Online Dating Pileup
August 2, 2009 11:32 PM   Subscribe

I met someone that I (really) like through an online dating service (rhymes with batch.bomb) - but I'm in correspondence (and in one case f2f) withe several others. What should I say to them?

I have had the usual progression from several/many e-mails to meetings of increasing intimacy (emotional intimacy - nothing more physical than a hug), but in the midst of these, met someone (we'll call her "X") and became physically and emotionally intimate quite quickly. We seem to have hit it off extremely well, and X has told me that she canceled her online membership, while I have (somewhat ambivalently) continued innocent(?) e-mail conversations that had begun before I met X. I haven't started or replied to anyone new, but did have a f2f meeting that had been scheduled before I met X, and which was pleasant, but without anything flirty/intimate. My question is what should I do about these others? Should I write each one a "Dear Jane" letter, even though we have done nothing more than corresponded online, maybe say that I have met someone, but would like to be friends (truthfully), drop from sight, join the foreign legion?
posted by youchirren to Human Relations (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Drop from sight.

I've sent the "Dear Jane" letter to women with whom I had an online relationship after meeting someone that I was really interested in. When that didn't work out, I found the majority of the recipients of those letters never responded to attempts at restarting any communications. In retrospect, the way I see it (and I think the way they saw it) - I blew them off, then the favor was returned.

So pursue that blossoming relationship exclusively, and good luck. If it works out, wonderful. If not, it won't be too difficult to reconnect with your other online prospects.

I can generally multi-task, but not so much when it comes to women. YMMV.
posted by walleeguy at 11:58 PM on August 2, 2009

It's polite to say something, but hardly anybody ever does. This goes double if you'd actually like to remain friends. However...

You need to deal with your visiting the site on the sly. That way lies drama, and if you're wanting to end things nicely with these other women so you have someone to fall back on, then tsk tsk. Srsly, dude, if you come back here in three months or a year with all kinds of drama because you were being a snake, then well...I'll have this to remind me to say "I told you so."
posted by rhizome at 11:59 PM on August 2, 2009

If the shoe were on the other foot, how would you want to be treated? That is, if you were single and pursuing someone with some success, but then that person found someone else, would you want a polite note letting you know? Something along the lines of, "I've had a wonderful time talking with you. I've recently become involved with someone, so it's not fair for me to continue this, but I have enjoyed it. I wish you the best of luck in this crazy dating world! And I hope we can continue to be friends, even though it cannot be anything more than that."
posted by Houstonian at 1:04 AM on August 3, 2009 [8 favorites]

I've received an email that was approximately thus:

"I just wanted to let you know that I've met someone and we've really hit it off. I'm dropping out of the site to pursue that relationship. Best of luck to you in your own search, I would have liked to have met you."

And I felt very kindly disposed to the man who sent it -- genuinely happy that he had found the right person, since that's what we were there for, and pleased that he'd not just dropped out incommunicado but instead left me with a nice compliment.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:41 AM on August 3, 2009 [11 favorites]

Say you met someone and you can't offer them any more than friendship. If you/they want to stay friends, correspond in some other way besides the aforementioned dating site (I don't know why this can't be named). Don't hide the new friendships, and don't write anything that you wouldn't want new flame to read (i.e. keep them aboveboard).

I disagree strongly with merely dropping out of sight. It's incredibly rude. Just because you CAN do it online doesn't mean you SHOULD.
posted by desjardins at 7:54 AM on August 3, 2009

while I have (somewhat ambivalently) continued innocent(?) e-mail conversations that had begun before I met X.

They're not 'innocent' - it's a dating site, everyone's looking for a relationship. You've become unavailable, so your conversations are being carried on under false pretenses. Tell them you've met someone and are pursuing that. Definitely say you've enjoyed talking to them and are available to continue conversing as a friend.

This isn't a situation unique to online dating, by the way. There's an etiquette to dating, and it involves letting other prospects know that you're seeing/talking to other people as well as them, and then letting them know again when you're ready to become exclusive with someone else.

As desjardins says, dropping out of sight is just rude. You can do it, but it's not at all classy or honorable. If you like keeping a good opinion of yourself, then be polite and honest and let everyone know the score. If nothing else, consider that you're doing a lovely favor to the people you've been conversing with: letting them know that you really did like them, but just aren't free right now - rather then having them sit wondering what they did or said wrong, or was it that new picture they uploaded, or why you changed your mind - perhaps even sending a few potentially cringe-inducing emails trying to get a response from you, and feeling increasingly pathetic. Don't leave people hanging; it's just good manners.
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2009

I agree with jacquilynne. It's just courteous and may leave the door still open for future contact if your current interest falls through.
posted by Groovytimes at 12:58 PM on August 3, 2009

I vote for dropping out of sight. And I say this being somebody who's been dropped out of sight on. Those dating sites are rough. Really rough. And frankly getting an e-mail from somebody being like "Hey, yeah, you're cool, but I found somebody better," when we're not even actually dating? Please, God, no. That just hurts. Seriously, every variation on that somebody has said above me, I cringed. Visibly cringed. If the person I'm talking to just disappears, I'm like "Well, that sucks, but that's what happens on dating sites."
posted by dithmer at 4:55 PM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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