, but that sounds like too much so I dumb it down to “I’m bummed out,” but the truth is it goes deeper than that. His reaction stirs something inside of me. Instead of opening up more I feel ashamed. Vulnerability doesn’t lead to greater engagement, it led to him running the opposite direction. Too much too soon, but he encouraged it and after I open up (“spread your lips”) he drops me. I can’t blame him for my shame, but I regret now showing him my treasure box like I made a mistake, like he lost interest after getting what he wanted or he’s judging me, but I don’t really know that.  It’s just the old stereotype if you give a guy what he wants he will “lose interest” rather than being intrigued with my opening or I’m a bad girl good for tantalizing, but he wants a good girl.  On top of that, I seem to have problems moving on. I need to swipe more quickly and I’m not sure why I can’t keep up the pace. It’s like when I opened I wanted/expected more, and when he opened he takes off.  

Part of the problem is I don’t allow myself to go after what I want because I mostly don’t know.  I wish Juan would have responded.  I miss making love and being touched, but this comes with expectations.  So I don’t understand anymore what we owe each other, if anything, if we share our minds and/or bodies.  And can we separate out our bodies from the rest of us especially our hearts?  Can I just fuck and have fun without complicating things?  Even if the agreement is simply to fuck can people actually do that and keep it that clean (or are we lying to ourselves so we can simply get off)?   This shit, even with agreements, is messy.   Or maybe it’s just about my mind trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense or thinking there are actually rules that I should follow…Anyway, at the time it was sexy, hot, vulnerable and real, but now I feel cold and confused.  This is the part that isn’t remotely fun.   

I don’t get to know. And that is my mantra and the guide.  I want to know so I can anticipate and protect myself, but that’s impossible.  Which reminds me of someone with whom I gave my phone number.  I checked out HIS expectations.  We haven’t even met or actually talked on the phone and here’s our text conversation: He reaches out to me with a “how are you” and I respond the same day.  Then he response to my “how was your day” (I know this shit is deep) one day later…. so far so good, except when I don’t respond four hours and 12 minutes later I get a second “how are you?” and I don’t respond.   He’s sent his photo and something about it, well, looks angry/tough ass.   Nothing open or kind in that face and so I don’t respond and then a week later at 12:31 in the morning I get this message: “You know you gave me your number I reached out several times after that without a response.  What’s the point of you giving me your number?  I don’t get it.”

I respond immediately: “Sorry.  I don’t like it either when people don’t follow through.  I have a lot going on dealing with my dad and my reserves are limited.” I should have left it at that, but then added “Also you never know who is really interested.”

“That doesn’t make sense.  I constantly (seriously twice in one day?) reached out to you online then I called and texted (not true we never talked on the phone).  What more do you need?  The only way we know anything is through consistency.” 

I try again (why?): “I don’t mean you personally I am talking about online dating in general.  I am sorry if you got frustrated (I am a social worker), but there are a lot of up and downs with online dating.   Anyway, I’m am now responding.  But the truth is I am not super available now because of my family situation.  It’s late.  Again sorry for the frustration.”

“Well this is what I do know. You’re still online and obviously someone is getting your time.  I’m not going to continue to push for getting to know you when it takes two.  You only responding because I actually happen to see you online.  Other than me reaching out with consistency I be just like all the rest of you act like you interested in just to blow off.  I never asked for super availability.  Life has all of us tied up at some point.  It is however nice to know someone is thinking of us.  Being that you saying it’s late it is my check out correct?  Thanks for your time and I won’t be contacting you again.   (Thank you, Jesus!) . And then for good measure he throws in: “Women like you should get off-line and stop with the lies and wasting people’s time.  You too damn old to be acting like a 15-year old school-girl.”

What exactly does this guy think I owe him after what?  We had two “how are you” (which doesn’t get my attention particularly) and I get to change my  mind, but this guy knows who I am based on our interaction? My expectations were if I responded he would soften, but he only used the info to confront me. 

Maybe I should have been more direct: “Stop fucking stalking me.”  

He sent me another message yesterday: “I wish you didn’t play so many games.”

How did my ex manage to meet someone on Tinder and get in a full relationship unbeknownst to me and I meet this dude?  My ex is a serial liar and cheat and I’m wondering if there is Karma?  Look what Mr. Stalker thinks I owe him…. someone I’ve never even had a conversation with and look what my ex things he owes me?  How can I survive in this insanity?  And Juan who “can’t wait to be inside you,” suddenly goes AWAL with a message saying, “it was the expectations that made me realized what I didn’t want.   I suck at communication.  I really enjoyed our time, and I felt alive and sexual.  Given enough time, it would happen, and then it could get difficult.”  And what’s wrong with that–isn’t that a real relationship means– real shit comes up?   He hasn’t changed his profile (it still says he’s looking for a long-term relationship), but I don’t see the point of mentioning that since it’s never soothing to feel like you are being stalked. I did respond saying that the only way we would become lovers is if we BOTH wanted that, but not surprisingly (he sucks at communication, remember) he didn’t respond.   

Swipe.  But I am having a problem letting go of this shit.  Perhaps there is something wrong with me.  I wake up thinking about my ex who suggested I might want to come while he’s out of town for Thanksgiving   I don’t think our issue was “not fitting” (that’s the words my ex used to explain why we weren’t in a relationship anymore) it’s actually about effort, but my ex, nor Juan, are interested in effort– at least not with me.  Nothing personal. 

We have to be more careful with each other, but as careful as I was with the Stalker Dude nothing mattered and info (“family complications”) was used against me.  Should I say just said I changed my mind after looking at your ugly, scary fucking face?   I know longer know what we owe each other (and don’t get me started on what we owe animals). This reminds me of the “consenting adult” argument like everything is cool as long as the adults agree (like everything is so clean and clear), but just like expectations it’s never really clear (well, we knowing lying to your partner is bad) but in general do we know ourselves well enough so we can actually be transparent?

I spoke to Henry (remember him?) about this. He said showing my pussy did not obligate Juan to do anything, but keep in mind this is the guy who lives independently and is non-monogamous.  These rich, privilege men can afford to say “no one owes them anything” because they can buy whatever they want.  Their MO (modus operandi) is “I don’t need anyone,” but mine seems to be the opposite, that’s, “I need someone” and “you owe me something” isn’t working. Surprise!  Maybe energetically they pick up my neediness and run the other way.

When does wanting connection, cross the invisible line and become needy?  And what about this bullshit of having no expectations… I text him back saying, “sounds more like fantasy or something rather superficial like a fuck and out the door” without any expectations….and besides, people have them, right or wrong, all the time. 

Maybe I should just get on with my own life and really settle into the unknown and I don’t mean in a pity party way, but just like accepting reality.  My energy and reserves are limited so maybe I need to step out for a while or REALLY reduce my expectations, but I thought (at least initially) they were already pretty low.  For example, If I go on a great date that really doesn’t mean much of anything except those few hours we spent together. It’s when something actually happens beyond “how are you” when there is sex/intimacy involved that is when I start having expectations. Even Juan had expectations that things would get difficult so he cuts it off before we can even get to the mess.   But along with the mess comes something wonderful, but it’s takes a certain amount of effort to get there.   

So should I keep investing my time in online dating?  Today, the answer is no.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  And, if I was teetering on the edge, I just met some super, hot guy at the bar a few nights ago and we exchanged numbers.  This never happens.  I don’t get approached at the bar even when I go alone.   We met up yesterday.  First he was late, and then before we met it had gotten weird over the phone.  He wanted to meet at his house so I told him straight up I didn’t want to do that and we wouldn’t be having sex.  I wanted to know him better.  Every time I responded with a boundary, he told me to stop playing games.   I thought I was being very direct.  

The night went from bad to worse, when I got in his car right in front of the bar, but without saying anything he started to drive off but I opted out. It felt uncomfortable. He later texted me and we met up again (why do I insist on thinking things will be different?) and clearly this boy/man is used to getting his way.  He’s seems to be a collector of women for one night stands. He drove a Mercedes and said he was in the entertainment industry and dropped working the SuperBowl. Couldn’t this guy just slow down and dance WITH ME?  Back to the drawing board.