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I know you’re sitting there asking yourself (or asking me) Um, doesn’t 1+1=2? And before I answer, no I didn’t fail math, I promise. But in some cases, 1 simply is a greater number. Let’s get this right out in the open, I am not opposed to playing the field or casual dating/open relationships. As long as honesty is involved. But, in the case of what I call, partner hoarding, I’m completely opposed.
If you are starting to date someone, and it’s becoming serious, the question becomes, when and how do you tell your other suitors goodbye. Or more importantly, when in your new romances, do you stop looking for eligible bachelor’s? There isn’t an exact science for when it’s time to delete those dating apps or tell those Snapchat buddies no more sexting (is that still a thing?)
I came upon this type of predicament recently, when my recent paramour, we’ll call him The Magician, disappeared, like smoke, without a word, and I had to ask myself, am I supposed to date again? Do I wait? And how honest is too honest for a new potential suitor before it sends them packing? Do I verbal vomit that my most recent eligible bachelor just up and vanished? What the hell does that say about me?!
In my experience, for my own self preservation, I play things pretty close to the chest, I always have, I don’t show my hand till I think I found someone worthy of knowing more in general. Not everyone feels this way, it’s simply a matter of choice. But recently, having just had a very short lived, whirlwind roller-coaster romance, which seemed to be headed towards disaster, I flirted with someone else, very casually without any intentions. I wasn’t up front with them about what else I had going on, given I wasn’t even sure what ground I stood on, if it was on or off (turns out it was both on and off again! Dizzy yet?) I wasn’t up front because I wasn’t sure there was a point to opening a book about something that seemed closed, and I didn’t want to start a fire when there wasn’t any need to burn the forest down.
My best friend warned me “this guy is flirting with you, he’s interested and you need to pay attention” and I brushed it off, thinking, “it’s not that serious, he won’t care that I have an on again off again thing and besides…we’re just flirting.” But what if that was reversed? How do I feel when someone isn’t honest with me? The answer is hurt. And pissed. So pissed. When my Magician again showed back up, I thought “See, OK, this is why I waited and I can explain this at some point to Mr. Flirty because well, we’re really just friends who say somewhat colored things to each other once in a while with no intentions.” Until once again, The Magician disappeared, and I thought, who’s the fool here? Me for playing with fire by stringing someone along and being dishonest, while I wait for someone to show up and stay committed, who clearly can’t. Or blowing off the chance with someone who wants to spend time with me.
Don’t be me. I thought about why I had never said a word to Mr. Flirty, maybe because I liked the attention, maybe because I sort of knew Mr. Magician would vanish again and there would be no point. Maybe because I didn’t want to lose either one just yet. But no answer is acceptable. Don’t hoard lovers out of fear of losing one, because in the end you’ll lose them all. Hold onto the one who will treat you well, even if it doesn’t work out, and if neither is that, then 1 still is the greater number. You.