Respectful retreats on the online dating scene
January 4, 2011 9:29 PM Subscribe
Protips for an online dating/OkCupid n00b: being kind in making the decision to back-off after a string of a few messages raised some personal flags. Specifically and generally, what are my best options?
After beginning to heal significantly from a hurtful past relationship, I started to use OkCupid for the first time to try to get back into the groove of dating, to broaden my scope of dateable individuals, and to have some fun in trying to make better romantic decisions. Along the way, I was messaged by an individual whom I initially found rather attractive.
After exchanging some messages (though no phone chats or actual dates) over the course of about a month, however, I've found myself having second thoughts with regards to this initial attraction. While a few small things bothered me--conversations largely surrounding people he disliked & his light retaliation toward them, drug use--I was bothered by one thing in particular. Despite warning that I was going to be largely out of contact over the holidays due to heavy travel, I received two very anxious messages during the holiday that were both accusatory toward my motives and self-defacingly apologetic in tone. Reading the messages made me feel not only anxious but very guilty and bad. My first instinct was to vigorously reassure him that I in no way meant to send such signals and that he shouldn't be so hard on myself.
Last night, I realized something that had been in the hinterlands of my consciousness for awhile: these traits and dynamics are remarkably similar to those of my ex, with whom I had I somewhat co-dependent relationship that had a lot of accusations/self-defacing/reassuring cycles. And, when I realized that I was essentially chasing my ex down in this individual, my initial attraction collapsed into a nega-attraction singularity. I may be jumping the gun, but it now seems as though pursuing this person seems like a terrible idea. (Also, if things are getting this dramatic before we've even met... geez!)
While I'm immensely glad I had this insight, I feel as though exchanging a few messages certainly entitles this individual to some sort of "goodbye" rather than an ignore. What is proper etiquette in backing off from someone with whom you've had this sort of e-relationship? How do I frame this to be as kind as possible, especially since this individual seems to be particularly sensitive?