Girl meets Boy… on Tinder (direction change!)
My third attempt at Tinder last year was a huge success. I tindered hard – I’m talking ‘there is no one left in your vicinity’ style tindering. And the results were brilliant. I almost won at Tinder! I met good looking, cool gentlemen I had varying degrees of interest in. One was literally a men’s health cover model who was successful and decent – a little too churchie for my heathen taste but nonetheless an all round good person.
And then I met him. His first tinder experience, back in Cape Town for his annual 7 month work stint and I thought: this could be it!
Our first date he arrived flustered and sweating having lost his wallet the night before, only to find it moments before rushing out the door to meet me. He was in an adorable bumbling state about it, ending his monologue with ‘it’s the worst feeling – you just, never, never want to lose your wallet!’ to which I nodded on cue for ‘I couldn’t agree more. Hi, I’m Lauren Wallett’. It felt like I was in a Woody Allen movie! Tick for storybook meeting!
The situation with me and most guys is that we have very little commonality. I’m not the girl trail running on weekends, or riding my bike or paddling or yelping ‘Go Bokke’ at the TV screen, it’s not my vibe. I’m either with my friends wining and dining celebrating life, reading, going to theater or watching movies. When I’m not working, I like to do as little as possible. And this guy was a complete movie buff. I felt transported back to film and drama school and got to indulge in a subject I haven’t delved into that deeply since I was 19. It was an instant connection and although I’d promised myself not to dive in and put all my eggs in one basket again, I deleted Tinder and I did.
Within a few weeks I was planning how I’d uproot and move to America. We got on so well, laughed all the time, spent all our time together, what could be better? Turns out real, real could be better than fantasy.
Whether it was the 40 and never married, ‘only here for 7 months’ or the fact that he was a hollywood film director – the message finally fit home when he mentioned the ‘other women’ around the globe and his general disbelief in monogamy. His plans to return home for new years didn’t include me because – he had another date waiting in LA. My fantasy disintegrated. There’s sadly no rationalizing with a man who can’t see the of value of one vs many. There is no favorite choice meal for those who prefer the buffet.
After I consoled myself with a whirlwind London trip (another story all together) we picked up where we’d left off. We’d previously discussed him ending it with the girls and he seemed on board so I hoped for the best but guarded my heart and embarked on what he’d stated upfront as the ideal set up: an open relationship. I say I, because we never discussed it and I’m not certain how fully ‘open’ he went in South Africa at least. He had a best girlfriend who he saw from time to time – who’s Valentine’s day birthday lunch I was strictly not invited to because – you know how there is no space at a wine farm when lunch is a snack platter and you have to squeeze in an extra chair, err on the field? Don’t we all! I’d be crazy to expect an invite on Valentine’s day right? (Right.) I saw a couple of texts come through on his whatsapp from a women, which I pretended to ignore, but in for the most part we spent all our time together and I was unaware of whatever ‘others’ there may have been.
What ‘open’ meant to me was, we were never exclusively dating so I was able to meet men as potential partner options. In my view, a exclusive relationship means monogamy. While I’m all for the delights of a single lifestyle, if I commit, I’m all in. This was an inbetweener.
It was like swimming in the shallow end. Just the fun and easy stuff: hanging out and watching a lot of movies, going to concerts and dinners, even meeting each others friends (and we went camping which was actually awesome!) but there was never any future talk, any deep and meaningful conversation about feelings – it was the most unusual ‘relationship’ I’ve ever attempted. But I couldn’t stop – I tried ending it and within a week I was back. It was fun and emotionally confusing. The detached connection fascinated me.
It was this weird dynamic: as long as I didn’t push him to feel, he was happy to stay. I’ve seen couples like this and never understood them. The ones where you can see there is no burning love or desire for one another, yet they complacency stay put. It used to astound me. Why do they stay together? Now I get it: it’s the comfort of convenience. There is something hugely comforting about dating a man who will never be able to break your heart because he doesn’t have it. Its like the ultimate convenience food – it’s fills the gap but is never deeply satisfying. I really, really liked him but even at it’s maximum capacity, it’s safe to say it wouldn’t have exploded into Love.
6 months in, a feeling flared up and I dared to mention my sadness that he was still projecting himself as very single online. Instead of threatening to leave as he had over Valentine’s day plans, he completely agreed and understood where I was coming from. It was totally unexpected and for a moment I thought we’d turned a corner! The dude posted his first pic of us on Facebook.
How can you tell if he loves you so? It’s in his facebook post.
My friends were like ‘What!? Are you guys actually dating now??’ but as it turns out: putting me in public was a little too much for the fella.
In less than a week, we had his ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ conversation and his issue of ‘commitment’ rose its eager head. This ‘break up’ was the first real conversation we’d had. I was finally able to mention that we weren’t dating and that I now had the ending for my Tinder story.
It turns out that all Tinder resulted in for me was an extended hook up. (The same ending I’d used on the first draft of this pre New Years.) But what this hook up / hanging out / open-style pseudo relationship did give me was: a lovely friend; someone I went on adventures with; shared memorable new experiences with and watched lots and lots of movies with! At the end of it, I’ve left with my heart fully intact – if anything, more open and ready to welcome in the real deal.
It’s not the fairytale ending, but the more I live out these experiences, the more I realize, that real life is what’s most entertaining and enjoyable.
Good luck on Tinder and may the odds be ever in your favour
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