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I just had a date with a man this past weekend. We met on any-old-dating-site.com (not a real dating site). We had wonderful conversations emailing several times a day. What a man this was, sensing my innermost fears and reassuring me, praising me etc. His emails were thoughtfully and beautifully written. Then I met him this past weekend. His face looked like his picture, as in the one picture he posted, but the rest of him was disheveled. He looked and acted much older than his stated age. I was deeply disappointed. We both decided that our chemistry didn’t transfer to real life. I wonder if other women have had this experience. Great on paper but that’s all.
Great on paper but that’s all
Liza (not her real name) shared this experience and gave me permission to share her story with a wider audience. She goes on to say, ” I forgot to mention that this man’s emails held a lot of healing for me having come from an abusive marriage. In fact, I never knew that a man could be gentle, kind and vulnerable.”
Liza doesn’t say how long they emailed before meeting. Nor does she directly mention whether she thinks he lied about his age-though it’s certainly hinted at. This experience was a mixed blessing for Liza. Once she gets past the hurt, she acknowledges the emotional boost she got from corresponding with this man. The sense of loss, if you will, is great because the thought of finding such a wonderful person seems so close, then ‘pouf’ he or she turns out not to be that person for us.
Can We Define Attraction? Can We Create It?
Liza’s story is a perfect example of chemistry as it relates to online dating. We feel attraction in many ways. A smile or someone’s facial features attract us at the very beginning. A strong profile can give us a sense of someone–I’ve been known to swoon over a cleverly written dating profile. Once two people connect at that point the next step is the phone conversation. An awkward phone call or one that goes terribly wrong can end the whole thing quickly. But a good call isn’t necessarily an indication of how well you’ll do face-to-face.
So, you’ve made it this far. You’ve had good phone conversations and feel that you somehow ‘know’ each other. Then you meet in person. And, for whatever reason there is no chemistry. It can be a small thing that throws off attraction. Maybe he’s wearing clothes that smell unclean or he’s got a tremor that may just be age-related or indicative of something else. She talks incessantly or eats with her mouth open. If the chemistry isn’t there you can’t fake it.
You only have 2 options, as I see it. If you’re ambivalent you can set up a second date just to make sure it’s not a one-time issue. Though bad manners and cleanliness issues aren’t going to change. I’ve done the second date only to confirm (and kick myself for not listening to intuition) the lack of attraction. Your other option is to acknowledge the absence of chemistry. If you don’t feel it then he probably doesn’t either. So, be graceful and write a nice note and let him know that you just don’t see it working.
Regroup and Move On
It didn’t work. You’re disappointed. This it the 1oth no-go in the last few months. You’re hurt and wondering if something is wrong with you. Been there?
It Is Not About You.
We call it Chemistry for a reason. It’s like magic–unfathomable, mysterious and something you can’t just create on demand (can you tell I’m not a scientist?). It would not have been different if you’d worn the red blouse instead of the green one. It’s not about the color of your hair or the fact that you like 5 packets of sugar in your tea. Or laugh like Fran Dresher–well, that one may be a factor.When it happens it happens. And, when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s that simple.
What you can do is take a few moments to reframe the event. Don’t make it a miserable story. Find something positive in it. Liza’s take-away is one of healing. She now knows to move more quickly towards the first date rather than lingering over phone chats. I took my first couple of miserably wrong dating experiences and wrote short stories, which led to blogging and then to The Diva of Dating.
Every encounter teaches us something. Online dating is discouraging when it doesn’t work. Exhilarating when it does. Don’t give up. Take a deep breath, laugh about what just happened and keep trying.
Here’s a post I wrote last year on A Woman’s Page (now Walker J Thornton) that you might enjoy: Online Dating and Chemistry:How To Know When It’s Right