strumpets and leeches
I made the decision to start dating again on May Day last year. While it has only been a little over one year, it seems like forever ago now. Mainly because my experiences with the social internet dating services has been rather mixed. As a first time user of these services, I was not expecting anything beyond a meat market, though it did seem a logical way to dip my toe into the water with the safety of anonymity and without having to drink myself into a drunken stupor at a bar. I am not known for my “quality” choices when my judgment is impaired by alcohol.
On the plus side, I have had no shortage of people seeking to make contact with me. I haven’t had to lift a finger. This surprised me a little given I am starting to get long in tooth so it goes to show that a pretty smile goes a long way to attracting interest. It got to the stage where I had to start keeping a book to remember who had made contact with me and what their names were. Pithy little three liners served as more than just memory jolts, they were designed to identify all the alarm bells that would help me to judge their worthiness for a first or even a second date.
Here’s one that did not make the cut: “metal emo graphic novel dude who could be a gambler – who is stupid enough to suggest a casino for a first date. Snuff film buff – freak”.
My filtering system improved exponentially after these early encounters. I certainly will not be listening to my girlfriends again about how boys who listen to heavy metal are really “sensitive” guys again anytime soon. I still am disturbed about anyone who would confess to being interested in snuff films – certainly do not want to find myself in a starring role in one!
I have also been incredibly surprised that there seemed to be "quality" people on the sites – smart, capable and easily able to converse on all manner of topics. I suppose I should not be surprised by this – there seemed to be so many people just like me, established in their careers with busy lives struggling with meeting people through traditional means.
On the minus side, I have been annoyed by the huge number of people seeking to contact me ignoring my clearly specified exclusion criteria. I want to talk about just one of those today that related to the nature of commitment.
One of the statements I have made in my “what I am looking for” blurb is “do not waste my time if you are looking for a strumpet on the side”. Seems pretty obvious to me (though I accept a lot of people would not know the English old language word for whore, but the smart ones would at least look it up)! For those who know me well, my ten year marriage ended when my partner cheated on me. So, no prizes for guessing I carry a bit of baggage when it comes to people who “look” for intimacy outside of their existing relationships. If you are looking, it begs the question, what is missing from your existing relationship and have you tried to fix the problem? And yet so few seem to look within before looking out. People are intrinsically lazy.
I have been gob smacked by the number of married men seeking mistresses. It is embarrassing. In one of my darker moods, I decided to role play the role of a dominatrix for one such asshole who was looking for some S&M action outside of his wife with kids marriage. I spent an afternoon on MSN working him up to an anticipatory frenzy with my written word only to cut him loose at the end of the evening with a simple statement “you can never be good enough to meet me because you could never be at my whim given your other life”. I was rather angry that day. No Atonement film library scene re-creation for him.
Intimacy. Commitment. Cheating is not only about physical gratification. It is about searching for this or other forms of intimacy outside of an existing relationship without the other partner knowing. It is duplicitous. That is not to say that a partner can offer you all that you need. That would be nirvana. I think it is impossible. But, in an open and honest relationship, partners will allow some leeway for allowing their other half a way of fulfilling the needs they cannot fulfill themselves and doing so in a transparent way.
Beyond that, the process of dating over the last year has expanded my definition of “strumpet on the side” in a quite unexpected way. Among the dates over the last year, I dated a single man whose main commitments outside of the time he spent with me were two children from a previous marriage and work. At a first blush, he seemed normal, quite charismatic, and intelligent enough to manage articulate conversation. It was easy to be attracted to him.
Turned out his life was pretty much focused exclusively on two things - his kids and work (that and what seemed like unnecessarily complicated messy dealings with an unregistered builder doing some renovations for him). By the second month, I was already feeling like I was being treated like a lesser priority, based on his excuse that he wanted to be cautious and take things slowly. The time he spent with me was limited and in between the usual date stuff, I spent most of my time listening to his life’s’ woes.
His negativity was sucking the life out of me. Leeching. By the eigth week, I lost my patience. I saw no value in being treated like a part time lover and pseudo-therapist. Particularly given he was demonstrating no real commitment to me. Being treated as a lesser priority was not a good feeling at all. I realised it was like being a mistress. There only for convenience. Illuminating. I broke it off after that epiphany. I was relieved the moment I made that decision.
Genuine connections, even the non-intense ones, never involve being treated like a whore.
Makes me wonder if the dating roller-coaster should continue…