dating ATW #2: a brief history of my NYC love life
If you read my previous post about dating in NYC, you know a) how frustrated I was/am with that scene and b) why I’m so curious about other dating cultures. While I did give my opinions and observations on what was wrong with dating culture in New York, I only vaguely alluded to some personal examples. But now, you get to hear some specifics #AllTheFails
Two Types of Women: Insight From Tinder
Before we dive in, I'm going to frame this with the help of Tinder's branded podcast, DTR. If you are dating and haven't yet listened to it yet, you should. The host discusses different dating-related topics, like why guys send you dick pics you never asked for, or what happens when you date someone hotter than you. It's actually really well-produced, entertaining, and surprisingly insightful.
One episode in particular, “Tinder Takeover,” I found to be super relatable because of the two girls who volunteered to be on the show.
One was a native New Yorker and the other a transplant from Nashville. The girl who'd just moved there was more open to dating people, wasn’t really looking for anything serious, and just wanted to get to know the city. That was me circa 2014.
The other girl who had been in the NYC dating scene for some time was more discerning / over it. That girl was also me (or is currently me?). The more I dated, the pickier I got, the less I was willing to give people a chance. Just listen to the episode!
My NYC Dating Timeline
I moved to New York in 2014. In the beginning, I went on several really bad dates and only a couple of good ones. The first one I went on was started off okay, and then ended poorly: we met up for dinner (mistake #1). He didn't exactly look like his pics and I felt kind of bored / not that into him. He tried to get me to go up to his friends' empty apartment which was conveniently located next to the restaurant. "It's a really cool apartment, you should at least come up and see it," he said. I went up for probably five minutes and made it very clear that we were not going to hookup. We went back out onto the street and he walked me to the subway. When we said goodbye, he suddenly admitted to me that he was about to be a baby daddy. He said that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant and she was giving birth in a month. “I was going to tell you on the second date,” he said.
I went on another date, got cat-fished, and escaped after 45 minutes. An hour later, I get a text from the guy I ditched telling me that I was a “shitty” person for “wasting his time” and “not giving him a chance.” I wanted to reply with, “It was shitty of you catfish me and waste MY time.” Instead, I wrote, “I’m sorry you felt that way,” and blocked his number.
Eventually, I met someone that I liked, but after three months of seeing one another, it started to fade. I found myself back on the apps, but not nearly as excited about my prospects. It became monotonous, a chore. It was always the same: grabbing a drink somewhere mutually convenient and then going our separate ways after an “acceptable" amount of time.
I realized that my favorite part of those dates came when they ended and I was free to go back to my apartment...alone. I deleted all the apps and stopped dating for a few months.
I met someone offline and we dated for a half a year or so. Like all relationship beginnings, it started off well. Then, it slowly got worse and worse. My friends asked me, “How long are you willing to put up with this?”
Most people I know have been in this type of relationship. When you are involved with someone you like, you get tunnel vision: the good outweighs the bad. Outsiders can see when the scale tips and the bad starts to outweigh the good, even when you don’t see it yourself. Without going into specifics, it took me a while to accept that the relationship I was in was really unhealthy for me, and the person turned out to be disrespectful, selfish and generally indifferent towards me. Breakups are never easy and I felt pretty upset and disappointed in the way it all unfolded. I lost a lot of self-confidence after that, and it took me months to get to a better headspace. Around the same time, I lost my (first) job, and my dog passed away at the age of sixteen. It was an awful, awful time.
Applying for a Job Is the Same as Applying for a Boyfriend
After all those things happened, the last thing I wanted to do was date. I focused on my new job which, a month in, I realized I hated.
Part of the reason I didn’t actually feel as though I was making much of an effort to date was because of my work situation. I felt SO miserable in my career and I knew it was affecting my love life. I was simultaneously applying for jobs and applying for someone to date. (There are even job apps that let you "swipe" on companies looking to hire. It's too much swiping.) I didn’t have the energy to do both at once and do them both well.
Is it My Own Fault?
Perhaps I am to blame for my own bad experiences because I obviously haven't tried that hard to date for the last year. I went on a handful of dates with guys who I thought seemed like good people, but would always make up an excuse to not see them again, even if I thought it went well. I met a mix of guys on different apps or in-person. Most of the time I was, as my friend would put it, "dating defensively." Sometimes I wonder if I was looking in the wrong places, but in all honesty, I think just wasn't looking at all.
Maybe it will be different when I'm traveling. Or maybe it will be worse? Either way, I'll find out soon...