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

 

 

Can He Cut it? Test Your Date’s Compatibility

blog road sign re delay

There are happy hour dates, movie dates, and walk in the park dates. What is really needed are dates to quickly find out if a man is the one or “one of the ones.”

Let’s enjoy this dating fantasy while we chow down on some lentil vegetable soup.

What qualities do we need to evaluate in our potential “one?” Here are a few desirable traits and a sample imaginary date you could use to test each one. Let’s call our fictional test dater Max.

The Quality: Good Communicator

The Challenge:

The ability to communicate is critical. If you have done or said something to annoy or anger your guy, he should be able to tell you about it. Otherwise, the issue will simmer and resentment will build.

Your challenge is to create a situation where you do something annoying or obnoxious to find out if Max will give you feedback.

The Date Scenario:

Suggest to Max that you go to a movie he has been interested in seeing. Once the movie starts, whisper a comment in his ear. Comment or ask questions about the plot every 10 minutes until the movie ends. Alternate your comments with an offer to share your popcorn. Even if Max says “no, thanks,” keep offering him tastes throughout the movie.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: Max quickly asks you to hold your comments

B: Max shares his annoyance after the movie is over

D: Max says nothing. You break up within a week.

F: Max runs screaming from the theater half way through the movie

The Quality: Resilience (Ability to roll with the punches)

The Challenge:

Life doesn’t always run smoothly. In fact, you can count on things going astray almost daily. An important quality is the ability to take these bumps on the road in stride and enjoy the day regardless.

Your challenge is to create a date filled with obstacles to see how well Max can “roll with it.”

The Date Scenario:

It’s a beautiful late spring day and you and darling Max are headed to a winery event in the country. Max’s favorite band is playing for a short set.

To start things off, you take a little longer getting ready to leave so there is no travel time to spare (if you’re to see the band and get the full wine tasting experience).

Under the guise of being the designated driver, you volunteer to drive so you can control the situation. Your car has a slow oil leak and you deliberately fail to replenish the oil prior to the trip. Soon after you start the 2-hour drive, the oil light goes on and you need to pull over to add oil. The clock is ticking.

You apologize to Max for the various delays but tell him that all is not lost since you found a shortcut on Google directions. This “shortcut” is in fact a nightmare scenario of weekend road construction (as predicted by the local traffic blogs you read in preparation for the trip).

You end up arriving at the winery just as the band is finishing their last song. Plus, the winery has run out of its signature pinot noir, Max’s favorite.

blog photo winery

Scoring and Outcome:

A: Throughout the drive, Max refuses to let the delays drag him down. At the winery, Max talks to the band and finds out the details of their next gig. He happily settles for merlot and kisses you passionately behind the winery shop.

B: Max is slightly petulant during the drive.

D: Max starts a nasty fight with you during the “shortcut” leg of the drive.

F: Max “accidentally” spills his glass of wine on your favorite white pants and doesn’t apologize. He drinks excessively and starts a fight with another patron. You break up that evening.

The Quality: Narcissistic or Not

The Challenge: No one loves a narcissist. Sometimes you’re not sure if you’re dealing with an egomaniac. It’s important to find out whether your guy is all about him, not much about you.

The Date Scenario:

You invite Max over to Netflix and Chill. Pizza is delivered and while you’re eating, you share that you’re dealing with a troubling work situation. You tell Max you’re so stressed out about it that you can’t sleep.

After dinner, you start the movie and move to the sofa to commence cuddling. About halfway through the movie, you pretend that you’re not feeling well. You run to the bathroom. Ten minutes later, you return looking exhausted (you have wet your hair a bit and splashed warm water on your face to look flushed).

You tell Max you think you have food poisoning, noting that it may not be the pizza since you had Chinese food from a sketchy carryout the previous night. You act like you’re about to throw up and run back to the bathroom.

Scoring and Outcome:

A: While you are talking about your work problem, Max is fully engaged, compassionate, and offers thoughtful suggestions. When the “food poisoning episode” begins, Max comforts you, brings you a washcloth, rubs your back in between attacks, and offers to call your doctor.

C: Max listens to your work story but checks his phone frequently while you’re talking. When you start to feel ill, he researches food poisoning online but otherwise is not helpful.

F: Max keeps interrupting your tale of work woes with reflections about times he overcame difficult work situations. He doesn’t let you finish sharing your story.

When the food poisoning attack begins, Max expresses concern that he ate the same pizza and starts to develop psychosomatic symptoms. He resumes the movie while holding his belly as if in pain. He doesn’t call the next day to check on you. You break up that week.

If you liked these diabolical “play dates,” you might like to play a break-up game/app called Damn Love. See my description of Damn Love in a recent post on my favorite things.

Soapbox Notes:

In real life, few, if any, women would be this conniving and few guys would score an F.

These exaggerated scenarios are a reminder to all of us to be aware of how a partner behaves during real life challenges – big and small.

Witnessing a partner’s behavior in tough situations presents us with an opportunity to learn about his – or her – true character and whether it is compatible with ours.

My motto: keep your eyes open; be true to yourself.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia