Ah… We’ve All Been Here, Right?

A comment from Dante:

I recently started dating and would like to know what girl means when she says after a 2nd she had a good time, says u r a very nice guy but doesn’t see it having a potential to go for more than a 3rd date, and wants to stop now.
Is she basically saying she is not attracted to me? (I think off my self as an attractive guy, well at least I was told so by other girls.)
Are there any subtle cues when you can tell that the date isn’t going anywhere early on the dating process?

First off, I have to say I’m honored to have Dante commenting on my blog. I’m curious to know if hell is anything like how he imagined it when he was alive. I suspect not, since he’s asking about dating. That must be an extra ring he’s just learning about now.

So, what does it mean when someone says “You’re great, but this isn’t going anywhere”? I think that’s how most of my dates ended. We had a nice time but… it wasn’t gonna happen. Generally this was because there were some fundamental differences between our views and ways of life that didn’t inhibit us from enjoying each other’s company, but certainly prevented us from conceiving of a long-term relationship together.

Often, this is only apparent to one party. This is usually because one party has said something, perhaps waxed eloquent, on a very revealing subject. The other party encourages this discourse,  but doesn’t argue the point. At the end of the date, the second party has learned an unforgivable fact about the first party, and decides it’s time to end the dating.

The first dating streak that I actually ended, instead of the guy ending it, was with a fellow who was so laid back he was practically horizontal. At age 27, he was still clutching the “learn ten years and then see” plan. Not that he was first masmid in yeshiva – or even tenth. He learned during seder, and afterward he didn’t. One didn’t get the impression that it set him on fire. He’d gotten a degree just to get his parents off his back, but it was in history, because he liked history, and he didn’t see why college should be more painful than it had to be. He was very pleasant to talk to, and I enjoyed every date immensely. But being slightly more keyed up, and admiring a bit of ambition in a man, I could see that talking was about as far as we could get before getting on each other’s nerves. Luckily, he never exerted himself to devise a more exciting date than lounges. So I was the only one with the perspective that “this won’t work.”

It is not customary to tell a date exactly why you aren’t interested if it’s not something that really needs to be changed. There are plenty of women who want or need lazy guys. Just not me. So there’s no reason to make him self conscious about it. Instead, you murmur something about no long-term potential and glide away.

It’s a bit hard on new daters who haven’t yet performed the move themselves. Just wait, Dante. One day you’ll be dating a girl and realize that, as fun as she is, you just couldn’t handle her in the long term. Until then, just accept that there was something there, and she’s doing you a favor.

…just a quick question – in what context are girls telling you that you’re attractive?!

17 thoughts on “Ah… We’ve All Been Here, Right?

  1. Hey B4S –

    You know, I’ve never actually had a guy, in person, ask me if I’d like to see him again with me responding no. I’ve almost always given a guy a chance at a second date. I’ve also dated guys who came from NYC, Baltimore and Philly just to go on dates with me (which I thanked them for their troubles) but usually I’m able to tell them after the second date whether or not I’d like to see them again.

    Sadly, since lately they have been mostly douschebags, it doesn’t really pain me to tell them that I’m not interested.

    I hope this Dante person didn’t flat out ask the girl if he “did anything wrong” (i’ve gotten that – to me it sounds like a lack of confidence/self esteem). To each their own, I want a strong, but good man. He’s out there somewhere! 🙂

  2. I’m usually in contact with the girl online so I can ask what exactly went wrong in a descreet environment! (unless t’ an issue with looks or something)…

  3. After meeting a gal 2,3 or even 4 times she does not need to, nor should she tell you why she no longer wants to see you.

    She doesn’t even know you! Who cares why she THINKS she’s not interested. All she should really say is that she’s not interested in taking this further. She doesn’t know you well enough to REALLY know why she doesn’t want to consider you marriage potential.

    She may THINK you’re lazy, but really, does knowing someone for a mere 20 hours in a totally unnatural setting really give you a deep and meaningful picture?

  4. pb – nobody called Dante lazy. Though at the rate we’re going, I guess someone could miscontrue most of what’s written here as telling him he’s lazy, ugly, boring, bound for failure, lacking self esteem, possibly smelly, and neurotic.

  5. People also attempt to salvage as much of another person’s ego in these sort of situations. I have told a shadchan plenty of times, “He’s a nice guy, but he’s not for me,” when “nice” was not a adjective I would’ve used at any other time.

    Plus, attraction isn’t everything. Sure, a guy could be a dreamboat, but if the affect is spoiled when he opens his mouth, he’s voted off the island.

    My sister had to be bullied into dates by our parents, and then there came a point when they made her go on a second date. That second date may not always be the other’s choice.

  6. @Patricia Batton:

    Dose she HAVE to say why she doesn’t want to go out again? Of course not. Would it be nice if she did? Of course it would! People can’t learn from their mistakes if they don’t know about them.

  7. RCS, you may change your mind when people who barely know you tell the middleman, “I don’t want to see her again because I didn’t like her.”

    what does it really boil down to? He’s shallow and I want someone less so? That’s silly, he appeared to be shallow maybe but you don’t know him. You want to teach him how to show his true self on a date so you’ll tell the shadchan and then what? A lot of help that’ll be.

  8. I had to tell a guy directly once that it wasn’t shyach (our shadchan did the set-up, but was in a different country and not moderating). He repeatedly asked me why not. We’d had some very good conversations, but I was beginning to find him annoying and to not be as interested in the conversations, even though I tried not to show it. So I kept saying, “It won’t work for me,” over and over. So yeah, this sounds about right.

    The possible good outcome of such a situation is a shidduch with one of her friends. If the person you went out with thinks you’re a good person but not for her, she may remember you when she’s talking to someone who’s also a good person and a better match for you.

  9. …just a quick question – in what context are girls telling you that you’re attractive?!

    I do not go on a date thinking that I am the hottest thing in the world, and I am not the most attractive fellow in a given room, but I have been complemented by several of my old colleagues/friends that I have a very good smile, and I eat healthy and stay in shape.

    I hope this Dante person didn’t flat out ask the girl if he “did anything wrong”
    I asked the Shadchan, and she said that I did nothing wrong I was a perfect gentleman and etc… My problem with all of that is why woudn’t she even consider going out one more time, Its difficult, I have been playing the tape over again and again trying to find things that i might have said something wrong or acted inappropriately, but when the person said she had a good time, perfect gentleman, etc.. But does not want to even consider a third date That where the problem is. Its not much of a closure. Guys want things to be rationally and this is not. Its like picking out an outfit, you have the money, you like the quality, the color, etc. But you do not want to even consider it. If you thought its a little bit expensive or the color doesn’t match, that makes sense this doesn’t.

  10. Dante –
    “I have been playing the tape over again and again.” Just double checking, you do mean your “mental” tape, right?

  11. Dante, don’t beat yourself up over it. My only consolation to you is that she probably saw a basic difference between you two that could not be reconciled. It probably came out in regular conversation, but she was not going to jump out and say “I just realized from what you said that this is never going to work.” Instead, she probably smiled and continued the conversation naturally. Just be happy that she realized something earlier than you did and spared you the agony of doubt later on.

  12. Pingback: From the Peanut Gallery « Bad for Shidduchim

  13. I’ve DEFINETELY been out with Dante (well, probably not, but someone like him).
    Guys, sorry, but sometimes it’s just too clear to us girls. And you can be a perfect mentch in the most accurate defention of the word, but if you talk about stuff that makes our stomach churn then we’ll give a lame excuse to the shadchan. That’s better than saying lashon hara, right?
    If a shadchan is OK with me not giving a full explanation, I leave it at, “I just realise it’s not going to work.” I’ll only go into detail if he/she is pushy. But it’s not fair to any guy for a girl to say “yes” to a third date if she is certain she’d never marry him for a VALID reason.

  14. @Patricia Batton:
    RCS, you may change your mind when people who barely know you tell the middleman, “I don’t want to see her again because I didn’t like her.”

    They can tell the middleman whatever they want. The job of the middleman (shadchan, friend, etc) is to tell the other party what they need to know and filter out the meaningless comments (like the one you mentioned). This is one of the reasons why I’m in favor of having some type of middleman.

  15. @Anon (#10):
    …if you talk about stuff that makes our stomach churn then we’ll give a lame excuse to the shadchan. That’s better than saying lashon hara, right?

    Wrong. Let the shadchan tell the boy what he’s doing wrong and give him a chance to fix it (for the next girl). Otherwise, you’re just assiting him in perpetuating his mistakes. Anything less that full honesty with the shadchan is a disservice to everyone involved.

  16. Let me amplify what I think Dante’s frustrations are. I was told several things a long time ago, which included: the girl will always go on a second date (and I must also); after you’ve seriously talked diamonds, she won’t say no when you propose; the decision to marry will be between you and her, and the shadchan won’t break things up.

    I found out pretty quickly that this is all false. A young woman will rescind her agreement to marry at her own whim, without explanation, indeed, without even informing her shocked ex face to face. Many girls will have the shadchan inform me there will be no second date, they won’t even tell me over the phone.

    Basically, many males are utterly perplexed at the total disregard not just to some made-up, artificial protocol, but to basic etiquette and good manners, as you recently posted about the Emily Post book. All we want is to be treated the way you would want to be treated by us. We have many reasons to feel we are being treated in ways we would never think to treat another person.

  17. RCS – I see you’re right. I thought I’d gotten away with not sharing details of who i vetoed my date. Turns out I haven’t. I’m being accused (subtly) of being too picky. I’ll have to give the shadchan a call and explain the problems I saw with so and so ;-(

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