Should I go out with a girl I'm not attracted to?
October 22, 2005 1:14 AM   Subscribe

After a somewhat destructive relationship I've been single for over three years and despite a few flirtations have not had a date, girlfriend or anything else for quite some time. I've ben chatting to a girl online on and off for a while, and she keeps making very clear suggestions that we should 'go out' or 'do something'. Sounds great. The problem is I'm not attracted to her at all.

The lack of attraction isn't just a physical thing (I'm not in a position to judge, really) but she also doesn't 'get' me. We just aren't on the same wavelength.

Now if we do go out - that might be great. Things could progress and we could start dating. If that happened I'd only ever think of it as practice - I'd always be looking for someone else.

On the other hand, I could spend the next year with "No New Messages" on my internet dating sites and sitting at home on a Friday night with old DVDs.

So at some point do you stop waiting for someone who takes your breath away and take whats on offer? Even if that doesn't seem fair?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total)
i'd say meet her before you judge her. ppl are different online than IRL
(google for "greater internet fuckwad theory")
posted by slater at 1:49 AM on October 22, 2005

As long as you aren't misleading her, what's wrong? Why are you even prevaricating?

The difference between staying at home feeling sorry for yourself and getting out there and doing something is the key.

You might fall in love with the waitress, the mâitre d, your cab driver or her roommate. Same for her. You might cook up a business plan together and make 437 million dollars. She might convince you to rob a bank and the two of you end up on the run in Guatemala. You might get hit by a truck as soon as you set foot outside your door and meet a cute nurse.

But at least you won't be sat at home writing to Ask MeFi whether you should engage with the universe or not.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:05 AM on October 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

There's a chemistry to meeting people that you can only experience in person. Give it a go and see what you think. Worst case scenario: you still don't fancy her, but you have a fun night all the same (okay, maybe that's not worst case); best case scenario: you change your mind!
posted by nthdegx at 2:35 AM on October 22, 2005

I'd say go ahead and meet her for something low-key. You never know-- some people are quite different in real life.

I met my husband online, but I was not interested in him at all until I met him in person. Like this girl, he seemed nice enough, but just didn't really draw me in. He doesn't communicate very well in written words, so he came across as uninteresting and not too bright.

When I happened to meet him in person (at a party), I discovered he was obviously intelligent, well-spoken, and attractive to boot! We had loads of chemistry from the moment we met. I've also met men that I've totally clicked with online that turned out to be RL duds.

This girl may turn out to be as dull as you think she is... but she may not. You can always do the classic weekday lunch get-together. If you don't see it going anywhere, you have the pre-arranged end in sight that you'll need to go back to work. If you happen to like her, you can ask her out on a real date.
posted by Shoeburyness at 2:38 AM on October 22, 2005

Hang on - you're not interested in her, you don't fancy her, she doesn't "get" you, but you're considering dating her just because you've not had any bites on your myspace account or whatever. How do you know she hasn't just come out of a destructive relationship? Have you been up-front with her about the whole not-being-interested thing?

You're painting a false dichotomy here. Your choice isn't stay in watching DVDs or string some woman along who you don't really like. There are other ways to "engage with the universe" to use AmbroseChapel's phrase. Get out and do stuff which isn't related to dating and get on with your life, but do it with integrity.
posted by handee at 2:40 AM on October 22, 2005

I wouldn't advise practicing on a person. If you enter a relationship, it's because you want to develop something with THAT person. Not so you can learn the ropes and upgrade to a better model later. She's a person, not a tutorial.
posted by vanoakenfold at 3:45 AM on October 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm somewhat surprised the potential for this girl to turn out to be a good friend but not a girlfriend hasn't been mentioned. I say see her, and if the chemistry isn't there she'll likely spot that herself. It may then turn out that you get on well anyway and you end up with not only a new friend but someone who introduces you to her friends too, and there's a whole new social group for you to get involved in and potentially find a relationship there.
posted by edd at 4:29 AM on October 22, 2005

I'm with Ambrose. First, you're not going to enter into a committed relationship with this person on your first date. You're going out on a date, singular! It is totally normal to go out on a date and, if it doesn't work out, to not go out on another one. You're talking about a time commitment of what, a few hours? What's there to lose?

I will tell you, right now, the secret to finding a great person: go out on many dates with many people. Don't sit around at home until "the one" comes waltzing into your life, and then pounce. It doesn't work.
posted by josh at 5:33 AM on October 22, 2005

Try to find a friend who you can compare notes with about your tactics - perhaps somebody who has known you for a long time. The odds of you advertising yourself perfectly, being absolutely sure you have got over your previous relationship AND knowing exactly what who you are looking for in the next one are quite small. Somebody else's objective option will really help. Do you know anybody else who is looking for somebody online? If so share your experience with them.

Mean time I would advise you to physically get out as much as possible - especially on activities that have nothing whatever to do with trying to find a partner on the face of it.
posted by rongorongo at 6:08 AM on October 22, 2005

You're misplacing the source of your angst, I think. This is more about getting back into dating than this girl. Because you're bright and you obviously understand that "going out" is a fairly innocuous activity. And I think this is a common thing to do.

Remember that when you start dating again, the first few times are like interviews for jobs that you don't want-- you're no filled with anticipation about what it might yield, but you need the practice. And after three years, I would definitely need the practice.

Forget that you and the girl have chatted-- like the first comment suggests, it's starting over when you meet people for real.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:55 AM on October 22, 2005

I wouldn't lead her on but don't burden her with your analysis either. Definitely meet her and see if there's any sparks. "Not getting you" is probably a fatal flaw but meeting someone for coffee is not a lifetime commitment. Worst case is you make a friend that you can catch a movie with.

Maybe she'll set you up with one of her girlfriends?

Maybe she'll talk you into a roll in the hay but she's an adult and after 3 years would that be so bad?
posted by deanj at 8:09 AM on October 22, 2005

Amen to what edd said. There's a whole spectrum between "never see the person again" and "dating that person". It's fine to just go on a date or three, and see what happens. I mean, for pete's sake, don't marry someone who doesn't "get" you, but coffee? Yeah.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:11 AM on October 22, 2005

I add to the chorus who says you should hang out with her, at least once- you'll never know until you try. Go to coffee, or better yet, go somewhere where you can have fun and you don't just have to stare at each other for an hour. You need to get out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:18 AM on October 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

This is more about getting back into dating than this girl.

I think the Mayor is spot on. I well remember the trauma of getting back into dating after my divorce; it seemed like the first one was a huge deal, and I agonized before and after. After a few more dates with a few more people, it was almost as routine as going out with a friend. Just do it and try not to make too much of it. Yeah, odds are overwhelming it won't lead to a romantic relationship, but so what? That doesn't mean you're cheating or disrespecting anybody, it's just life.
posted by languagehat at 9:53 AM on October 22, 2005

If it's like any of my dates recently, it could be an enlightening lesson in what you want to avoid, and that's worthwhile.

As they say in Mortal Kombat 2, there is no knowledge that is not power. Word!
posted by johngoren at 10:13 AM on October 22, 2005

And the more people you get to know the more people you'll come into contact with- for instance, her friends- and you might get a chance to meet someone the old-fashioned in-the-flesh way. Not that I'm a dating expert, but it seems logical.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:44 AM on October 22, 2005

I'll echo what pretty much everyone else here has said: make a coffee date. If you guys don't click, it's no big deal. (It's also true that online interaction is not necessarily an indication of how you'll get on in-person. One of the first guys I "met" online came off as absolutely dashing, quick-witted, and clever via email. In person, he was one of the most self-absorbed, boring blowhards I've ever met. On the other hand, another guy I met who I thought didn't have much to say online turned out to be very cool in person -- no romantic sparks, but we became friends. Your hunch about your chemistry with this woman, Anon, might in fact turn out to be right after all, but you'll never know for sure till you meet face-to-face.)

I also agree with the idea that some of your apprehension is likely about dating again generally. You've got to break the spell of being "dateless" at some point, so you might as well do it now -- you can now think of yourself as moving from the "haven't been with someone for 3 years" stage into the "dating again" stage. Which is great, whether or not you meet this woman and don't really float each other's boats.

An excellent "starting to date again" general tip that I learned last year was to go into dates as an opportunity to see how you feel about yourself, more so than how you feel about the other person. In other words, what are your actual feelings during and after the date -- relaxed/attractive/listened-to, etc.? Or bored/anxious/misunderstood, etc.? It's sometimes easy to overlook this stuff if you spend too much time thinking if you like their looks/career/hobbies/mannerisms, and forget to check in with how you actually feel about yourself when you're around them. Which is certainly not to say that first impressions of another person aren't relevant or important, but rather that it's a good idea to balance those first impressions (whether they're positive or negative) with the recognition of whether or not you simply enjoy yourself when you're around that person.

So go! You're dating again! Congrats!
posted by scody at 11:22 AM on October 22, 2005

One of the first guys I "met" online came off as absolutely dashing, quick-witted, and clever via email. In person, he was one of the most self-absorbed, boring blowhards I've ever met.

I had no idea we'd ever dated, Scody.

I Nth all the statements about not knowing what someone's like in person till you meet them in person. Go out for the drink; socializing is a skill that requires continued practice and even if nothing materializes it's useful to be in the swing. Plus you're a lot more likely to meet other people out there than in your desk chair. Plus she has friends. Etc etc etc. So long as you're not misleading her about your goals you don't need to be bowled over by her before you ever meet.
posted by phearlez at 11:35 AM on October 24, 2005

"Falling in love" is all about hope. Finally you have somebody who understands you, who gets what you get, with whom time just seems to fly.

The problem is that a relationship based on hope is eventually going to be disappointing. That's not to say that a relationship that starts that way can't evolve into something good; it can. The important thing to realize is that a relationship that isn't built on "falling in love" can also evolve into something good.

I've been to some marriage therapy recently (and here you can substitute long-term-relationship for marriage) and learned something really useful: All successful marriages (of the more-than-just-survival type) have two things in common. Friendship and fondness. Everything else good is just icing. Everything else bad can be worked out. But in order stay together for any length of time, friendship and fondness for one another are the primary concerns.

The thrill of meeting someone who gets you, and falling in love, are fun. But that really can only go so far. You need to want to hang with this person at a party, at dinner (friendship) and you need to be able to feel warmth and to want good things for this other person (fondness).

Good luck

p.s. My number one book recommendation on this subject:
"Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix. You may also find other books by Hendrix that are more targeted at your situation. His work in this area really is the best.
posted by tamills at 6:45 AM on October 25, 2005

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