Hello and happy Saturday. You already know about my most recent fail story when it comes to online dating, and even though I felt ready to share it with the world, I must admit that I’m still mourning the death of a potential relationship. If we count the weeks in which MHD disappeared on me and everything, we were in each other’s lives for three months, and that’s a considerable amount of time and effort we each, in our own way, put in.
In last week’s post, I talked about some things I learned with this whole situation, but I think the most important one was to receive and listen to the right type of advice. My first big conclusion in terms of dating advice would be to try to get it and understand it before things happen. Since things started going downhill with MHD, I started watching Mark Rosenfeld‘s videos reading his blog, Make Him Yours.
I gave myself the whole “dating advice for women is totally anti-feminist” speech before watching the first video. And then all of my preconceptions died away as I kept listening to Mark’s advice. You’d have to see for yourselves and judge whether you’re into what he says, and also whether you’d apply it to your life. In my case, I felt that he was pretty accurate describing attitudes I’d been having towards MHD, as well as some of his reactions.
Whether my thing with MHD would have worked or not had I listen to Mark’s advice earlier on, is something that I wouldn’t know. What I do know, is that I now have a set of tools to work with once I’m ready to start online dating again, and that’s what I mean when I say that I think it’s better to get that advice before things happen. I feel that I now can anticipate myself to some of my attitudes or my reactions towards a guy’s attitude, and I can be smarter about what to say, instead of just not thinking and messing things up.
Now, every person’s situation is different, and I think that’s why so many people don’t follow dating advice from a coach. The thing is, I’ve never really dated in real life, and I want to start doing it once I move abroad, but I don’t know anything about it. I know a great deal about online dating, and that’s helped me be more confident. It’s also helped me see what I want and what I don’t want in guys.
MHD really put my lack of knowledge about relationships (and my patience) to the test. Even though we both agreed on not being exclusive, our interactions were pretty much the ones of a couple. Again, this may not be true, but I don’t have the experience to tell. In the situations when I felt like I needed those words of wisdom, I turned to my friends, and it wasn’t until I watched Mark’s videos that the I realized advice they were giving me was just as bad as what I was doing myself.
For instance, MHD used to wake up really late, so I usually din’t hear about him until noon, when I was having lunch. It made me crazy that he wouldn’t respond to my “good morning” texts (which I sent at five in the morning, when I woke up). First off, I was assuming he didn’t want to talk to me. I didn’t know he woke up so late. I hated when he opened a message right after waking up, but didn’t reply immediately, so I would push him, sending another text, to which he’d always reply and then we would have a conversation. I told H, one of my best friends, this situation and she told me, “play hard to get.”
Now, what she meant was that I should ignore him for a couple of days. By “ignore” I mean read his texts and don’t respond, to basically make him beg. That didn’t really sound like a great idea, and even then I knew, without resorting to any dating coaches, that if I did that, he would most likely lose interest. Honestly, though, who likes to have somebody read your message and then ignore you? I wasn’t going to do to him what he did to me. I did, however, give him some time, and that’s probably one of the best pieces of dating advice I’ve gotten from Mark’s videos, which I will discuss in a future post.
There’s this thing called “intermittent reinforcement,” which I’ve applied when texting a guy I like. The way I see it, which might be totally wrong, and if it is, please correct me, is that, by not being consistent with the way in which I contact a guy, he will take an active part in the process of contacting me as well. By texting MHD every day at the same time, he knew he’d get my text by the time he woke up, right? But when I decided to give him some time, and didn’t text him one morning, he was the one who texted me. Now, because the idea is that the times are random and inconsistent, the following day I did text him first, only not at the time I usually did. I think you get the point.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “well, if you had that amazing strategy at hand, why did your thing with this guy fail so miserably?” The answer is pretty clear to me at the moment, but it wasn’t then, and it’s that I wasn’t really being smart. When something was weird with MHD, I’d seek my friends’ advice, who’d tell me “all men are the same,” but would leave me just as confused and desperate as before, or worse because now I thought that things would just suck for me no matter who I dated.
D, who is my other best friend, is this super rational girl. She’s also very traditional and old-fashioned. Before things with MHD got out of hand, and before I went batshit crazy, I asked for her advice, which I’d been avoiding because I knew that, unlike my other friends, she was going to tell me the cold, hard truth. She was the one who told me that it was shady that MHD only decided to appear on the day before I came back home, while I’d been trying to get a hold of him for almost a full week.
She told me not to give the lead role to a guy who for now was just an extra. She told me that, had a guy ghosted her or my sister, like MHD did me, I would’ve advised them to ditch him. She basically told me what I didn’t want to hear and what I am now learning to assimilate and integrate into this new mindset I’m working on.
Many times during those three months I spent talking to MHD, I told myself “dating sucks,” or “I suck at dating,” and now I honestly think that for that particular experience, those things were a bit true. I wasn’t making smart decisions and I was taking advice from people who I knew would tell me what I wanted to hear; I didn’t stop and think. I was forced to do that, but now I’m taking that opportunity to take all those pieces of advice that maybe I didn’t want to hear, or those that came too late, and I’m getting myself ready for what’s to come.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who thinks they suck at dating? Let me know in the comments!
Love, Miss Camila