Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma, #2

blog pix Dec 10 2017

Not much is happening in my dating life so it’s a good distraction when a friend reaches out for dating advice.

My friend Lauren’s dilemma: She’s enjoying conversation and flirting with a friend/colleague who wants to move the relationship to the next level. She knows a relationship with this person would not work and that a fling is also problematic. The situation is complicated in several ways.

Lauren, who is separated and actively planning her divorce, called to discuss the situation and bounce around some possible scenarios. Names and identifying details have been changed.

Have some fast and crunchy baked cod while I share my friend’s situation.

Lauren’s story reminds me of times when I have encountered decision points in my dating life. I knew what to do about a certain guy but I was tempted to go in the wrong direction. I needed a friend to reinforce my better instincts.

A couple of years ago, Lauren hired Joe, a landscape contractor at the hotel she manages. What started as a collegial work relationship has advanced into a friendship. Recently there has been a lot of banter and flirting and Joe frequently suggests that the two should talk over a particular problem at dinner or happy hour sometime.

Joe, who also does landscape work for Lauren’s soon to be ex-husband, knows about the couple’s marital situation. In fact he offered to be a witness in their upcoming divorce hearing.

Joe is 11 years younger than Lauren, less educated than she is, and is a hard drinker with a bad boy past. “He’s not relationship material,” she says. “The problem is that he’s attractive, has a great six-pack — despite too many six packs–, and is a really nice guy.” A few days ago, Joe texted her and invited her to a happy hour.

This was a clear invitation – not like previous ones that were more indefinite. Lauren is tempted by the possibility of a romantic fling but knows she should say no. She’s wondering how to decline his invitation without losing the friendship or offending him in any way. And she’s sad that if she turns down the happy hour, the flirting that she’s enjoying so much will likely disappear.

“How about if I just tell him I’m too busy right now getting ready for a holiday visit from my relatives and that getting together in the new year is more feasible?” Lauren asks.

“This leaves open the possibility that you’ll go out with him,” I suggest. “You’ll have to clarify your intention at some point – either now or the next time he asks you out.”

Lauren sighs. “He’s too young for me – even for something short term.”

“If he was fling material, his age wouldn’t be an issue- and might be an asset,” I say, “but he’s not good fling material. You’ve got a work relationship you don’t want to mess up and you’re counting on him as a witness in divorce court. You need a less complicated scenario for an ideal fling.”

I suggest she respond to Joe’s invitation in a way that acknowledges their friendship but removes the possibility of dating.

I propose a potential response: Sounds like fun but I’m super crazed right now getting ready for my visiting relatives. Happy to get together as friends in the new year. I like to be clear and want you to know that I’m not ready to date. Plus I value our friendship and I would not jeopardize it.

I don’t know what Lauren wrote to Joe but she reported that she successfully turned down the invite and was able to maintain collegiality and friendship.

Have you navigated a challenging dating scenario? How did it go? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Stuck in the Dating Back Pocket and How to Cope

blog pix man back pocket

There’s little air and not much room in a back pocket. That must be why I’m feeling out of sorts. And it’s not just one back pocket. I’m jumping from one back pocket to another. It’s exhausting – not to mention emotionally draining.

Confused? Who isn’t perplexed by the vagaries of the modern dating world? Let’s try to calm down with some comfort white bean pizza with arugula.

It’s easy to know if you’re in someone’s back pocket. First, there’s a flurry of interest. You might get a wink and all of your pictures are liked or favorited. Or you receive a notice that “he wants to meet you!” If you’re lucky, Mr. X will actually email you, though too often your message is a “canned flirt” written by the dating bots and sometimes by a dating coach. But let’s say your inbox contains a real albeit likely routine message such as “let’s chat.”

I received that exact message yesterday. Here’s the transcript with my comments in bold face.

Mr. X: Let’s Chat… Cheers

Nadia: Hi, when are you moving here? Ciao (Important to me since his profile did not clarify his residence status.)

Mr. X: I have moved. Living in Alexandria.

Nadia: Nice – I love Old Town (though not sure if you’re in Old Town). I’m a DC girl.

(In an effort to stand out from the crowd and avert a potentially boring conversation pattern, I threw him a somewhat out of the box question.)

Nadia: So what would you do if the song September by Earth, Wind, and Fire came on the radio?

(I love this song and based on his age and profile, I thought this tune might resonate with him.)

Mr. X: Sing along, dance and remember September past.

Nadia: That’s correct. 😊

(Comment and digression: Mr. X may not have gotten the humor in my comment unless he is a fan of The Late Late Show with James Corden. In one of the show’s regular features, bandleader Reggie Watts asks the guests an out of the box (often weird and funny) question. No matter what the guests answer; Watts’ reply is always, “That’s correct.”) 

When Mr. X didn’t follow up with a question, comment, or anything – and I saw he was online most of the day — I realized I had likely been back- pocketed. The question is would I stay there (in his mind) for a day, a week, or 2 months?

Of course, I’m not sitting around waiting for him to sift through an overflow of other women’s profiles. But it is disappointing. And because he didn’t respond, I started to question what I wrote to him.

It’s worth remembering that sometimes you make it out of a back pocket but it might be only a brief reprieve.

Case in point: the same day I interacted with Mr. X, Mr. G, a guy who lives in New Jersey and writes me every couple of months, contacted me. I replied to him and said that I wondered if there was a point to such infrequent communication.

Mr. G replied that the geographic distance was an issue. So I suggested that we consider meeting for lunch in Philadelphia-halfway between us. That sparked his interest but only temporarily. Like Mr. X, Mr. G left me hanging and back in the back pocket I went.

That’s when I put down the phone and went for a swim. Exercise, fresh air, friends and family, and music….all are good antidotes to woes from the back pocket problem.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Nadia, I Have a Dating Dilemma

Blog pix dating dilemma

Decisions, decisions. Dating is fraught with judgment calls, gut calls, and dilemmas. How do you check out a guy you met in real life? When should you let a guy pick you up at your place or drop by to see you? When do you have sex?

It’s good to talk about these issues with friends and sometimes friends ask me for advice. So, sit back and try some goat cheese and arugula pasta salad while I share a recent exchange with a gal pal. Identifying details have been altered for privacy.

*************************************************************************************

Dear Nadia, 

As I mentioned, I met this guy, Max, last Saturday while on a Meetup bike ride. We hung out after the ride over lunch – and had a really nice time. I gave him my e-mail and phone number and he emailed me this week. 

Max lives in Baltimore but will be driving through my area this Friday to leave his dog with his sister since he’s going out of town. He suggested swinging by my place on his way. I told him that I live in Kensington. Max works for the Department of Homeland Security and has a high security clearance – so he probably knows my address, favorite color, and everything else about me!

Do you have any good background checking tools? I know his full name, age, and address, which check out, but don’t know anything else. DHS doesn’t have a detailed staff directory online. It seems a bit preliminary to have him come to my house, although maybe he’s trying to make it easy for me. I could meet him at a restaurant or park since he’ll have his dog with him (a yellow lab, I believe).

Aargh…when did dating get so hard?!

Lily

Dear Lily,

Yes, dating IS hard…but in fact you met Max the old fashioned way, which makes it a bit simpler.  For instance, you have some good basic info that has checked out!  To add to the information you have, you could use some of the same tactics I use with an online match when I have very little to go on.

Checking out a guy you met in real life

You could run his Meetup picture through Google image search and see what pops up.  If you haven’t already done so, I suggest separate web searches of his name, phone number, and email address.

Another tactic is checking out Max’s public Facebook page. I think FB collects info on someone’s page visitors so at some point Max might see you in his “People You May Know” alerts but that could happen in other ways too. You could also temporarily change your privacy settings on LinkedIn and anonymously check out his profile.

The purpose of all of this investigation is not to find out every last detail about him but to make sure there are no red flags. Once I have enough information to know that a guy is who he says he is, and there are no concerns, I stop sleuthing.   Too much probing can spoil the all important fun and discovery phase of a relationship. It really is best to learn about a person organically in a face-to-face encounter.

I have used Intelius and Spokeo to run preliminary background checks on matches.  Neither one of these search engines is perfect in terms of accuracy and depth of information but they have proven useful on occasion. I let my subscriptions to these services lapse because I found I could gather most information on my own for free.  I also realized that my gut is fairly accurate!

If marital status is a concern, you could search for evidence of his divorce. Most states have free, public divorce records.

Some additional resources that are likely not necessary in your case:

*Scam digger picture search

*You can check his email address on this romance scam site

When should you let a guy pick you up for a date?

Since you asked for advice, I’ll put on my Jewish mother hat to say that on a few occasions I have been okay with a guy picking me up for a second date at my house but I usually wait until the third date. Sometimes the second date is a deal-breaker and I want to be able to leave if it’s not going well.

I make the “pick me up” decision on a case-by-case basis. This decision is based on how much I know/have found out about a man and my gut impression of the guy.

So, if you feel comfortable, you could certainly say okay to him dropping by. Or you could just offer to meet him at the park or for a drink.

However, at this point, I feel he should ask you out – not just drop by on his way to somewhere else. It feels like he’s doing what’s convenient  – not making a concerted effort to see you and take you out!

Dating computer experts and guys with security clearances

The other issue is dating someone who has a high security clearance or is a computer expert and could do a better background check on you than you could on him! I have gone out with some guys who fall into that category. I never had evidence that they out-sleuthed me but it’s entirely possible. I tell myself that, like me, they want to know whom they’re dealing with…and then I forget about their possible channeling of Sherlock Holmes.

For future reference, here are links to some of my blog posts on security in online dating:

A brief encounter with a catfisher

Catfishing and lessons from a millennial

A bad bagel on Coffee Meets Bagel

Tips for safe online dating

Dating tips and tricks

Dating safety, security, and truth-in-advertising

Keep me posted on Max, Lily!

Hugs,

Nadia

*************************************************************************************

Dear readers, send me your dating dilemmas and I’ll try to respond in a future blog post!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia