Should I date someone I'm not attracted to if the other option is never dating?
June 6, 2010 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Should I date someone I'm not attracted to if the other option is never dating? I'm a girl. I went on a date with a boy I met on the internet, and it was pathetic. We talked about my mother, his mother, and lesbian movies I've seen. (Was that a bad subject for a first date? I'm inexperienced.) He was using open body language and I was using closed. I didn't realise this at the time. He was totally uninitiative and way too nice and I found that unappealing.

I don't go on dates because I rarely find anyone I even might be attracted to. I am not attracted to random people I see on the street or at gatherings. I suspect they are also not attracted to me because I don't make much effort to be attractive myself. I'm not asexual — I have an active self-sex life! I'm lonely but not good at liking people, and I do try. I'm depressed and on medication which messes up my sexual response, but either I was like this before or I've been depressed my whole life (quite possible).

Post-date, I feel like I want to give up on the whole gender, but if it's hard to find boy-dates it's a lot harder to find lesbian girl-dates (no, I'm not attracted to real girls either except very marginally and non-specifically and I fantasise more about men. I don't want this to be a confusion-about-my-sexuality thread). He was sweet and nice and I liked his cat. I know that translates as 'don't date him', but then what can I do? I'm not going to like the next person any better and I don't know when I'm going to find them.

How can I have a whole internet (um, world) full of people and not like any of them enough to think hanging out or sleeping together sounds fun?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you need to focus on yourself instead of someone else and arent ready to date. I'd get right with me if I were you.
posted by TheBones at 4:05 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Should I date someone I'm not attracted to if the other option is never dating?

No. No. No. Someday you'll meet someone you really, really like, and you'll be like, "Why did I ever consider wasting my time with someone I don't click with?" It's true, even if you don't believe me now. Plus, long stretches of being alone build character.

(And not to get all moral on you, because I totally understand that you're lonely and being lonely sucks, but playing with other people's feelings is never a good thing to do. If you pretend to be interested in someone you aren't attracted to, you are playing with his feelings.)
posted by oinopaponton at 4:07 PM on June 6, 2010 [16 favorites]

It sounds to me like you're trying too hard. Relax.

You know the old saying, "It's not the destination, it's the journey."
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2010

No date is sooo much better than a bad date. Be your own date and do the things you love to do. Don't waste your time with someone you don't like. It's not good for you and it's not good for them.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2010

How about 2 more dates with this guy? I am not sure how much you can tell about one person after only meeting them once.
posted by The1andonly at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2010

Based on my reading of what you've written above, it sounds like you're looking for comapnionship more than a realtionship. Try and find someone with similar interests as you. Don't worry about the relationship/sleeping together thing in the beginning. Focus on having a good time with the person, regardless of your sexual/romantic attraction (or lack thereof) in the beginning. Based on my reading of what you've written above, it sounds like you're looking for comapnionship more than a realtionship.
posted by KingEdRa at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2010

You sound completely miserable. Approaching dating from that point isn't likely to be very successful- who wants to date someone miserable? I think you need to focus on having more fun with your life. Focus on the short-term, take things one day at a time. If you had a good time with this guy, try it again and see what happens. Go with the flow, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2010

No. Don't ever date someone you don't like. Its outright rude to them, and unfair to yourself. You gave other issues that need to be addressed first. Concentrate on pleasing yourself and develop any relationships based on shared mutual interests. The romance/sex thing will fall naturally into place, its never a good idea to force these things.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2010

I'm lonely but not good at liking people, and I do try.

Could you address your loneliness some way other than dating? Such as making friends through a sport or activity group?
posted by Mike1024 at 4:18 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not often attracted to random people I see on the street, either. I'm much more attracted to people after I've gotten to know them a tiny bit. It's amazing what little (non physical) things about someone can seem cute sometimes.

There are a few people I've met in person and become pretty damn attracted to, and then randomly run across their profiles on dating sites. I don't think I would have jumped at the chance to go on a date with these people just from looking at their profiles.

It's hard to know what's going on for you, but it could be a little of this.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:19 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm depressed and on medication which messes up my sexual response, but either I was like this before or I've been depressed my whole life

I'm not going to like the next person any better

In my experience, depression manifests as you finding lots of reasons why a situation is hopeless, why any offered solution to your problems won't work so it's hopeless, etc.

Consider this: you went on one date, and didn't hit it off with the guy. From this you conclude that you will never like someone that you go on a date with? It's an unwarranted conclusion. Imagine if I said "I went to one restaurant. I thought it was so-so. Thus I will give up on all restaurants from now on." That would be an over-generalization, right?

It's not easy at the best of times to find people that you really click with, but that means hang in there, don't get discouraged when it doesn't happen immediately (because it's rare for it to happen immediately for anyone).

If you are genuinely concerned about possible partners not finding you attractive because you don't make much of an effort with your appearance, well, you could try making a bit more of an effort. For your date, did you bathe and dress nicely, do the basics? Have you gotten a haircut lately (eg last 6 months)? Doing at least the bare minimum is a good idea even if you're not dating, it will help you to feel more worthy and more confident.

I assume you're in therapy or in contact with a therapist of some kind, to get your meds. You should tell that person that you are feeling this kind of hopelessness "it will never work out for me" kind of feeling, because it might indicate you need to adjust your meds or do some kind of additional therapy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:20 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

The thing about first dates is that most of them don't work out. That's just the nature of finding people you like. This is really, really discouraging, but maybe it's easier if you know that you're not alone in this. (Maybe there are some lucky folk out there who just trip merrily from soulmate to soulmate... I don't think that's the norm, though.)

It sounds to me like this wasn't a really bad date. You just didn't click with the guy. So in a sense it was a success: you met someone, you learned (a) that you probably don't want to keep dating him, (b) some things to think about when trying to decide if you might like some other person, (c) some things you might do to make a date go better in the future. And if you're able to distinguish between liking someone vs. not liking them but being really lonely, then you're already doing better than a lot of people.

As a couple of people have said, you might give this guy another chance or two: maybe with a little more time you'll find things in common. But if not, then move on. Sticking with someone you don't like just for the company really is worse than being alone, in addition to being cruel to the other person.

There are things like speed dating. The very idea of speed dating fills me with sick horror, but it's great for some people. Maybe it would be good for you. It gets you talking to a bunch of different people, at least, and it kind of seems like that's the hurdle you're facing.
posted by hattifattener at 4:23 PM on June 6, 2010

Hmm... You say you can't find anyone to that you think would be fun to " hang out or sleep with". but also that you "I have an active self-sex life!" What does that mean? Can you date these people your having sex with? Or do you just mean a lot of, uh, self help?

Anyway, I think you just need to get comfortable with people. Try hanging out with guys as friends first. If you get comfortable with someone as a friend, you can try escalating to dating.
posted by Paris Hilton at 4:29 PM on June 6, 2010

There's nothing wrong with talking about lesbian movies or your mothers if you guys are both into it. I talk about my mom and the 'L Word' and how exciting it is to identify trees. I avoid those subjects if the other party is clearly bored, but otherwise it's pretty fun to chat about things that I actually care about and not just what I 'should' be talking about. If you're putting this date down because you think it would seem pathetic to other people, then try to let that go. Don't necessarily think about whether you want to have sex with him - just try hanging out with him a couple of times, and if you are just into him as a friend, then tell him that if he wants more.
posted by ajarbaday at 4:36 PM on June 6, 2010

"He was sweet and nice and I liked his cat. I know that translates as 'don't date him'"

What? Pardon me but this is ridiculous. A nice, sweet guy means "don't date him"? You are inventing reasons to avoid this guy...or gender. Stop it. You're building up mental walls that will be hard to tear down once you mature. Pardon me again, but you sound very immature.

I apologize, sincerely, if this sounds harsh. But it sounds to me like you're still too involved with yourself to seriously consider relationships with other people. Your discernment doesn't start with "what I like about people" starts with "nobody's good enough; I just don't like anybody". How can any guy (or girl) compete with that? I don't know if it's a product of your depression and medication, or if it's your general world view. Doesn't much matter. But the world is FULL of good people.

Take solace in yourself for a while. Don't lower your standards, but stop starting everyone else off having to defend their existence. We're all as valid as you. Just relax. You will be fine. You can be happy.
posted by carlh at 4:38 PM on June 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

It seems to me that maybe you don't really understand what it means to date or are uncomfortable with the idea of having a romantic interaction with a man. Do you think about how fun it will be to flirt with a guy when you're out? Or are you thinking of dating as just someone to pass the time with? Because when you first meet someone you may not immediately get a rush of attraction, but if you're more comfortable and having a good time with them, it'll probably (hopefully) lead to more if that's what you want. It sounds like you need to go on a LOT more dates with a LOT more people and explore who you are in the dating world.
posted by Unred at 4:50 PM on June 6, 2010

When I read the question I thought you were asking about purely physical attractiveness. But it sounds like he is profoundly uninteresting to you. That is bad.

Think about it to its full conclusion. Let's say he has the same attitude as you -- "I'm not happy but this is my only option" -- and so you both take this along to its logical conclusion. Since neither of you makes any attempt to leave, you start dating regularly, and then become a "couple", become engaged, have children, etc. etc. Imagine 40+ years or your life with this person. Does that answer your question on whether you should continue dating?

I know you don't believe this, but you can find someone interesting out there who flips enough of your switches that you can imagine something more serious with them. You need to allow yourself more time to look.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:02 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Take the third option: get right with yourself and stop worrying about dating, but be open to it if it happens.
posted by davejay at 5:05 PM on June 6, 2010

I'm not going to like the next person any better...

It sounds like you're making very quick snap-judgments about people almost as soon as you meet them. The problem is, most people - especially people you meet on the internet - will not be at their best during the first few moments of your conversation. The judgments you're making about them are highly dependent on what kind of day they're having, how comfortable they are in social situations, and what kind of social signals they're receiving from you.

Try this: Each time you meet someone new, pretend that your closest friend or respected mentor has recommended them. Imagine them telling you, "Yeah, he takes a while to warm up to new people, but he's really a great guy. Give him a chance, won't you?" Then treat the person with the respect and good grace that your friend or mentor would expect from you. Treat it as a mystery: what is it about this person that caused your friend or mentor recommend him? What good qualities might he have that I haven't noticed yet??

This won't make every person you meet worth dating. You will still have some really bad dates. But it will give the people you date the opportunity to be at their best, not at their worst, while you're deciding whether you want to see them again. It will probably make you seem a lot more attractive to them, too.
posted by embrangled at 5:08 PM on June 6, 2010 [12 favorites]

Should I date someone I'm not attracted to if the other option is never dating?

Yes. How else are you going to get comfortable with this dating thing? You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince.
posted by caddis at 5:28 PM on June 6, 2010

I’m answering this to give you another perspective or way to view this anonyOP.
First, I do understand part of where you are coming from. I have to honestly admit I sometimes find people boring, and I’ve going on dates and thought “I just don’t connect with this person and would rather be by myself than go through this.” A lot of chit chat can send me on that ledge quickly, and that may not reflect the person but rather the situation (Is this a sit down lunch or dinner date? With someone you barely know? This is usually what can happen).

So I’m going to suggest something different. Remember that you get to play a role in the decision as to where you go and what you do, too. What are you really passionate about? Enjoy music or a certain band? Hiking? Biking? Bungee jumping? So if someone suggests “let’s meet and go do dinner”, suggest an alternate activity. Or…are there things that you have been curious about and want to try? Maybe the guy will suggest some of those things and you can see this through the other person’s eyes. If you are doing something new to you or that you really enjoy how can that not be fun? It doesn't need to equal a dinner date as the first date, though, which would bore a lot of pple.

Also try changing your mind set a bit. Provided that you have had enough conversation before that first date to realize that you have something in common – surely you can have an interesting conversation and learn something new about another person for a few hours, right? It doesn’t have to be a conversation about mothers if you don’t want it to be – remember that you can ask questions and change the conversation in another direction.

Also nthing cowbell’s comment – maybe you can try to get to know people in a non-dating setting? Move on from there? I don't think you will dislike "all people" if you spend more time just a few people doing things that you enjoy.It is really easy to dismiss people and expect them to meet lots of criteria if you deal with them blindly on an internet site.
posted by Wolfster at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Should I date someone I'm not attracted to

The answer to this question is always, without exception, NO.

If you are dating someone, it is generally implied that there is a mutual attraction. Imagine how you'd feel if someone was dating you, except they weren't attracted to you, and it finally came out in the open--believe me, this stuff always comes out. Usually extremely painfully for the other party.

Shorter answer: no. don't lie to dating partners.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:12 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dating means, 'I am interested on getting to know you in a way that I hope becomes romantic.'

If the person asking you for a date is not someone you're even remotely curious about on a romantic level, then you are being at least dishonest in accepting the date.

(I was recently given the advice to go on another date with a guy because, 'hey, maybe he'll introduce you to the guy you will marry!' I think that advice is horse puckey.)

Nthing the advice to join into group activities. Rock climbing, political activism, bike rides, cooking class, dance lessons. You want to meet people because your friends will introduce you to eligible bachelors and invite you to parties.
posted by bilabial at 6:23 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh. And you set up a terrible false dichotomy in your title. Your options may be this guy tomorrow or no date tomorrow, but never is a very drastic word.

And a bit melodramatic, if I dare say.
posted by bilabial at 6:26 PM on June 6, 2010

Nooooo. You'll just be giving yourself more baggage to stress over. Trust me on this one.

That said, if you find him cute on paper (personality and looks) you can go on another date to be sure. But if you still don't like him, don't date him.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:30 PM on June 6, 2010

I agree with bilabial. I am just like you in that I go years between liking anyone. I have regretted every "give him a chance" date I went on where I had zero interest in the guy sexually and didn't care (at best) if I ever saw him again. If you've already met and talked to the guy and he asks you out and you don't actually feel any desire to do it, SAY NO. (Online dating, on the other hand, is about the one time where "give him a chance" dating might work because you don't already know that you don't like him in person.) Dating people you are not interested in is mean and leadng the poor schmucks on.

In this dude's case, you met him online, you gave him the chance, you're uninterested. Don't date him any more if you don't care if you see him again.

So...don't date unless you actually find someone interesting. Don't do "give him a chance" dates when you don't.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:25 PM on June 6, 2010

Do you like anything? I mean this seriously. Do you get attached to movies, to music, to hiking, to a sport, to a pet, to anything?

Have you ever sat there stunned at how great something is, in pleasant disbelief that you get to experience it? Have you longed for something?

I'm going to guess you don't experience this emotion much, if at all. I might be wrong. Sorry to offend, but you sound kind of dour. Become not dour by teaching yourself how to become affectionate and fond and a little carried away by things, even small things. A great dinner. A certain street at sunset. Something you're nostalgic about.

If you can't generate these feelings, no matter how much you try, you will remain dour. In which case, get to a shrink and say: "I want to experience delight, even at the risk of experiencing everything else, too."

The capacity to feel affection for other people will follow.
posted by argybarg at 8:54 PM on June 6, 2010 [7 favorites]

Your results may vary, but one of the best girlfriends that I ever had was someone who I felt no attachment to at first. Then I got to know her and found out that she really had a lot going on.

Also I hate dating. Find something to do that is social and that you enjoy. Then you will find friends with similar interests. Takes all the pressure off.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:44 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Should I date someone I'm not attracted to if the other option is never dating?

No. This is a horrible idea, and will probably end up eating up a lot of time and ending badly.

The fact you don't think the next person you meet will be any better than this fellow is a sign you should probably hold off on dating. I think you are better off not dating till you feel good about the idea of dating and meeting people and junk like that.
posted by chunking express at 7:15 AM on June 7, 2010

I don't go on dates because I rarely find anyone I even might be attracted to.

You aren't trying hard enough and this attitude will probably cause you to be alone your whole life. Fortunately, you can fix this about yourself, unfortunately, you can only do so if you want to change. How can you know you aren't attracted to someone if you've just come to a snap decision based on one boring date that you spend visually telling your date you didn't want to be around him?

How can I have a whole internet (um, world) full of people and not like any of them enough to think hanging out or sleeping together sounds fun?

Because it sounds like you don't want to like any of them. You should be asking not "how" but "why." The "how" is obvious: you are misanthropic and don't like to be attractive to people. Start assuming that people you haven't met or don't know well are really interesting (you may just have to suss out the interestingness) and attractive (you may have to learn that people can be attractive in different ways) and you'll find more of them are. Otherwise you will be a lonely soul for the rest of your life and no one will care.
posted by fuq at 10:57 AM on June 7, 2010

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