Stumbling through Bumble, Part 2: An Ode to the Ghosters
Some time ago, my dearest babes, I wrote a piece on my ten weeks I spent on Bumble - the variety of amusing dates and men I encountered, the places we went, its role in acclimating to a new city, and naturally, the hilarity of the entire concept of online dating. I went on at least one date with about ten different guys, and invested a good bit of time on the experience as I went about ambitiously wading my way through my new city life. But I wanted to round it all up with a “Part 2,” my sequel of sorts, sharing the latter half of the timeline of these relationships eventually fizzling (all of which - spoiler - did).
Having taken place several months ago, and with none of these friendships or dating prospects lasting longer than six weeks, thankfully I was not emotionally invested enough to be left heartbroken by anyone (in other words, I fortuitously sailed right on out of the dating app world relatively unscathed).
For those of you either considering a dating app, or simply fishing for a bit of entertainment, my hope is that our readers could gain something of substance from me sharing my experiences. Before leaping into a new venture, my preference is always to hear the endorsement or experience of my own friends who’ve tried it first, so why not keep it going here for all of you lovely readers of ours?
Each relational conclusion fell into one of the following three categories: the silent drop-off, the “WUWU” (AKA the “what’s up with us” chat. Do we love? Because I love.), and the Jekyll/Hyde-ers.
The Silent Drop-Off, aka the “Ghosters.”
These, as all you twenty- and thirty-something coeds sharing many of my same dating woes might have already guessed, were by far the most common occurrence among this group of lovely males I met. I’ll start by saying I have mixed feelings about “ghosting,” or the controversial act of dropping into complete radio silence with someone you’ve been engaging in some level of pursuit, be it physical or emotional. On the one hand, I get its appeal: it’s noncommittal, spares both parties of face-first hurt and discomfort, and in some uncommon cases, it may not actually be necessary to have that DTR chat (when, for instance, there’s an obvious lack of interest in both parties that can remain non-verbally acknowledged, but still unspoken).
These ran the whole gamut. Many of them were dates that went really well, in the sense that two people met and shared a fun, light-hearted, and heck, dare I call it “giggly” few hours together, while still knowing from the start it won’t be going anywhere, but still enjoying the person’s company for an evening.
Others, with whom I’d genuinely thought things were going great, were tougher to stomach. There was one guy in particular - a handsome and shy Midwesterner/homegrown roots type who was also new to the city - who took the lead beyond the rest, and seemed like a real catch - my type, physically and character-wise, with a tall and athletic frame (six foot six, yes please hunnie!) and an endearingly boyish face. He reached out to me the most, seemed the most keen in hanging out in fun bursts of spontaneous moments, and even happened to move to my neighborhood shortly after we met (yes, you crazies, it was 100% a coincidence!) But all it took to scare him off was lovingly calling him out for a few behaviors I had had enough of after six weeks of hanging out and going on dates - noncommittal making of plans, dropping by last minute, failing to communicate intentionality, and however unknowingly, disrespecting my time. After that conversation (which ended in a “yeah cool cool cool totally” response over the phone) that one also dropped like a fly, around Halloween. After months of radio silence, he reached out during the holidays to wish me and my family a Merry Christmas, apologizing for dropping off and claiming cell phone complications due to getting a work phone. Yeah, sometimes I forget that grocery stores exist and so I go weeks or months without eating. Because #logic.
To my chagrin, I actually only had two of these conversations. Then again, boys who rely on digital platforms to meet girls may not exactly be top of their class in terms of communicational savvy. After all, there’s a reason you’ll find many a guy’s bio tagline to say something to the extent of, “If anyone asks, we met at the grocery store…” Most folks don’t tout around the fact that they’re using dating apps (and yet here I am, writing a published piece on my doing exactly that...the irony is not missed here.)
The first of these was my breaking it off, the second, an amicably mutual end. With the first guy, I’m not proud to admit that I had at first [attempted] being the ghoster, naively thinking I could let it drop without much ado, even after he reached out following our first date asking for a second (which was a bit unkind, I now realize in hindsight). But then when he followed up inquisitively wondering where I’d disappeared, I told him point blank I appreciated him taking me out but we wouldn’t be seeing each other again. This one pushed back, demanding answers and closure, and a timeline, for heaven’s sake, asking when I thought I’d be ready to see people again. I said indefinitely, and that did the trick. Another one (definitively) bit the dust.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Robert Louis Stevenson gothic novella, The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, it’s a reference to the story of a scientist’s ominous inner battle between his own true self and that of his evil alter ego. While the parallel to this lively chapter of my dating life is a tad darker than I needed, the overlap in seeing different versions in the same people remains. Such was the case with one guy, for example, with whom I’d been hitting it off really well (or so I thought…) He pursued me with obvious interest in getting to know me better, came up with a variety of clever dates for us (including a kombucha making class and axe throwing! Step it up, gentlemen, because that level of creativity will 100% woo yo’ woman), and was never shy with paying me very sweet compliments, from my smile to my blue eyes to my silly personality. Smooth sailing it went for about five weeks. The only potential flag I noticed was that we both were comfortable only talking once or twice a week, which may have indicated its eventual demise.
So one night he texted me to ask what my plans were that upcoming weekend. I told him I had plans already, but would he be free to hang out Tuesday night? To that he made a cheeky remark, quipping that he “was only good enough for my Tuesday nights,” to which I replied that “nobody just gets handed over my weekend time willy nilly,” with a wink, in what I thought was a playful way. The conversation ended there, because he never responded, which seemed out of character until that point, so I reached out the next week to casually check in and see if he was okay. He said he was but clearly wasn’t, as his replies were suddenly curt and noncommittal, and because he’d had an upcoming international trip, that was his excuse for claiming he was suddenly too busy to hang. After a smooth “Let’s do something when I get back,” I never heard from the jabroney again. Evidently, he seemed bitter that I hadn’t yielded over a Friday night for him after a couple of weeks in, but to each their own! We weren’t a good fit after all.
As always, I find myself fascinated by human social behavior and relational dynamics. Self-awareness and studying other people (big fan of the Enneagram) can only serve to help you, and enrich every type of relationship you have for the rest of your life.
What are some dating experiences you were able to learn from?
Cover image via Match Me Canada