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Online Dating: The good, the bad and the ugly

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@Lantern7, I think you've gotten some good suggestions about your profile in general. I do think it's important to include deal-breakers, such as smoking, up front, so that you don't end up meeting up with someone whose personal characteristics are just not going to work for you. I agree, though, that the profile needs to include some positive characteristics regarding you, so that it's not only about what you don't want but also what kind of person you are and what kind of person you're looking for. I'm not currently interested in dating (way the hell too much stuff going on both professionally and personally right now), but I might have a different attitude in a couple of years. So I'm reading this thread and taking notes (at least mentally).

As far as I know, I have relatively few deal-breakers. Someone who doesn't read is going to be a non-starter for me. Someone whose political views are radically different from mine is only going to annoy the fuck out of me, so I won't subject myself to that; similarly, I'm not interested in anyone who's looking for a religious person. Physical attributes are on a case-by-case basis, and not something I can really articulate other than there are people I'm attracted to and people I'm not, although those people may have similar physical attributes. However, I did discover something about myself about 10-12 years ago that I'm not proud of. A guy I was working with became interested in going out with me, and I agreed to a couple of dates. For myself, physically, when I was much younger many people considered me to be extremely attractive; now that I'm older, not so much. I need to lose some weight, which I'm working on for health reasons, but while I'm definitely not at my peak appearance, neither do I make small children shriek in fright. But this guy I dated a couple of times had also been very attractive when younger; I saw the photos. However, he'd been in a pretty bad aircraft accident with extensive burns over his face and arms. So, there were parts of his face and head where some things had literally just melted/burned off, such as part of his earlobe, and there was extensive scarring. Even though on an intellectual level, I could tell myself that his physical appearance should not make any difference to me, on a visceral level, I just couldn't get past the scars and so forth. I felt bad about it, but made it clear to him after that first couple of dates that a romantic/sexual relationship wasn't going to work. I couched it in terms of other challenges; essentially at that time, my daughter had just been diagnosed as bipolar and I had to focus on finding a good doctor and the right combo of meds and therapy for her, so even if I had really clicked with this guy, things would have been complicated. But that experience taught me that even if you're not thrilled that behavior or characteristic ABC is a deal-breaker for you, it's better to be honest with yourself about the existence of those deal-breakers and up front with potential partners, while not being rude.  

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16 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

The "redacted" stuff was because of politics; I was informed by two mods that I had brought up that subject unintentionally, so I had to post "REDACTED." Seemed to be a good idea at the time.

Maybe I could bring up the positive trend SI is taking. Not politically . . . moving away from Guidos and Mafia kids on reality shows to vampires on faux documentaries.

Lol!  we figured.  I did not, however, realize the brackets were specific to ptv and contained in your profile.  I still vote for a mention, just lead with the funny.

I highlighted the portion in her book where Michelle Obama admitted that watching housewives franchises was her guilty pleasure because it allowed her to shut her brain down and just relax and sent it to each of my exes who judged me harshly for it.   Now, your future wife, who looks like Angelina Jolie and likes rock climbing and George Lucas movies, may also loooooove the Mob Wives series, but not for reasons you've imagined.   Dont. Block. Your. Blessing.  😉

12 hours ago, BookWoman56 said:

neither do I make small children shriek in fright

LMAO!!!!  If you ever get to this point, try and remember that they're also known to flip the fuck out upon seeing Santa, so their judgment isn't to be trusted (generally).

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@Lantern7 I actually love @ZaldamoWilder's version as the intro paragraph for a profile. 

I try to think of a dating profile like a resume. The headline, the first thing you read, should be a summary of yourself. I like that Z's version throws in the Weaknesses line, which totally makes the women reading it think about themselves while learning about you. A VERY solid idea.  I may have to steal it for myself.

My first paragraph for Match goes like this: I'm smart, funny, fun, and possess rare emotional intelligence for someone with a full set of man skills.  I see the humor in most situations. Not the most interesting man in the world, but gotta be in the top 5%-10% easily. 

If my active brain surgeon shenanigans don't work out, I'm going to figure out how to change that up with a weaknesses line in there.

Speaking of brain surgeons, did you guys know that when people engage in synchronized activities like some sports, video games, and exercise classes at the gym, our brains release Ocytoxin, the same bonding hormone our bodies produce when having sex, cuddling, playing with your dog, and (especially) during childbirth?  That's something I learned last night. 

I'm still not going to take any classes at the gym, regardless of the idea that it may make me bond with other people. As a matter of fact, that's probably the last thing I want to happen. Blech, people

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Speaking of brain surgeons, did you guys know that when people engage in synchronized activities like some sports, video games, and exercise classes at the gym, our brains release Ocytoxin, the same bonding hormone our bodies produce when having sex, cuddling, playing with your dog, and (especially) during childbirth?  That's something I learned last night. 

Oxytocin?

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2 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

TYPO!

Heh. I'm clearly NOT a brain surgeon.  Yes, Oxytocin

I’m sure oxytocin is a fine thing when produced naturally by the body. However, when it is given via IV without the patient’s knowledge or consent to induce labor, it can be horrible. The OB/GYN who was on call, rather than the one I had been seeing throughout my pregnancy, decided to induce labor after I had been admitted to the hospital for what turned out to be false labor, on the grounds that since the admission paperwork had already been done, no need to make the staff repeat it for real labor in a day or two. Because the doctor didn’t bother to ask me before having the oxytocin added to my IV, he didn’t know that there was a strong family history of problems with it causing convulsions and extremely rapid labor and delivery. Not to mention the problem that it causes extremely painful contractions, but they won’t give you anything for pain because that would slow down the effects of the oxytocin. Long story short, I did not get the epidural I was supposed to because my body decided to go into turbocharged contractions; the staff were literally sprinting down the hall with me on a gurney yelling at me not to push. Tried in the delivery room to give me a local anesthetic but missed and put my right leg to sleep. My blood pressure spiked and I had to stay in the hospital a couple of extra days, because of the oxytocin. These days, I would have sued the damn doctor but this happened when the mindset was still pretty much that patients were just supposed to passively accept the doctors’ decisions. 

Anyway, the upshot of that experience is that just seeing the word “oxytocin” makes me cringe. So now that it’s associated in my head with gym classes, yet another reason to do any exercising at home, even if that reduces my chances of meeting someone in the future for dating. 

Edited by BookWoman56
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Yikes @BookWoman56!

She didn't go too far into it with me, but I was under the impression that zumba related oxytocin wasn't particularly powerful. 

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I feel like stuff about oxytocin and dopamine gets overblown by pop science or social scientists trying to take their boring research mainstream by dumbing it down for the average person. I don't doubt that there are any number of things that result in elevated levels of certain hormones and chemicals but it doesn't take away your willpower or critical thinking skills. Like, I don't believe that women bond so deeply after sex that they lose all rationality and judgment or that any kind of bonding/tribalism based on politics or sports is so intense that you can't still determine right from wrong and break away from the group think. 

Read something like Inferior by Angela Saini for just a sliver of how personal bias affects (primarily social science/anthropological) research. To bring it back to dating, I used to love hearing about all that pop science stuff like what's in Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes by Jena Pincott. But even when there is a kernel of truth, I think it's made into a bigger thing... that curiously seems to reinforce gender roles a lot of the time. (insert side eye gif here)

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Do you all really prefer a profile that reads like a braggart's sales pitch? I always ignore those, because I don't like people like that in real life.

I look for someone who seems genuine and real, not airbrushed off the back of a fantasy novel.

It's probably better that I'm not actively looking right now, because I might be too irritable for dating.

I do like humor, though.

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57 minutes ago, possibilities said:

Do you all really prefer a profile that reads like a braggart's sales pitch? I always ignore those, because I don't like people like that in real life.

Nope. If you can't convey an everyday accomplishment without it sounding like a humblebrag you're going to get on my nerves real quick.

Overcome a horrible accident that left you unable to walk when you were a kid to become a marathon runner? That's amazing and should shout it from the rooftops. Graduate from with a BA from a run of the mill college after having a mundane (compared to the rest of us who are 'a little messed up but alright')? Not brag worthy. 

I also can't stand profiles that are pretentious or only list classic lit or obscure bands. I can appreciate classic lit for what it is but if you look down on spy novels or dystonia teen novels (Hunger Games, etc...) you're going to get on my nerves real quick. Same with music. You like random unheard of bands? Great! Introduce me to them. Look down on what's on every radio station? Byeeeeeeeeee

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@possibilities It's not really bragging so much as the word count and the thoughtfulness. It's a low bar out here for genuine and real and I also get the need for some privacy. These are public profiles that anyone can see. So no, I'm not going to say anything unprofessional or talk about mental health in a big way whether or not I thought that would be a turn off to a potential match. 

I'm in a sea of kink profiles and various allusions to hooking up from wanting to "keep things casual" to "not looking for anything serious" to "looking for someone fun." And the guys who do write something are all "easygoing" and "into fitness" and "hardworking." Everyone is so damn generic that if someone takes the time to write something real, it stands out. I've said this before but have interests that are not Marvel movies, Harry Potter, anime, or books that people primarily read in high school. It's fine if you like those things but if your profile is meant to spark a connection, telling me that you like the most popular things and giving me a generic description that makes you seem like everyone else doesn't really help with that.

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2 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Everyone is so damn generic that if someone takes the time to write something real, it stands out.

I agree with this 100%. “Looking for my one true love/partner in crime/an honest man” “I’m as comfortable staying home as dressing up for a night on the town” “I like [doing stuff] and [going places]”  “I love to laugh!”  

Ugh. No shit? You are not willing to consider a dishonest man with no sense of humor?  

And I think there is a pretty easy line to spot between braggart’s sales pitch and confident & self aware. The latter is super attractive. 

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7 hours ago, theredhead77 said:

I also can't stand profiles that are pretentious or only list classic lit or obscure bands. I can appreciate classic lit for what it is but if you look down on spy novels or dystonia teen novels (Hunger Games, etc...) you're going to get on my nerves real quick. Same with music. You like random unheard of bands? Great! Introduce me to them. Look down on what's on every radio station? Byeeeeeeeeee

While I understand what you're saying here, people who post profiles of this kind really are looking for people who are only interested in classic lit and obscure bands.  Their profile is doing you a favor - they're firing a warning shot.

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17 hours ago, possibilities said:

Do you all really prefer a profile that reads like a braggart's sales pitch? I always ignore those, because I don't like people like that in real life.

I look for someone who seems genuine and real, not airbrushed off the back of a fantasy novel.

Mmm.  I was trying to decide if they're mutually exclusive.   I agree with @aradia22 in that talking about yourself, distinctively, without sounding as though you're bragging is a tightrope.  It's a skill that even if people posses, they don't employ well.  There are things I think work better than others:  statements like "I love" rather than "I have",  "name your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon" rather than "I'm not into skydiving" but especially with online dating, you've got about 6 seconds to keep a reader reading, make it interesting, true and glimpse-y.  By virtue of joining the platform and creating a profile, I think it is a sales pitch whether you acknowledge that or not.  It's not as though it works differently in person.  Flirting with a stranger is about throwing enough charm, funny and memorable their way during a temporary connection to hopefully create a second encounter.    Don't get me wrong, sincerity pushes to the front of the pack, but if it were an attention grabber, "he/she had a nice personality" would be the start to every how'd you meet story ever.

16 hours ago, theredhead77 said:

Nope. If you can't convey an everyday accomplishment without it sounding like a humblebrag you're going to get on my nerves real quick.

Overcome a horrible accident that left you unable to walk when you were a kid to become a marathon runner? That's amazing and should shout it from the rooftops. Graduate from with a BA from a run of the mill college after having a mundane (compared to the rest of us who are 'a little messed up but alright')? Not brag worthy. 

Girl, it's killing me, was the next word gonna be childhood? lol.    I also agree with you that it's not brag worthy, but disagree that it's bragging to begin with.   For that guy, his backstory could be:  I'm the son of immigrants and the first generation in my family to graduate from college - that could be his amazing accomplishment.  Sorry, for the Chandler Bing delivery.

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9 hours ago, ratgirlagogo said:

While I understand what you're saying here, people who post profiles of this kind really are looking for people who are only interested in classic lit and obscure bands.  Their profile is doing you a favor - they're firing a warning shot.

Yes, I am aware. People like that irritate me IRL, too. Support the classics, support indi culture but you don't need to be a pretentious asshat about it and that's how the profiles (and people IRL) tend to come off.

 

35 minutes ago, ZaldamoWilder said:

Girl, it's killing me, was the next word gonna be childhood? lol. 

Yes! Talk about a brain skip!

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2 hours ago, ZaldamoWilder said:

especially with online dating, you've got about 6 seconds to keep a reader reading, make it interesting, true and glimpse-y.

Unless she's really hot. Then I'm giving her a few extra seconds.

I mean, I'm still swiping left by the time I see the second your when it should have been you're...

There is a formula to it. I think it's Profile Leeway = Substance divided by Grammar Errors times Hotness squared.

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 It's not as though it works differently in person.  Flirting with a stranger is about throwing enough charm, funny and memorable their way during a temporary connection to hopefully create a second encounter.    Don't get me wrong, sincerity pushes to the front of the pack, but if it were an attention grabber, "he/she had a nice personality" would be the start to every how'd you meet story ever.

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Unless she's really hot. Then I'm giving her a few extra seconds.

I mean, I'm still swiping left by the time I see the second your when it should have been you're, but there a formula to it. I think it's Profile Leeway = Substance divided by Grammar Errors times Hotness squared.

This. I acknowledge that online dating has its own issues but it recreates much of the same dynamic you'd get meeting someone at a bar. If you've been at it for a while, you probably don't read every profile anymore. You just swipe on people you find attractive. (Similarly, unless you're speed dating, you only approach the people you're attracted to.) Then if you match you go read the profile and investigate the match percentage to see if you're actually interested. (This is the strike up a conversation/is there chemistry phase. In online dating, it overlaps with when you start to send messages.) And, of course, the ultimate goal is to go on a real date after making a connection. 

To me, if the photos have passed the test, sincerity is rarely the reason a profile is not an attention grabber/worthy of initiating a conversation.

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I have never formed any kind of relationship by meeting someone in a bar. I can't even imagine anyone has, though if y'all say it happens, then I believe you.

I guess I don't want to have to date a lot of random people. I would rather read more than a few seconds and get a sense of if there's anything to them other than a pretty face and a love of sunsets or whatever generic pablum.

I actually don't like people flirting with me in person until I know them better, either.

So I think this whole dating culture is not for me. I actually find it exhausting to even think about going out with someone who I know nothing much about other than "they're hot" and they wrote a few seconds worth of indistinct sales pitch.

When I was trying online ways to meet people, I always read and appreciated the longer profiles, which gave me some idea about if we had any common interests, whether there would be obvious dealbreakers, etc. I just don't have the patience to actually go somewhere with someone who has such a short attention span and superficial screening process that they wouldn't want to actually spend time thinking about it more deeply than a few sentences.

I didn't realize I'm old fashioned, but I guess maybe I am.

I'm glad if people are having fun and finding matches that work this way. But I think it's just not ever going to be right for me.

I do understand that it's a sales pitch. But what sells me I think is a longer attention span and more details. It conveys a kind of seriousness and that the person made some kind of effort and didn't just jot off a few things and then hope that's all anyone wants from them. I think of it sort of like a resume for a job-- tell me something that will make you memorable, give me an idea of who you really are, don't just send your business card and hope I pick it out of the pile randomly.

If you're worried about privacy, don't post your photo online in the first place. People don't have to disclose everything. But if your words aren't memorable, your picture won't be enough to draw me in. I've met too many hot people who were no fun at all and not worth my time, so the photo is not really much of a selling point for me. You can rule yourself out with the photo, but the photo alone won't get me interested because glam shots are zero indication of whether you've got anything else going for you.

I'm fascinated that this system works for people. I'm glad it does-- whatever works is great for those it works for! But I'm realizing that the reason I hated the whole online dating scene when I tried it, is because it's really not set up for my temperament at all.

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6 hours ago, possibilities said:

I've met too many hot people who were no fun at all and not worth my time,

Don't forget bat-shit crazy or just plain mean.

PgqfyIX.gif

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Among the many choice quotes from Destination Wedding (available on Amazon Prime) is this one...

"There are seven billion people in the world. So when one of them behaves badly toward you, he's actually doing you a great favor because he's saving you time. He's telling you that he's not worth your while. He's freeing you to say 'thank you for the information. I will now move on to the 6,999,999, 999 other people, some of whom may have some value.'" 

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Neuropsychologist dating update time:

Tuesday night brain surgeon (she literally sat in on brain surgeries during her career) was a nice dinner and conversation. Following day was what I would call a mutual lack of excitement about the connection, so no worries. 

Last night, sat down with my known quantity brain doctor at 6:15 for dinner at a very cool little restaurant with a fancy-schmancy menu. At 10:15 we closed down the place. That girl’s a talker, and I’ve been known to go on and on myself. We’re already plotting our next get together. 

So as is the case with everything with me these days, I’m just going to roll with this and have fun with whatever comes from this pretty easy connection. 

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On 4/19/2019 at 2:35 AM, possibilities said:

I have never formed any kind of relationship by meeting someone in a bar. I can't even imagine anyone has, though if y'all say it happens, then I believe you.

It was back in the 1980s, but I met a guy in a bar and we were together for a couple of years, and are still close friends almost 40 years later. 

Around that same time, a friend of mine met a guy in a bar and they got married and are still together.  And actually, I just thought of another couple I know who met in a bar back then and got married and are still together--that one was an actual fern bar!

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When I was trying online ways to meet people, I always read and appreciated the longer profiles, which gave me some idea about if we had any common interests, whether there would be obvious dealbreakers, etc. I just don't have the patience to actually go somewhere with someone who has such a short attention span and superficial screening process that they wouldn't want to actually spend time thinking about it more deeply than a few sentences.

Is there just nobody who does that any more?  Mr. Outlier and I met online 20 years ago, and we both had wordy profiles, and didn't meet until after three weeks of massive emails, even though we lived only about 5 miles from each other. 

I've wondered if I were in the online dating arena now, whether there would even be anyone who does that.  If not, I imagine I would have very limited success. 

But then I think about that guy I met in a bar way back when--if he wrote an online profile, I know it would be just awful, and rife with misspellings and terrible grammar, and it has nothing to do with him as a person.  But then I know how I am and I would find it very hard to overlook such things in someone I'm evaluating anew. 

Probably best that I'm not online dating these days.  One and done.  (So far.)

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If you're worried about privacy, don't post your photo online in the first place.

I was an early adopter in the privacy game--for my online dating profile back then, I used my first grade picture, even though I lived in a pretty big city and hardly anybody was even online at the time.  But I knew that I tended to scroll past (there was no swiping back then) profiles that didn't have a photo of some kind, and assumed everybody else did, too.

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Just coming off a date. It did not go well.

Basically, she came into the city, and I assumed she had a game plan for parking. I was set to throw in the towel when she shown up, almost two hours after I figured we’d meet. Did I also mention there was traffic? She lives in New Jersey. The official state structure might as well be a diner with a parking lot.

I think she sent the “That was fun, but . . .” text about two minutes after we parted ways. It’s late, I’m tired, I have work tomorrow and a trip to NJ for a comic show, and I just feel like an idiot. I mean, I know I can build off this, but things could have gone just a little better.

Edited by Lantern7
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1 hour ago, Lantern7 said:

Did I also mention there was traffic?

Did you meet in Manhattan? That's my assumption when you said she "came into the city".  I don't think it was widely publicized, but POTUS was in Manhattan, he was schedule to arrive around 5pm, go to some event, then spend the night in his place in Midtown.  I'm sure that didn't help matters...

Edited by Moose135
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51 minutes ago, Moose135 said:

Did you meet in Manhattan? That's my assumption when you said she "came into the city".  I don't think it was widely publicized, but POTUS was in Manhattan, he was schedule to arrive around 5pm, go to some event, then spend the night in his place in Midtown.  I'm sure that didn't help matters...

Getting someone to come into Manhattan from New Jersey on a weekday during rush hour . . . I didn't even think it would matter. Also, she came in through he Lincoln Tunnel, which is in lower Manhattan . . . nowhere near whatever gridlock was occurring uptown.

*sigh* I always have hopes that are high enough, and it usually never pans out. As much as I think that I can move on, it still hurts a little. Also, I did way too much walking while killing time.

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1 hour ago, Lantern7 said:

*sigh* I always have hopes that are high enough, and it usually never pans out. As much as I think that I can move on, it still hurts a little.

If a first date is something you have high hopes about, and it not leading to anything more than that is something that hurts, that's a problem, and will be a recurring one.  

You always seem to be putting too much pressure on yourself (and, in turn, expecting too much out of the women) and thus setting yourself up for disappointment when reality inevitably happens (romantically, you don't click with far more people than you do).  I know telling someone to relax is fruitless, because one feels what one feels, but I do encourage you to try - via whatever let me look at this logically/employ this technique to physically calm myself routine works for you - not to place so much importance on these initial meetings and instead just take them for what they are and go from there. 

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15 hours ago, Lantern7 said:

Just coming off a date. It did not go well.

Basically, she came into the city, and I assumed she had a game plan for parking. I was set to throw in the towel when she shown up, almost two hours after I figured we’d meet. Did I also mention there was traffic? She lives in New Jersey. The official state structure might as well be a diner with a parking lot.

I think she sent the “That was fun, but . . .” text about two minutes after we parted ways. It’s late, I’m tired, I have work tomorrow and a trip to NJ for a comic show, and I just feel like an idiot. I mean, I know I can build off this, but things could have gone just a little better.

Look at it this way. She came into the city just to meet you. She could have also thrown in the towel after not finding sufficient parking and dealing with traffic but waited it out to spend time with you. So you two didn't hit it off? No big deal. That just means you two weren't right for each other. When its right, you'll know.

Please consider @Bastet's advice.

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For me, “high hopes” equals “chance for a second date.” And yeah, she did drive into the city to meet me. In retrospect, I should have called it off while she was still in New Jersey. But I got to a point in my mind where bailing — after she had made it to the city — would have basically ended things. I didn’t want to feel like a jerk.

Thanks for the advice. Once again, I hope to build off last night. 🤞

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Lantern7, I've removed myself from the dating world for a bit, so take this with a grain of salt, but I feel like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself and your dates every single time you have one. You may not be in real life, but that's how it's coming across here. It reads like you want every first date to be The One and when it doesn't pan out for whatever reason, you beat yourself up over these imagined missteps. 

I almost wonder if it would help if you look at these dates like quick business meetings? They are informal get-togethers where you don't have any expectations going into them, if it lasts 30 minutes or less, so what, and if you feel the need to dive more deeply into things, you set up another meeting later on. 

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