He was funny and intelligent during the 4 calls prior to our drink date. His pictures in his online profile were a bit fuzzy, but nothing odious. Our conversation assured me he wasn’t a sex maniac, egomaniac, nor a maniac of any kind. Although it did give me some pause that he was 57 and never married.

We decided to meet in the bar of a nice nearby hotel tonight. I felt I’d sufficiently vetted him to ensure we’d have an enjoyable time.

I didn’t recognize him at first, but he was the only lone man approximating his picture who seemed to be looking for someone. I said his name and he nodded yes.

I suggested he pick a place in the sparsely populated bar. He choose two comfortable chairs both facing out, with a small table in between. So we would be sitting facing the same direction, not each other. Odd choice, I thought, for wanting to get to know each other. I moved my chair 90 degrees to face him. He left his facing out.

He began scouring the single voluminous drink menu. The waitress asked if we were ready and we told her we had no idea. He spent a while examining the choices. The waitress came again. He ordered his drink, then passed the menu to me. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but has “ladies first” gone out of style?

We chatted for a while, picking up some themes from our previous conversations. No flirting. It felt like I was passing time with a seat mate on an airplane or someone waiting in a hotel lobby. No seeming interest in exploring what we might have in common. The conversation wasn’t strained, but neither was it effortless. Some laughter punctuated our discussion of the news, investments, experiences being childless, and other inconsequential things. I tried to think of questions that would lead to more meaningful discussion, but my mind was blank.

After 90 minutes he made an excuse to go. Fine with me. He opened the bill folder to display our check. I said, “What’s our damage?” as I always offer to pay my share. Ninety-eight percent of the men have said, “I’ve got it.” He did not. I put in my money. I arose to don my coat. No help from him. He didn’t offer to walk me to my car in the underground parking lot. We muttered a “Nice to meet you,” and hugged briefly as we parted ways.

When people ask me about my dating life, they assume it is all fine dining, dancing, and scintillating conversation. More than half the men I have gone out with have been “one-date onlys.” The above describes why. There is no spark, no interest in really getting to spend more time together. And perhaps I’m overly scrutinizing, but things like manners count a lot to me on a first encounter.

Does that mean you shouldn’t go out with someone with whom you’ve had a good connection on the phone? You should go out with anyone you find interesting. But you need to know that this is a common experience. Having a great time with someone is not the norm. Ambivalence is the norm. Appreciate it when you have a great time but don’t be upset when you don’t. It’s all part of the process. Plus, you get a new acquaintance.





17 responses to “Ambiva-date”

  1. Mike Avatar

    At least you know why he was never married.

    Nice new look.

  2. luckyatcards Avatar

    Right, no spark. Or worse, almost the anti-spark. That is the thing with online dating and why I finally determined that it’s better to meet after a few emails and pics than it is to invest a week or two emailing and calling. Things can be very interesting in email and even over the phone, and then zilch when you meet.

    I met someone recently the old-fashioned way. It’s so nice to bump into someone, see some mutual interest, flirt a bit, and then plunge all the way in by asking for and making a date. I like online dating too, but I would recommend trying to get away from the computer and get out in the world a bit to see what happens. I think you increase your chances if you try more than one way to find a good relationship.

  3. Midwestgal Avatar

    I started calling them “One Date Wonders”. 🙂

  4. Brenda Avatar

    Your date seemed so “turned off” from the beginning and didn’t even want to do *anything* to get to know you. Was he looking for a young, hot 30 year old? 🙁

    Whether he was interested in you or not, he failed to be a gentleman………..and that demonstrates his lack of character. Yes, this is why he is 57 and unmarried. Probably doesn’t want to have to put in any effort………..let’s just say n*e*x*t!

    I like the idea of flirting with men in the real world as opposed to on-line. And there is nothing wrong with recycling former beaus either!

    I am dating a man I dated 17 years ago – I stopped dating him then because he did not want to be exclusive – however, this time around, it is a completely different story………..he is a much better man 17 years later, and I appreciate him in a whole new way.

  5. char Avatar

    actually, your post made me feel a little better about a date i had a month ago with someone i met online. i’m not actually on any dating sites, as i am slightly burned out on dating people i’ve met over the internet once and it not working out. but this guy saw me on his band’s myspace friends list and thought i seemed cool, so for about two weeks we emailed back and forth. but once we met each other for a date (at his suggestion), things were congenial but somewhat strained… i felt like i had to do all the work in the conversation. i had lots of things i was genuinely interested in asking him, but after a while i noticed he really wasn’t asking ANYthing about me.

    at the end of the date (which he DID pay for, dinner and a movie) he said “well, at least i got to get out for once; it’s been a while.” wow, buddy, tell me how you REALLY feel, lol. that’s cool though, i love honesty, and i could tell there was nothing happening here. i leaned over and gave him a half-hug (he wasn’t walking me out to my car) and said thanks and nice to meet him, and he had to ruin it by saying, “well, we can do it again sometime. text me or email me.” even though i wasn’t too attracted to him on our first meeting, i always try to be open-minded and would have given it a few more dates before i ruled him out. i texted him once and of course never heard from him again.

    there are photos of me on my page looking exactly as i am (i gained 20 lbs recently, though everyone insists i’m not fat, and i’m 38) so that can’t be the problem. the only thing i can figure out is, since this was right after the presidential election and i was so excited that obama won, i brought that up in an email, and right after that (three days before the date) his emailing slowed down remarkably, though he said he was just busy. the subject came up again on the date and he again pointedly avoided that discussion.

    i really need to work on not letting rejection by people who i don’t want anyway bother me so much.. it’s just after this happens a few times in a row and i’m not sure why, it causes me to wonder if i’m doing something wrong. dating goddess, i love your attitude about dating and men and that’s why i keep reading! i’m hoping it will rub off on me eventually 🙂

    PS sorry this post is so long…it’s my first ever!

  6. elena Avatar

    It was like looking into a mirror reading your post, I could relate 100% to what you wrote, particularly where you said you need to work on not letting rejection by people who you’re not interested in get to you. I’ve struggled with the exact some problem.

    I’ve had the same kind of experiences with guys who were gung ho about meeting me because of some mutual friend connection or seeing my photo, etc. and then in person blah, nothing. And it’s like you said, we’re not interested in them but it still stings when they act so blah about us after seeming initially, pre-date, so enthusiastic.

    It is possible that your interest in Obama/politics was a turn-off to this guy. But if politics is important to you, no reason for you to hide your views, although I do think it’s better to stay away from politics and religion on the first date. That said, better you find a guy who is in sync with your political outlook or who can appreciate the differences.

    Thanks for sharing your story with the rest of us and hang in there! Everything is subject to change, so think and be positive. 🙂

  7. Samantha Avatar

    I agree with the post above as far as seeking additional avenues to meet people. I think online should be just one way… especially if one is over 50. In my early 40’s it was still a breeze pretty much to find guys who were more open and available. The older we became the harder it all was… and I noticed when I was thin they were after me. I gained 40 lbs then it became verrrrry hard. I’ve lost 20 of it and met someone at work. LOL.

    I met someone from at a local pub. We sat down to chat, but after maybe a minute he said he didn’t think it was gonna work out. I asked why and he said he thought I would be more petite. I was a size 12/14.. not a size 22.. but he wasn’t gonna give me the time of day. He asked if I wanted him to walk me out and I said “just get out of here.” So, my advice to all who are online – make sure that picture really looks like you do right now! 🙂

  8. char Avatar

    thanks so much for your comment 🙂 it’s nice to know i’m not alone. i have a lot going on right now (mostly bad, lol) so i have just decided to work on myself and my life for a while and maybe i’ll “try” meeting someone later on…but meanwhile, i’ll keep my eye out, just in case 😀 wishing you luck in love as well!!

  9. blue Avatar

    I hope no one bites my head off for these questions; but why is it a bad thing that a person never married?

    Is marriage some sort of holy grail that if you fail to attempt it, then you are the anti-christ?

    Are non-married people any less than people who have been or are married? Is your character flawed because you never said ‘I do’?

    Why are red flags put up because someone makes a choice, for whatever reasons, not to get married?

  10. amber Avatar

    Thank you so much blue. Why are people who have never been married considered the lepers of society when others who have married and divorced (failed) considered better people? I want to know what character flaws come to mind when you hear that someone is 30, 40, 50+ and never married?

  11. blue Avatar

    I’m sorry Amber, but I don’t assume any charcter flaws just based on marital status regardless of any age. I try not to judge.

    I can only base my opinion of a character flaw on what they show me as a person.

    I’m just trying to get an answer to the question, what is so wrong with an umarried person after a certain age?

    Because I know a few unmarried couples who have longer lasting relationships than any married couples. They love each other and are very loyal and committed.

  12. elena Avatar

    Yep, the “never been married” = “something must be really wrong with that person” is a common stereotype in our society. But as Blue said, there are plenty of people who have never officially tied the knot and yet have enjoyed longer and more stable relationships than some people who have been married multiple times. Some prime and very public examples are Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell and Susan Sarandon/Tim Robbins. Neither couple is married but have been together for decades, which is saying a lot considering they’re in Hollywood.

  13. Dating Goddess Avatar

    There is nothing necessarily wrong with someone who hasn’t been married by midlife. But if they haven’t been in a long-term, committed relationship, that gives me pause. “Never-been-marrieds” make me curious, but it isn’t a red flag, just something to note.

    I’m more cautious of someone who’s been married more than a few times. I had a dinner date once with a man who’d been married 5 times and divorced from them all. That makes me curious about his judgment and how soon he jumps to marriage. We can all make mistakes in judgment thinking something is the real deal then find out otherwise after a short while. But if that happens too often, something is amiss.

    If someone is a widow/widower and has had multiple marriages, that’s a different story.

  14. […] on the other hand, have recently had a date with my ninety-second man. (See Ambiva-date.) People ask me if I’m trying to get to number 100. I say, “No, I’m trying to get […]

  15. Cilla Avatar

    I agree about not dallying too long on email or phone chat before meeting in person. I used to think delaying the first meeting gave me a better chance to screen potential dates, but now I just find it sets me up for greater disappointment if the date doesn’t go well. I recently had this experience with a man I met online. We emailed furiously for a week, then went to phone calls, which lasted hours. The chemistry seemed apparent. Until we met in person. I can’t explain it–there was just no spark.

    And I’m 47–it’s exhausting to keep giving my life history, my career history, etc., over 20 emails, when I could just have a simple face-to-face conversation with a man and get it out in 5 minutes. This gets difficult with long distance suitors who can’t meet right away, but even there, I’m starting to think, “a couple of emails, a few phone calls, then it’s fish or cut bait. If one of us won’t travel to meet the other, game over.

  16. HARRIET Avatar

    No one has answered the question yet. Someone, please: what character/sanity/moral defects are ascribed to someone who hasn’t been in a relationship?

    As a 49 year old woman who has never had a relationship for even five mintues, never had more than two dates with the same person, it is important for me to see myself as others see me.

    Personally, I don’t feel as if there is anything wrong with me.

  17. Tim G Avatar
    Tim G

    Harriet, Dear,

    If you are at the age of 49, plus no one has answered your question yet, and you have not reasoned it yourself yet, then maybe there are no answers to your question. Who told you that there are any character/sanity/moral defects ascribed to someone who hasn’t been in a relationship? If someone has told you this then they need to mind their own business, check their rudeness meter, and become more compassionate to us unfortunate singles. I am 49 as well and have developed a great deal of wisdom by dating and living longer. If no one has answered your question then maybe there isn’t one. If you feel something is wrong with you then the thoughts are coming from your own head. And thoughts can be changed. In addition to this, what, Harriet, would you do with the answer to this question that would be helpful to you? Begin to introduce positive thoughts to your own mind that you are not going to be influenced by others’ comments. Introduce into your own mind that you are a beautiful person and if someone doesn’t care for you then that’s their choice and thank God there is not only one other man on earth. Repeat in your mind that you are OK just how you are right now and that you deserve to be loved because you are a human being like everybody else.

    Most of my adult I felt that I was not worthy of a woman loving me, and even spending time with me. Why? Who cares! It is my past. Maybe it was the way my father brought me up. Or my DNA. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care! I have asked many women out now and have never been called a pervert, idiot, creep, or had the police called on me. Those thoughts were coming from my own head! I began to do what I am suggeting to you and I now KNOW I am a man of character and integrity, kindness, and love. BECAUSE I SAID SO.

    Have a found a relationship yet? No. I am challenged with the same thing the rest of you are challenged with. A huge number of dates that don’t work out. This is normal Harriett. Don’t fish for answers that will support your feelings of being incapable. You are OK exactly how you are right now. Go out and talk with people until you find a nice man. It is tough for all of us. The only other option is to not go out at all. The question you want the answer to is when you turn 50 will you have a boyfriend or won’t you. So go and meet more people. Loving friendships come first before relationships. You can’t enjoy a chocolate cake without cooking it first.

    I will be in a loving relationship because I said so. I continue to stay busy making new acquaintances and new friends. And remember, every new friend you make has male friends, cousins, and sisters.

    Have a wonderful day,