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Dating Online: The Coward

The Cowardly Lion as pictured in The Wonderful...

The Cowardly Lion as pictured in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This particular problem is not relegated to any gender, sexual orientation or age group.  Cowards  in the dating world are sadly universal.  I would bet that even prehistoric men and women scratched their heads over this dating archetype.   What is a coward?

A person who asks someone out on a date, only to then:

  • Cancel last-minute
  • Stand-up a date
  • Constantly reschedule
  • Make themselves consistently unavailable
  • Claim they never made the date in the first place – Act as if it was somehow a misunderstanding

I want to emphasize the distinction here, a coward is the person who sets up the date in the first place, and then blows it off. That is a huge difference, because plenty of people might bail on a date for any number of reasons.  Life is complicated, misunderstandings are common and people really might need to cancel.  They may also not be that interested and bailing on a date is a passive aggressive way of saying as much.  However if a man or woman asks someone out on a date, the need to do everything in their power to follow through.  A coward sends the mixed signal of

I want to go out with you, only I DON’T actually want to go out with you.

I hear these stories all the time from both men and women.  It has happened to me more times than I can count, and I will admit that one gentlemen strung me along like this for months.  I didn’t quite have my post-divorce self-confidence back yet so for reasons I still don’t quite understand, I put up with it.

Over half the men that ask me out on online dating sites do this.  The scenario goes something like this:

  1. They send the first email asking me to go out.
  2. I respond saying I would love to go out with them.
  3. Then they either cancel at the last second, blow me off completely, or never get around to actually planning anything.

I used to give these types the benefit of the doubt, but now I don’t.  If they can’t get it together for one date, they probably aren’t going to get it together for much more.   I used to think it was due to my blog, so I stopped using my name in any correspondence online.  Multiple friends of both genders have said this exact scenario plays out with them repeatedly.  Why do people do this?  I am not sure why but it might be

  • Fear of Failure – They are worried they will be ultimately rejected so they avoid the date, thereby avoiding rejection.
  • Fear of Success – If your date does actually go well, then they might have to deal with some type of dating situation this freaks them out, so they self-sabotage.
  • Intimacy Issues – They would rather have some type of fantasy of you than actually deal with another human being.
  • Seeing someone else – It is all a game to them, you are merely a pawn for their ego.
  • Ego Boost – They asked a person out just to see if they would say yes, never intending to go out with them.
  • Living in a Virtual Reality – A person becomes so accustomed to relationships online social networking etc, that a real one is just too much for them to handle.

Faking out dates is almost rampant behavior nowadays.   It seems completely irrational as asking a person out on a date is a bold move, and makes a person quite vulnerable.  It is such a problem with online dating, I could almost bet half the guys who end up in my inbox will never follow through with an actual date.

Actions really do speak louder than words.  If a person is not making you a priority in their life, then they are letting you know that you are not really that important to them.  Asking you out, only to then flake is rude, inconsiderate and downright baffling behavior.  If someone really wants to see you, they will move heaven and earth to make that happen.  Don’t waste your time on a coward.

 

Dating in NYC: The Pepe Le Pew Syndrome

Pepé Le Pew

Pepé Le Pew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pepe Le Pew, the classic Looney Toones character is a love struck skunk and hopeless romantic.   In every episode he is featured, Le Pew incorrectly believes that a female black and white cat is actually another skunk and pursues her with vigor.  No obstacle is too great for Le Pew as he confidentially skips along after his chosen mate espousing his affection as he does so.  In some episodes the pursued cat might drink a love potion and a turnaround occurs.  The cat becomes enamored with Le Pew and now the skunk is running away as if his life depended on it.  The dreaded turnaround, just when the skunk gets his prey he decides he doesn’t want it anymore.

I have lived this very experience and heard countless stories from female friends who have gone through the exact same thing.  I have never encountered a love-sick skunk, nor am I a cat mistaken for a skunk, but I have dealt with many men who have played out this exact scenario.

A guy will become mildly infatuated with a woman and do anything to get her to go out with him.  Countless text messages, emails, instant messages and phone calls all to win her heart.   Although as soon as the man has the woman literally in his grasp he becomes disillusioned.  She is not the fantasy he had is his head, she is not fulfilling his every emotional and physical need and on top of it this same woman has emotional needs of her own and multiple flaws.  Soon after he has his conquest the turnaround begins.  The same man who was never too busy to send countless emails all day long, and text messages is suddenly busy.  He won’t return calls, he won’t answer emails and he would never think to text.  By now the woman may have become attached and just wonders what the hell happened.

Women call it the classic male “freak out”.   Countless dating advice books tell women to manipulate men to prevent this from happening.  Personally I hate manipulation, partly because I am downright terrible at it, and it just seems like one big constant lie.  And do I really want to “trick” someone into sticking around with me, by constantly making him feel that I have one foot out the door at all times?

I have sat down with my straight male friends to try to figure this out and I get answers like:

“Well sometimes you don’t really know until you know”

“I just get excited by the chase but once I have a girl, I don’t know something happens”

“I don’t know why I do it, I just know that I have done it before”

Talking to men about this might seem like a good idea, but it just leaves me more confused.  So now instead of trying to figure out why some men do this, I do everything I can to prevent it from happening in the first place.  There is a fine line between the genuine real excitement of a brand new budding relationship and a false hyped up hysterics of a Pepe Le Pew type.   The red flags to look out for:

  • He says things like “I have never had a blonde girlfriend before” and he hasn’t even met you yet
  • He talks about things way into the future and you barely know him
  • He speaks in blanket statements – you are somehow supposed to make his life complete
  • He says things like – You will keep me sober – Indicating that you will somehow save him from himself.
  • He is so insecure about your first date so he will call, then email and then send you a text to make sure you are coming
  • He speaks about you as if you are an object – talks more about your physical attributes, hair color, height, weight, etc. than your personality or who you are as a person
  • In general if he is acting head over heels and you haven’t yet met, that is a huge warning sign that he has already idealized you in his head.

Sometimes I feel more like a trophy than an actual human being, as if the man is more excited about showing me off to his friends than he is actually spending time with me.  I have written on this blog so many times before, when something seems too good to be true, or you gut instinct is telling you to bolt, trust that instinct.  Proceed with caution,  don’t get too involved with a man like this until you feel that his feelings are coming from a real place and not some fantasy in his head.  But if this does happen to you, don’t beat yourself up about it.  It seems to happen to all women.  I don’t know why women appear more enticing to men when they can’t have us, but there are things about the male psyche that I will never understand.  Don’t let his temporary excitement sweep you off your feet just so you can later get slammed to the ground when he drops you.   Sure it might feel romantic to have some man move heaven and earth to win us over, but it feels even worse when our love struck skunk turns out to be one scared little mammal who has left us with little more than his lingering scent.