This is now the third time this has happened to me and, unfortunately, this time it hurt the most.
I usually don't tell you anything about guys I'm interested in or talking to through the online dating site until something significant has happened, or until it's long since done.
But you guys? I was really starting to be interested in this one guy.
I'd been sitting around with a couple of my girlfriends who are single Moms and we'd been talking about their experiences dating. I've dated a couple of guys with kids and both times I wasn't comfortable with it and neither time did we get to a point where it was serious enough that I met their children.
I think my fear about dating a man with a child comes from a combination of always having an ex in the picture and ending up being a parent-figure to a child that was not mine and was not my choice. Like, if I do have kids, and I'm not sure I'm brave enough for that, I'll have chosen to have kids with my husband and life partner. Choosing to be with someone who already has a child just ads an extra layer to a relationship I'm not sure I want to take on.
But my girlfriends, on our evening of wine and talking, convinced me that I should at least give guys with children a chance and I figured it was at least worth turning it from a hard "no" into a "I'm willing to see how it goes."
So I messaged a couple of guys who had kids.
Both, by the way, I found very attractive and both had funny, intelligent write ups.
One of them didn't turn into anything after he wanted me to call him after I'd specifically said I wasn't comfortable calling people I didn't know.
The other? I really started to like.
This guy was handsome. And my age. And funny.
Smart, witty, a good job.
We had some good emails back and forth and he'd asked me some questions I had to think seriously about before answering and I was waiting to hear back what he'd think. He'd sent me an email telling me a bit about his parenthood situation that had made me cry and I was scared but excited about getting to know this guy and meeting and the potential for something good to start.
My friends were excited. They encouraged me to go for it and to meet him and pointed out that it was time for something good to happen and maybe this was that good thing!
Now, I've been on this dating site for a while now and I've got pretty good instinct about things and I'd been lucky enough to "find" this guy the day after he signed up so the chances of him having already met someone were low.
But then he disappeared for a day.
And I know that doesn't seem like a big deal in real life, but it's an oddity on these sites, especially when you're hitting it off with someone; you just want to talk to each other.
I checked (pretty obsessively) for a day for his response and I didn't get one. I worried that something was wrong with his child. Then I noticed that (and this will sound weird to you non-internet daters) he had given a "gift" to someone on the site and my heart sunk.
See, I know guys. And I've been told time and time again that guys like to do the chasing.
Since I hide myself online and don't have a picture up, I tend to be the one who initiates first contact. To know that this guy had already sent a gift to someone online meant that he was genuinely interested in someone else. Someone who was not me.
And so I fought the disappointment
all the rest of that evening because maybe I was wrong. Even though I knew I wasn't. I wanted to be wrong.
But somehow it was still a surprise to get the email from him the next day saying that he'd been on a date the night before (told you there was a reason for the absence) and that he didn't feel like he could continue our conversation but that he wished me luck.
I know, in reality, and in the big picture it's not a big deal but I can't tell you how much it hurt and how very very sad I felt.
I was genuinely excited about this guy, genuinely interested.
I was willing to push my comfort zones and see what potential we might have together.
I thought we would get along really well.
I'd started to have small imaginings about summer plans we might make together.
And I think, with everything else
that's been going on with me it was just a blow to the gut I didn't need. Not at all.
I tried to joke it off a few times this weekend "Hey, I've been pre-dumped!", "Hey, I'm so lame, guys break up with me before they've even met me!", "Hey, know who's been texting me non-stop tonight? NO ONE!" but each joke I made just hurt me more. I'm hurt. Really hurt and sad. I don't know why I can't just admit that and be ok with it.
So, here's my chance I guess.
You guys? I was really hoping I'd met a great, good looking, funny, caring, genuine, intelligent man and that we would meet and get along really well and would start a relationship and I'm feeling really really sad that that didn't happen. And I'm also feeling hurt that he too, like everyone else, it seems, found someone he likes better. Better than me.
I'm sad and I'm sad enough that I wish I'd never gotten my hopes up in the first place. Hurts too much.