Second Chances: When Exes and Former Dates Reappear

hand through laptop

Have you ever accidentally swiped left on Tinder or Bumble and thought, damn it, I just missed the love of my life?  Well, no worries.  Chances are if the guy is local, you’ll have another chance to choose him.

I’ve learned that the dating life is like that.  You’ll often get another chance to match with a man and exes or guys you dated briefly can reappear.  Call this phenomenon a second chance or, if you’re in a snarky mood, dating reflux.

I’ve had a few examples of exes reappearing. These reentries do not qualify as breadcrumbing behavior where an old flame gets in touch irregularly to keep a love interest on the hook.  Instead, these encounters highlight the “small world” of online dating.

Let’s discuss while celebrating summer with a taste of warm eggplant and mint salad.

About 10 months ago, I reached out to Mr.J, a man on OurTime. I liked his photos and self-description. Although his profile showed a heavy interest in sports (not my thing), he was also interested in cultural events and outdoor activities.  I took a risk and wrote to him. He responded and after a brief written exchange I suggested a phone call.

We talked for about 15 to 20 minutes. No red flags emerged (my primary reason for scheduling a phone call), but the conversation was lackluster. Had Mr.J followed up, I likely would have gone out with him just to see if there was any in-person chemistry. However, he didn’t reach out and I soon forgot about him.

Unexpectedly, a couple of weeks ago Mr. J viewed me again on Our Time. I revisited his profile and took renewed interest in his 6’5” height (call me shallow).  I decided to be brave and write to him. I acknowledged our brief conversation about a year ago and suggested we meet sometime. “Sure,” he wrote. “Good timing. My subscription ends tomorrow and I’m not renewing.”

We arranged to meet for a drink about halfway between our locations. He lives about an hour away from me so dating would be a challenge. But I was game. I was feeling the weight of a dating dry spell and willing to venture out beyond my ideal geographic location.

After a stressful drive, difficult parking, and the joy of getting lost while walking from the parking lot to the meeting point, I was ready for the 6’5” blue eyed hug that Mr. J gave me. Yes, I was reminded why I like guys taller than me.

Mr. J opened up the conversation with a comment/question about something in my profile.  Things were looking up.  However, this initial promise was not fulfilled.  The conversation soon turned to 95% about Mr. J, his previous relationships, his children, his ex-wife’s alcoholism, etc.  He asked an occasional question or two about me but swiftly transitioned from my responses to more about him.

The kicker? He kept looking up at the TV over the bar. I require good eye contact and so I asked if he could look at me and not the TV. “Just checking the score,” he said before continuing to glance at the television every couple of minutes. I’m sure my comment was a deal breaker for him just as his screen gazing killed any chemistry I initially felt.

I went to the ladies room and when I returned Mr. J had paid the bill.  At that point, I think we were both ready to say goodbye. Mr. J was gentleman enough to help me find my car and gave me a light business-like hug goodbye.

As I drove home, I knew I would not go out with Mr. J again but felt no need to communicate that to him, unless he suggested another date.  Later that night, Mr. J texted to say he enjoyed meeting me but didn’t think we were a match. Despite my lack of interest in him, I still felt rejected.  Why did he feel compelled to provide an assessment? I would have preferred that he just not get in touch with me.

Do I need to start messaging first dates I don’t want to see again to let them know I don’t think we’re a match? I think this kind of preemptive strike is unnecessary but it feels better to reject than to be rejected.

Next!

It turns out the next potential second chance was Mr. K, a guy I matched on Tinder and had briefly dated a couple of years ago.  See how exes keep coming back? Although Mr. K had some positive attributes, I couldn’t wrap my head around his politics and his single-minded devotion to sexual pursuit. So I told him I didn’t think we should continue dating.

He wasn’t heartbroken but texted that he thought I could be missing out on some adventure.  Perhaps. When a few weeks ago, I saw Mr. K’s profile on Tinder, I wondered if I should give him another chance.  His profile was a bit different this time – more pictures and a mention of a blog he writes on dating, with the name of the blog listed.  I keep my blog confidential so Mr. K’s mention of his surprised me.

Before I swiped one way or the other on Mr. K, I checked out his blog and even searched to see if he wrote about me.  He began posting after we stopped dating and I was not mentioned.

I briefly fantasized about the idea of a meet cute situation: two dating bloggers who used to be involved reconnect over their blogs.  But political differences compelled me to say no (swipe left) to renewing a relationship with Mr. K. Did he swipe right on me? I’ll never know – unless I encounter him on another site or in real life.  Like I said, these exes keep coming back.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Voice Mail from an Ex

voice mail from an ex

The voice mail message sat on my home phone answering machine for over a week before I listened to it.

“Hi Nadia, this is Z. We went out once or twice. Hope you are well. I wonder if you have 10 minutes to talk. I have a rather awkward question to ask you.”

I listened to the message twice. I was confused and a bit alarmed. Mr. Z and I had briefly dated about 3 years ago. We got together 4 or 5 times. One time we attempted the 36 questions. I liked him but could not imagine a future with him due primarily to his religion-based lifestyle. I didn’t want to ghost him so when he called one day to arrange a date I told him the truth and said goodbye.

I racked my brain wondering what the awkward topic might be. My mind started making up all kinds of wild scenarios. I checked my medical files and was reassured that I had a clean STD-free bill of health. Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. Could I have some new STD that takes 3 years to develop? Oh, wait; I didn’t have sex with Mr. Z. So you see my bizarre and non-logical thought process. It was the word awkward that threw me. What could be awkward? Perhaps he was dating someone I know. There was only one way to find out. I needed to call him back.

“Hi Z,” I began, “Sorry about my delayed response to your message. I rarely listen to my home machine since it’s usually filled with sales calls.”

“No worries,” he said, “and thanks for calling back. I have an odd question to ask you,” he said.

“I’ve been dating someone for about a year and she’s a terrific person. But she’s not a very good kisser. We’ve talked about it – or tried to but I don’t have good language to describe to her what I want. I even gave her a book on kissing. But nothing has changed. Last weekend, I was thinking about it and I thought, who do I know who’s a good kisser. That’s why I called you. Also, because you’re a words person and I thought you might give me some language.”

I laughed. I was relieved (again, remember my weird thought process), somewhat flattered (he remembers my kisses 3 years later), and touched by Mr. Z’s heartfelt desire to attempt a “fix” with a woman he obviously cared about.

I shared my relief and worries about the nature of his call. “But we didn’t have sex,” he said. “I know,” I said, “it doesn’t make sense.”

I asked Mr. Z if his friend was offended when he gave her a book on kissing – or even during his talks with her about it. “No,” he said, “we’re able to be very honest with each other and we don’t take offense at suggestions.”

I can tell you right now that if a guy I was dating gave me a book on kissing I would be offended…but apparently (insert smiley face), I don’t need to worry about that happening.

The rest of our conversation was a brainstorming session led by me, Kissing Therapist. Just call me KT. “Do you think she likes kissing?” I asked. “Who doesn’t like kissing?” Mr. Z replied.

Kissing is not important to everyone. From my experiences and conversation with friends, some people just ‘aren’t that into it.’ They may enjoy sex but kissing is not that essential to them. Perhaps they grew up with a less than affectionate family. Oh, wait; I’m not a psychotherapist, just a kissing therapist. I happen to love kissing. And I think that’s a prerequisite for success.

I also suggested that Mr. Z consider whether his friend is a sensual person, a trait that I believe is associated with good kissing.

“Maybe you need to focus on her mouth – but not necessarily kissing,” I suggested, “try feeding her strawberries. Use your imagination.”

The more we talked about the kissing challenge, the more detailed were my suggestions.  No, not everything goes in this blog post. After a few minutes I could tell that it was time to end our conversation. I suggested that Mr. Z might need a cold shower after we hung up.

We laughed. He thanked me for my suggestions and asked if I’d mind if he called me sometime with an update. I said that would be fine. Later I thought about our conversation. Women often say they train their male partners to be better lovers so I guess it’s reasonable to assume that a man could “train” a woman to be a better kisser. What do you think? Have you ever stopped dating someone because he was a bad kisser? Would you try to “fix” the situation before breaking up? Let me know.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating. And, hopefully, happy kissing.

XXXOOO

Nadia