Help me beat my string of terrible dating relationships
November 29, 2010 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Help me beat my string of terrible dating relationships

I really seem to struggle with dating for some reason and I don't know why. Here is a recap of the last year of my dating life.

Guy #1: Leads me on for 4 months online, makes me drive to the airport twice to get him and never shows (+ a bunch of other BS I won't get into).

Guy #2: Meets up with me in Vegas, but only so he can use me for sex (didn't figure that out till 3 months down the road when he told me he had no plans for us to date in the future because he wanted to just have casual fun -- the opposite of what he told me in the beginning).

Guy #3: Starts dating me IRL, after date #4 I had an accident where part of my hair got cut off. I had to cut my hair shorter then usual. I never heard from him after, even though he seemed crazy about me for the first 3 dates and it was going great.

Guy #4: I meet online and we get to know each other well for 2 months and plan to meet around xmas. We seem to have a good connection and talk about maybe someday being together. Informs me today that he won't be single for xmas anymore with a smilie face (he's found someone else locally - really disappointing).

I don't mean to sound conceded but I'm "better then average" in the looks department, young, smart, independent, witty at times. One would think I could find someone, but it seems that the only guys I meet are ones who just want to use me for sex or are way too old for me.

Is this the standard in the "gay" world? is everything based around filling a sexual void for someone and nothing else? --Where do I find someone who isn't going to attempt to screw me over and actually get to know me as a person? I feel horribly discouraged lately.
posted by servix to Human Relations (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is going to sound harsh, servix, but I mean it with the best intentions: you are letting these guys do this to you. Perhaps it is bold of me, a straight guy to say this, but this is nothing about being gay. No one can "make you" drive to the airport. No other person can use you for sex unless you let them. I'm sure you are very attractive and awesome. But your post reeks of low self-esteem, the sort that any sorts of users—gay or straight—will take advantage of.

Set yourself straight and these creeps won't be using you any more. You have control over who you date and are attracted to, you just have to use it.

<pedantic>Also, you meant "conceited," not conceded. </pedantic>
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 5:48 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Why are you talking to so many guys (3 out of 4) that don't live in your metro area? Stop talking to those guys. That will reduce (not eliminate) the nonsense.
posted by grouse at 5:50 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Set yourself straight

...okay that was a poor choice of words on my part. I hope you know exactly what I mean, which is to take care of yourself and heal. Therapy may be a good idea.
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 5:50 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. Forget getting to know people online. Meeting people online, okay. Getting to know people online, no. In my opinion, it's not possible to truly get to know anyone online. You get to know people by spending a great deal of time observing them in person. Before that, it's a fantasy, nothing more. I think it would help a lot to stop investing so much of your time in fantasies.

2. makes me drive to the airport twice to get him and never shows (+ a bunch of other BS I won't get into).

Twice? Why did you go the second time? I think a big part of the problem is you don't ditch these guys after the first time. You keep going and trying, through more and more BS. I think that's why you feel like this is the "standard in the gay world" and this kind of behavior is all there is, because you surround yourself with it so much.

If you just bailed after the first instance of BS, I think you would find BS to be much more of a rarity in your life and be a lot less hopeless.

3. Guy #2: Meets up with me in Vegas, but only so he can use me for sex

If you meet up with someone from the internet in Vegas and have sex right then and there, chances are, they're just out for sex. I'm not saying that's always the case, just --- chances are.

If you want to keep away from guys who are just out for sex, don't have sex until you get to know them very well in person and they've already demonstrated themselves to be people who care about you. (Note- "demonstrated" they care about you, not "told you" they care about you.) This is not to say sex is bad, sex is wrong, there's something wrong with having sex right away. There's nothing wrong with it, just doing that sets you up to be used by the people who just want to use you.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:54 PM on November 29, 2010 [10 favorites]

Echoing what others have said... don't date out of your immediate geographical area. It's a complication that seldom works out in the long run.

Also, don't build "on-line relationships". You will wind up investing a shit ton of emotional energy and time, which can be dissolved the moment you meet someone for real. You need to make a connection, trade a few e-mails to see if you have some basic areas of compatibility, and then meet for coffee or a drink (do not make a date with a set, long duration. If things aren't working, then you want to wrap it up, not sit through a two hour movie, concert, or be stuck in a car with this person).

Ideally, I would say that the period from the first online contact to the first real meeting should be no longer than two weeks.

I learned this over the course of five years of on-and-off dating. I stopped when I found my partner of six years.
posted by kimdog at 6:05 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Long-distance relationships are a bad idea. They're hard to make work. Starting long distance is an even worse idea. On one hand, the expectation is going to be that you're going to jump into bed right away when you finally meet. On the other, you don't really know each other, and obviously if he meets someone in his location, your imaginary relationship is toast.

With guy #3, you just had a few good dates. Then he decided he wasn't interested. This happens sometimes -- you just need to keep trying.

There's nothing wrong with meeting guys online, but use the internet to meet guys from your geographic area. This doesn't mean the next one will be perfect -- four is a small sample size -- but it should boost your odds of finding what you're looking for.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:21 PM on November 29, 2010

I'm in agreement with what others have said. Regardless of your sexual orientation, a dating sample size of 4 is incredibly small. (not that you should be whoring around, obviously)... but it's been my experience (and granted, I'm not the most extroverted).. that you'll need to meet/explore 50 to 100 (arbitrarily speaking) individuals to meet maybe 1 or 2 really good, solid, worthwhile individuals.

Yeah, Ok. I have no data to back up those numbers.. but suffice to say it's pretty rare to meet incredible human beings. It's something that tends to only happen to me about once every 10 years. (but again, I'm not terribly outgoing either).
posted by jmnugent at 6:53 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ashley801, QFT. Glad you marked as "best answer."

Seriously, you are in control of what happens to you. And that's a good thing!
posted by functionequalsform at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2010

#1 Total flake, lessons learned.
#2 Adult truism: if you're both traveling to meet each other for the first time and sex has not come up, sex will be expected by at least one meetee.
#3 Hard to know by only hearing your side, but in context it's possible that you were weird about it first and scared him away.
#4 This, in a nutshell is the downfall of online dating. As Ashley801 eloquently explained, there's no substitute for in-person time and personally I consider talk of "someday being together" when you've never met IRL always to be premature. It's allllll contingent on IRL, and 1-4 above are all extremely common flameouts. Human bonds are real things, and the Internet isn't a substitute.
posted by rhizome at 7:13 PM on November 29, 2010

All of these were online dating seems to me that it's easier to be flakey or use them for sex if you have only "met" them online...maybe try meeting guys in person? I had a gay friend who would meet guys through gay rugby team and gay volunteer organization...maybe try something like that
posted by bananafish at 8:27 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Guy #1: Leads me on for 4 months online

In other words, you and he cultivated an online quasi-relationship for 4 months before meeting in person. That is way too long. Even 1 month would be too long. As Ashley801 said, online dating itself can be great, but what it's great at is: finding people to interact with in real life. It isn't a great way to get to know someone on a deep level, and it isn't a substitute for real life.

A few other points:

- I don't know what's "standard in the gay world" since I'm not gay. But you don't need to figure out what percent of gay men are just interested in sex. Just figure out what you want, and pursue that. If you don't want guys who are fixated on sex, maybe hold off on having sex for a while after you start dating someone. Since this has become such an issue, and especially since you're doing online dating, you might as well openly state these preferences at the outset (e.g. in your dating profile).

- 4 is an insignificant sample size, as J. Wilson said. You've reified those 4 into a "string" that you have to "beat." Those metaphors don't correspond to any real thing. Past encounters no longer exist; you don't need to do anything to them.

- I notice you mostly describe the Guys in terms of "he did this to me." Well, you're not a passive object in all this; you have as much responsibility as they do.

- Date locally, or as close to home as possible.
posted by John Cohen at 9:13 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Is this the standard in the "gay" world? is everything based around filling a sexual void for someone and nothing else?

Are you just coming out? If so, a coming out group could be really helpful for you; these kinds of questions are discussed. It's natural to wonder about the cultural norms. Most LGBT centers have them.
posted by Wordwoman at 11:22 PM on November 29, 2010

I am a gay guy, and I just came in here to say all these straight people are right.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:10 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agreed -- that's not gay dating or straight dating, it's just dating. You'll do yourself a favour by assuming less and dealing more with the situation in front of you.

If dude doesn't call you back (nombre 3), there may be a million reasons but the reality is you need to go find the next guy and see if he calls you back. Rinse. Repeat.

Think of it like a game -- not a mean game -- but a game nonetheless. If you expect to win every game you play, you're in for a lot of hard times. If you concentrate on enjoying each instance of the game regardless of the outcome, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised.
posted by nickrussell at 4:22 AM on November 30, 2010

As someone who has been strung on far too long trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, or another chance, I wish I had someone around to tell me the following things:

*This person you are dating right now isn't your last ever chance. There are others, and always will be.
*It isn't unilateral rejection if this person isn't the right one. You may not be the one for them, chances are they aren't the one for you either.
*It is not a failure on your part if things don't work. Not everything will work. You didn't break it.

I know it is hard when you really want something to work out. The temptation (for me, maybe for you) is to bow down and make concessions so they might like me. If you gave it basic conditions to grow, that's enough. Going to extremes to give too much in the early days will never set up a robust, healthy relationship. How to recognise the point where things are all going one way while it is happening? No idea. I'm still working on it.

As for the online/distance thing, they seem to me to be very safe and controllable relationships, in that they are largely conducted in your own head. This can be fun for some escapism, but they rarely if ever translate into a real life relationship. Seconding everyone else who says source online, but establish in this world of meat robots. There is only so much you can glean from IM and emails.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:48 AM on November 30, 2010

I wouldn't say that your post "reeks of low self esteem," exactly, but you do sound like you're still in the life stage of honing your ability to judge character. It gets easier with age. The trick is not to become bitter and just give up on finding love.

I think you could really benefit from the the relationship blog BaggageReclaim. It's targeted to straight women, but everything author Natalie Lue says about emotionally unavailable straight guys can apply just as well to emotionally unavailable gay guys (or women, for that matter). It helped me a lot when I was getting repeatedly rejected.

I'm a straight female, but my impression of the gay male dating world (from my cousins and friends who are in it) is that it's extremely easy to find a casual sex partner and a lot of people are looking for just that, especially the men under 30. And yes, the older guys do go for younger ones a lot of the time. Are you unattracted to men outside your own age range? You may want to consider finding someone about 30 if you're looking for a partner.

I personally know a few long-term gay couples (monogamous and poly) who have been devoted to each other for 5 to 30 years. They're in their 30s to 60s.

Maybe you should just enjoy your youth and not try so hard to find "the one." If it happens, it happens, but in the meantime, enjoy what you have with whoever you have it with in that moment (and of course play safe and treat everyone with respect).
posted by xenophile at 8:37 AM on November 30, 2010

In a way, this is about being gay -- but only in one way. Online hookups are easier for us because two men are involved. Therefore, most people, --even though they will treat you like a human being (unless they are a total dick) -- assume that what is people who are meeting online are also looking for. There is a lot of talk about wanting to get to know people as people -- and I believe most of it is true. But that doesn't mean that guys aren't looking for action -- and that guys looking for action aren't worth meeting.*

From my learned gay perspective, you just need to get better at a couple of things

1) filtering the assholes
2) communicating more clearly what you want and figuring out if the guys you are communicating with are honest or just playing you

Unfortunately, this can only be done with practice - which means you're going to meet flakes until you figure it out. But these "failures" are anything but -- they are letting you figure out what the wide world has to offer, flakes and all. You can control what you want and whether or not get it. Do what you want, don't bend over backwards for anyone just because you think they like you, and most importantly, have fun. You only get one life and wasting it worried that every next guy is going to screw you AND screw you over gets old really fast. And becoming bitter at a young age -- even if you feel you've earned it -- gets really unattractive and sends out a vibe that will make your search for true love infinitely harder.

Good luck.

(* Case in point, my partner and I, though we had mutual "friends", actually met each other on the sleaziest of hook-up sites. Lots of sex, more love, five years, and two cats later, we've got a happy home defined not by how we met but who we are -- two guys who fell in love but also once upon a time wanted to get off together and didn't go into the situation with any intention of knowing that we'd talk to each other the next day.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:02 AM on November 30, 2010

I wouldn't say that your post "reeks of low self esteem," exactly,

Yeah, that was probably a bit too strong; apologies servix (although I stand by the rest of my advice, although you've gotten better since mine, certainly). I was a bit "foot-in-mouthy" yesterday...
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 7:40 PM on November 30, 2010

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