Momentum and the Marriage Trap

So, since going Luke Skywalker and pulling back from the world of Tinder and Bumble, I haven’t met a single woman.

Needless to say, I’m back 🙂

I did, however, have a couple lovely dates recently, with a lady I met on Tinder–one of the ones who stuck it out after I had my knee repaired.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

To be clear, it was primarily my fault, and we’ll get to that in just a moment.

But one of the things that occurred to me after this experience fizzled, is how important momentum is in building a relationship.

Anyway, our first date was great: a couple drinks at a bar during quiz night. We had great conversation, punctuated by the answering of questions, and hell, we almost won. That was on a Thursday.

The next Wednesday we met up for dinner. Again, great date, good conversations, and we kissed at the end–there was even some electricity as I asked for another.

However, the next time we were able to match schedules wasn’t until the following Friday. We texted back and forth throughout the week, but in that length of time I found myself doubting: am I ready to get in a more serious relationship? What about my kid in all this? Am I truly attracted to this person? Etc.

Then tragedy struck, one of my former students committed suicide, and having just found this out on that same Friday we were supposed to meet, I cancelled. Just didn’t feel right to go out with someone while I had that on my mind.

But I’ll be honest–if I was really excited about going, I would’ve gone–and I certainly wouldn’t have cancelled the next Tuesday when we were supposed to go see a movie.

Again, the fact things didn’t work out was my 100% my fault. I cancelled two consecutive dates–one for good reason, the other for no good reason. But it seems to me the span between the second and third date was too long, which brings me to the point I wanted to make about momentum.dating

I’ve written a lot about “magic” and why it’s difficult to find, especially on Tinder and Bumble dates. But momentum matters too, and that’s another problematic aspect of modern dating.

Because people are busy. We work. We have friends and family. We make plans. And some of us have kids. All of these things take time.

Thing is: so do relationships. And seeing someone less than once a week over the course of a a couple months isn’t enough. There has to be momentum. It might be fine to have a week’s span between date 1 and date 2, but dates 3 and 4 need to happen more rapidly if the relationship is going to gain any traction.

Because in the time between dates, it’s natural to start asking yourself questions–as I did. After all, the truth when you’re single is that there are plenty of fish in the sea–and while there’s pressure to pick a fish and stick with them, it’s equally, if not more important, to choose the right fish. Naturally, the less you see the fish, the less you’re going to be inclined to believe they’re the right one–and the more time you have to look at others. Look at the scales on that one, bro…

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And time, in dating, is distance.

So my apologies Kellie–I barely knew thee. And I didn’t give you much of a chance. But I wonder if things would’ve been different if we hadn’t had a nine day hiatus between dates 2 and 3. You might recall, I did want to get together that Sunday… #justsayin

The other thing I struggle with–and it certainly factored in with Kellie–was what I like to call the marriage trap.

THE MARRIAGE TRAP

The marriage trap is simply this: most relationships assume a monogamous structure of increasing connection until at last, marriage is proposed, and everyone lives happily ever after (obviously not the case). In other words, if I date a woman, we build that momentum I was talking about, we sleep together, etc., it’s implied if not expected that we’re on that trajectory–you know, the one pointed toward marriage.

And when I thought about that with Kellie–almost one year exactly after my wife decided she wouldn’t honor our vows (“in sickness” my ass!)–I balked. Now to be fair, Kellie was attractive, fun, and interesting. She was successful. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her whatsoever and a hell of lot in the plus categories.

Problem was: I couldn’t see myself marrying her. Now I get that that’s totally ridiculous after two dates and a kiss, but it’s the truth. And I thought to myself: if we go on dates 3 and 4 and so on, eventually we’re going to sleep together, become more entangled with each other’s lives, etc, and she could be thinking, “this is the guy I’m going to marry” while I can’t know if I can say the same.

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So what’s worse: being dumped after two good dates, or after six months having slept with the person, introduced them to your parents, and having dreamed them into your future?

Now I get it: there’s no guarantee Kellie saw me that way either. But I’ve also read “no hookups” on so many dating profiles it seems one ought to at least attempt to be ethical about leading women on and sleeping with them, right?

Fucking marriage trap.

Unfortunately–or perhaps, fortunately–I’ve come to the realization one simply can’t think this way. Things will work out–or they won’t–but worrying about expectations is pretty silly before at least several months of continuous contact.

Because after all, dating is not marriage, and all one can do is be fun, open, and honest. Expectations aren’t anyone’s responsibility but our own, and it seems to me, we get ourselves in trouble when we put them on other people.

So again, Kellie, my apologies. Just so you know, dear reader, I did reach out to Kellie afterward, but alas, she didn’t return the communication.

I guess it’s true what they say: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Thanks for reading–please share with friends if you find this interesting. You also might want to check out my first noir novel, Cherry City Pulp, which contains a particularly scintillating sex scene. Cheers! 

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