Do you know that GIF of Emma Stone crying into her ice cream? Well that was me last night…and this morning…and five minutes ago.
You see, I’ve actually been doing pretty well this year given the sucky hand I’ve been dealt lately. Between having to do four consecutive egg freezing cycles to have any chance of having a biological child in the future, finding out my contract at work isn’t going to be renewed because of Covid-related losses, and having to navigate the depressing world of online dating at 30 years old when I would really rather be married and starting a family, things haven’t been a walk in the park. But despite all that, I woke up happy most days. I counted my blessings, approached life with confidence and hope and excitement.
But that doesn’t mean I still don’t encounter rough patches. And boy are they rough.
I’ve always liked the idea of being someone who bounces back from rejection quickly, who barely even let those sort of minor disappointments affect her. When I interviewed at three companies in one week and got rejected from all of them, I just said, “Oh well, none of those were the right fit for me anyway. I know I’ll find a better match.”
When not one, not two, but FIVE different guys I’d been having great conversations with on dating apps, who had reached out me and expressed interest, who I’d had great chemistry with, who asked me out on dates, all unmatched me suddenly in the days before we were meant to meet, I was bummed but I moved on pretty quickly to the next guy.
And guess what? That next guy turned out to be great and we spent two weeks texting and talking on the phone and for the first time in months I actually got excited about going on a date. I knew it wasn’t wise, but I let myself get too invested before even meeting someone. We both talked about what our ideal day in a relationship might look like, and our visions matched up pretty closely. I started to imagine sharing a cup of coffee or tea with him before work, exploring the city together, cooking dinner with each other every night. We had great chemistry over the phone and it seemed like we were both looking for the exact same things. He was so easy to talk to and we ended up chatting about pretty much everything. I even mentioned to him how I wasn’t a fan of this recent trend of people unmatching or ghosting before a date, and I’d rather someone just tell me if they’re not interested.
We were supposed to go on our first date tomorrow at a cool new exhibit in the city that I’ve been wanting to go to for months (so I was excited for two reasons). Well I’m sure you can guess how this story ends. He ghosted, and I didn’t take it great.
I know I shouldn’t have gotten so invested in someone I didn’t even know. I mean maybe in person we wouldn’t have had that spark, maybe we had some fundamental difference that would have spelled doom for things down the road, maybe, maybe maybe.
That’s the thing that sucks most. I’ll never know what could have been, because I didn’t even get a chance to explore things with him.
Actually that’s not what sucks most. What sucks most is that someone would take the time to put in all that work, would actually bother asking you out on a date, and then remind you that your feelings are actually meaningless to them when they decide to take an easy out and move on with their lives while you’re left wondering what you might have done wrong.
Well I guess all that rejection eventually got to me, because today I finally cried all the tears that I refused to spill these last months.
I vented to a best friend, and while it felt good to get stuff off my chest and I appreciated her listening, I knew she wasn’t going to say anything that made me feel better. I mean she met her fiancé in college. She’s getting married this year at 26. I don’t expect her to get what it feels like to be in my position. She said the same things I’d probably say to a friend going through the same thing, like how you have to love yourself before someone else can love you which I agree with but there are also plenty of people out there who don’t love themselves who still find people to love them.
Sometimes I feel like dating these days is a minefield. I’ve gotten unmatched just for saying something as innocuous as, “How’s your day going?” Clearly there was obviously something else going on with that person—maybe they just got out of a relationship and realized they weren’t ready for dating, maybe they started talked to someone else they were more interested in, maybe they got kidnapped by Bane—but where do I go to meet the people who I can just have a normal conversation with, meet up with for a cup of coffee, and see again if it goes well? Why can’t dating just be that simple?
If I’m being honest, it’s hard when things like this happen. Once or twice I can handle it, but when it happens again and again, my confidence does take a knock. I start to question whether I’m worthy of being loved, whether there’s something profoundly wrong with me, whether I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to dwell in these feelings longer than I have to. I’m still bummed but I’m not going to stay in bed all day and cry into my ice cream (even though I’m very tempted by the idea). I’m going to make my bed, make myself some coffee, and focus on what I can do from here to get closer to the place I want to be in my life.
Even though it’ll be hard and my heart doesn’t feel in it right now, I’m going to sit down and apply to more jobs, I’m going to spend a few hours revising my novel, I’m going to keep swiping on my dating apps so I can meet my new Next Guy and hopefully one of those Next Guys will turn out to be The Guy.
I have to admit, writing all my feelings out in this post did help me feel better. Well, I’ve stopped crying anyway so that’s a start. Here’s hoping for better days ahead!