Dating someone but it's not as fun as I'd like it to be
January 6, 2014 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I've recently had my fourth date with a guy that I met online. Whilst I feel a definite connection with him, and there's a 'spark' so to speak, I don't feel like we have loads to talk about, or that the conversation flows as naturally as it could, and I also don't feel like we have as much silly fun as I'd like to have. Is this the kind of thing that could grow with time...? More details below.

I'm in my mid-late twenties and he is in his mid-thirties. He lives about 50 miles away from me so whilst it's not too difficult to see each other, it isn't as easy as being in the same city.

Our first date was good, we got to know each other and had definite physical attraction. We slept together on the first date, though I don't believe this has any bearing on the short/long term potential of the relationship. He seems like an honest, genuine and caring guy which I really like, and I feel like I know him quite well already. We have a fair amount in common, but are also different in a lot of ways - nothing that would be a dealbreaker though.

So far our dates have been drinks/dinner and then staying at each others places but recently I went to his city for the weekend and spent two nights there and it was after this that I felt uncertain - maybe spending a whole weekend together was too much too soon.

The problem was that the whole thing just didn't flow that easily. The conversation was stilted at times. I've dated a lot and usually the dates I enjoy (not necessarily first dates, but say by the fourth date...) are the ones where we can just chat endlessly for hours and go off on all sorts of tangents. They are also the dates where we end up doing something unexpected, end up in stitches laughing, end up at home dancing in our pants. I don't know. I just didn't seem to have that kind of fun with him. It's was all just quite nice.

Aside from dates we have been chatting a LOT over text although I often feel we talk too much and we don't always have a lot to say to each other, it's kind of just irrelevant small talk and it feels like hard work to keep the conversation going.

I don't know where to go from here. I do like this guy but I want it all to be more fun, exciting, and I guess...easy?

Am I being unrealistic? Should I give it more time?

I realise we've only had a handful of dates and it's very early days. However, he seems quite serious about progressing this (e.g. he's invited me to his birthday dinner this weekend with 10+ of his friends) and that makes me nervous when I'm having these kinds of doubts.
posted by pennywise_1 to Human Relations (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not having fun it's within your rights to stop seeing this guy. If you're trying to find a long-term relationship though, this happens eventually in all of them. Sometimes there's nothing to talk about. Especially when you text each other all day and come home afterward and everything's already been said. It doesn't mean it's a bad relationship, it means it's a slow day.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Am I being unrealistic?


Should I give it more time?


Just tell him something like: "Listen, you're awesome and I think you're a really great guy, but whatever it is, in terms of a relationship, it just isn't really there for me. I'm sorry and I don't want to upset or hurt you, but I also don't want to waste your time. I'd love to be friends but if you need a little time and space, I understand."

He may try to argue about it with you, but stick to your guns. If you're not feeling it after four dates, it's safe to walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:34 PM on January 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

If the beginning of dating isn't fun, it won't get more fun. Time brings deeper relationships, but also more problems. Start with someone who is fun and who you're excited about, not someone you're trying to talk yourself into liking more.
posted by xingcat at 1:35 PM on January 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

You know, you could always talk about this with him. He might be nervous too, and talking about what you want in a relationship is, in fact, part of building a relationship.

But folks here are acting like they've never had a couple of awkward early dates that turned into something more.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2014 [24 favorites]

Yeah, I am with klangklangston. I don't agree that the early stages of a relationship should always be fun and easy. It's great when it works that way, but it doesn't always. Sometimes early on you're nervous, he's nervous, you haven't yet had the conversations that unlock some of your common interests and esoteric passions. So while it's certainly understandable that you'd want to move on, it's also certainly possible that as you get more comfortable together you will build more of a rapport, let your guards down a little, and things will feel easier.

In your shoes I would probably go to the birthday party to see what he's like around his friends, and whether you mesh with his friends.
posted by payoto at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2014 [14 favorites]

This is part of the deal. He may be a perfectly fine cat, but you may be the kinds of people who have run out of things to say to each other after a few dates. It happens. Chalk it up and move on.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:46 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was a lot like this with a guy in the beginning but decided to give it more time in case it just took us longer to warm up to one another and get to that more "fun/comfortable" place. I came really close to stopping at one point and am still not quite sure why I did keep going out on dates. We are approaching our 23rd anniversary this year. So of course it is safe to walk away, but if you aren't in a rush to be somewhere else (do you have lots of dates waiting in line?), it doesn't hurt to go on more dates and see what happens.
posted by maxg94 at 1:47 PM on January 6, 2014 [7 favorites]

He lives about 50 miles away from me so whilst it's not too difficult to see each other, it isn't as easy as being in the same city.

This is probably why you find that you don't have much to talk about. Your worlds don't really overlap that much. You can't really say, like, "Wow, traffic on the 405 was a nightmare this morning..." or "Did you hear about that new wine bar that's opening on Blah Street? We've gotta check that out!" There is a limit to the amount of stuff you can realistically have in common, because you live in different cities.

They are also the dates where we end up doing something unexpected, end up in stitches laughing, end up at home dancing in our pants. I don't know. I just didn't seem to have that kind of fun with him. It's was all just quite nice.

This is something I think you can probably change yourself if you want. Why not suggest something spontaneous if it comes into your head. Say he mentions some local landmark in his city you've never been to. Say, "LET'S GET IN THE CAR AND GO THERE RIGHT NOW!" And then do. Voila, spontaneous fun!

That said, I have definitely experienced what you're talking about here. For a little while I dated someone I liked well enough, but for whatever reason we were never comfortable enough to just be free with each other in that way. The relationship didn't last long. Relationships I remember more fondly had a lot of the sort of openness you mention that this one lacks. The more "stilted" relationship wasn't bad, per se, but I could tell it wasn't The Big One partially because of that.

I'll finish up with this: it's really hard to casually date someone who lives 50 miles away. You can't really "see how it goes". You can't be very spontaneous. You're stuck spending time together in big chunks, which can be overwhelming so early on.
posted by Sara C. at 1:47 PM on January 6, 2014 [10 favorites]

Well, you're no longer seeing any of those people you had all those fabulous dates with, so besides comparing him to them, do you like him? Do you want to see him more?

You say maybe a whole weekend was too much. So don't do a whole weekend again for a while. You say texting so much is an effort. So don't text so much.

Different people are different. Laughingly fun good times have value, as do slow burns. What do you want?
posted by headnsouth at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had someone break up with me after a month because "everything works on paper, but I'm not feeling that x-factor." It sucked, but he was kinda right. So it happens.

But I'm seeing that you're favoriting the suggestions that say to wait a bit longer, and it seems like that's what you feel like the best thing to do is. So if nothing else, you've figured out what your gut is telling you to do, and that's always the best option. Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on January 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I had a similar experience with my current partner, and we're about to celebrate our one-year date-aversary. I think this is an unfortunate side effect of online dating; you didn't meet him somewhere that would give you a shared frame of reference (mutual friends, a meet-up of some kind) so you have to spend time creating your own. Plan some shared experiences together (don't just do dinner-sex-repeat) and don't be afraid to ask personal questions or bring up your discomfort. It Worked For Me!
posted by chowflap at 1:55 PM on January 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I came in here to say something along the lines of what Sara C. posted: the natural rhythm of "getting to know you" that you're used to is likely a bit thrown off by the distance. The pace can feel simultaneously too fast and too slow.

With that being said, you don't have to go to this Thing this weekend if you don't feel comfortable.

But with that being said, I generally don't give these things more time, and it's worked out fine for me. If I was having enough doubt to query the internets about it, I'd not be putting all my eggs in that basket. Just because there's no reason not to date him, doesn't mean I have to date him.

Do whatever feels right for you.
posted by sm1tten at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just celebrated three years with a man who started just as you and this gentleman have. He seemed reserved ... interesting and kind, but not much for talking. There was definite physical attraction and we had several key things in common (both liberal, somewhat agnostic, movie/book/music buffs) so I continued to see him. It was really his kindness that got to me. On our fourth or fifth date, he brought me oranges he had picked from the tree outside his house. He cooked for me and planned sweet dates. There were not fireworks, just slow-burning embers.

The thing is, I met him at 40 and by then I had had more than my fill of wacky, daffy fun and fireworks and oh my! I was looking for something real and I was old enough to know that it might take longer than four dates to develop.

I'm not telling you to keep seeing this guy or date him but ... take time to evaluate. What are you looking for? Do you want to just have zany fun with someone or do you want someone to come home to? Only you can decide.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 3:19 PM on January 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

it's really hard to casually date someone who lives 50 miles away. You can't really "see how it goes". You can't be very spontaneous. You're stuck spending time together in big chunks, which can be overwhelming so early on.

QFT. And I do think you need to plan fun and spontaneous things to. This will both give you stuff to talk about together (both during the planning, while doing the thing, and while processing/remembering it after) and make sure your interactions don't default to just hanging out at your place and having sex. If you need the link to be about more, start making it about more. You probably need different, more elaborately planned dating "habits" in this scenario than you did when you dated people just down the way.
posted by Miko at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I dunno, four dates is not very many dates. Some people need to feel real comfortable before they loosen up, right? I think this is a symptom of early intimacy (not that I'm against it, but there are consequences) whereby you are intimate but it's kind of awkward getting to know each other.

Me, I'd stick with it. Evaluate after the birthday, after the friends, after the sex starts getting nice and messy, uninhibited.

You can always yuck it up with your friends. He might be a more serious (sexy) thang.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:45 PM on January 6, 2014

While it's true that four dates aren't that many, one of them was a whole weekend, so I would think that by now you'd have a good sense of how well you fit together.

I've been accused of being too quick to ditch new potential beaus, so take my advice for what it's worth. But I see that you, like me, do know what it means to click immediately with someone. That doesn't mean there's no awkwardness at all, of course there is in the early stages, but that sense of easy connection is what helps get past that and makes you keep wanting to go back.

I'd move on.
posted by Superplin at 3:54 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Four dates is really, really soon to be spending an entire weekend together. You don't have an overlapping social circle, you don't live near by, you're ten years apart, so you probably have different interests in movies and tv and so on. You're basically still strangers.

To me it seems like you have a lot of work to do to make this relationship work as a relationship, and if you already aren't feeling it, then it's probably not worth continuing it. Personally I'd just leave it at an enjoyable few weeks and move on.
posted by empath at 4:04 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

+1 go on a few different kinds of dates and or talk to him about this. Go to parks, invite him to see crazy movie, do touristy stuff. Also, maybe try being quieter? My nerd circles are full of people who need a little space to unwind/open up
posted by Jacen at 4:50 PM on January 6, 2014

We slept together on the first date, though I don't believe this has any bearing on the short/long term potential of the relationship.

Eh, I don't think so. Not because you are a slutty mc-slutterson, but rather, because it seems like you two have rushed into a relationship and skipped the whole dating thing. I think spending the night together right off the bat, spending a weekend together, etc.

Of course you're feeling a spark, because oxytocin makes you want to bond with this guy. But you don't really know him. You feel like you do, but you don't. Slow your roll, sister.

Do you guys have things in common? Other than going out for dinner, obviously?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yeah, this is very much not the kind of relationship where you can quickly lapse into "hanging out" in lieu of going out and doing things that will force you to build shared experiences.
posted by Sara C. at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2014

That was my husband. Of almost 17 years. He's actually one of the funniest, silliest, wittiest and wicked people I know. I had no idea of this when we first met! Introverted, a bit shy and ridiculously well mannered. It took months to find out about his naughty and hilarious streak. (We were married before I even saw this side. That part is a story for another day.)

But he was perfect on paper and I really liked (then loved) him and he was interesting and interested so I kept going. Utterly worth it. My husband is the best match for me in the universe.
posted by taff at 6:10 PM on January 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

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