I love to love but I hate to date

It's artificial and humiliating. So I've decided to stop looking and just let it happen by chance.


Cary Tennis
April 20, 2006 1:30PM (UTC)

Dear Cary:

I would love to be in a relationship, but I really hate dating. I detest dating so much that I now avoid it. Whenever guys ask for my phone number, I never give it to them because every time I did in the past, they never called, and that made me feel like a loser. I cannot stomach the dating scene because when I was active in it, I found it too punishing for similar reasons.

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I like the idea of being in a romance, but don't feel friendly or trusting enough to go through depressing, demoralizing experiences just to find one.

I tried online dating services, speed dating, etc., and eventually quit because I hated them for the following reasons:

1) I found them artificial, forced ways to meet men. Every time I went on a date with someone from an online dating service, for some reason I always felt like a prostitute meeting her client, or that I was going on a job interview.

2) I had horrible, humiliating experiences with some of the guys I met through them. No, I wasn't stalked or raped or anything like that. These men just made me feel like a reject. Even when I think about them now, I want to smack them.

3) I felt like I was back in high school, which I also hated because I was one of those kids who had no friends because they didn't fit in the popular or "established" cliques. I don't think I fit in the dating scene either for similar reasons. I'm not "typical" enough. I'm also probably too much of an individualist.

4) On my end, I think I have social anxiety disorder, which I'm sure has contributed to all of the above.

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Even though I quit commercial dating, I now have an active social life and meet plenty of people, including men, through other venues. I even went on a couple of dates with them although my fear of dating still stays with me.

I have now decided to stop looking and just let my meeting a significant other happen by chance, since I find dating intolerable and am probably not very good at it either. Some people think I'm making a mistake doing this, while others agree with me. Which camp are you in? Any information from you would be very helpful.

Thanks very much,

Hate to Date, Love to Love

Dear Hate to Date,

A favorite eatery with a bar where you are known and frequently found is a good thing for a single woman to have. It is a good thing for anyone to have, but especially a single woman. When you meet a man you like but do not want to date because you do not like what happens when dates occur, you can tell him the name of the eatery with a bar where you are known and frequently found. You can tell him the nights you are most likely there. If you are there enjoying yourself with friends he is welcome to say hello. Then it will be as though you've always known each other and your friends can look him over. No one needs to squirm in an unfamiliar car seat or sit growing cold by a window waiting or fumble with a seatbelt or pretend to admire posters in the hall of someone's flat. Instead you hang out in your favorite eatery with a bar where you are known and frequently found.

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Maybe things go from there and maybe not. Maybe things go from there with him and someone else. That would be all right too, wouldn't it? You're not hanging super-high hopes on any one man, I hope. You can never tell what kind of man a man is right off the bat just from talking to him once anyway. You have to see how he laughs, how he drinks, if he obtrudes or shrinks or has mannerisms. Being in the same place he is but not required to stick by his side and entertain him is a good way to observe his range.

If the man you meet and like but do not want to date lives nearby, then this may do quite well.

If the man you meet and like but do not want to date lives far away, then this will not work so well. You could meet in cyberspace, but you cannot get a sandwich there. The thing about the eatery with a bar where you are known and frequently found is that you can always get a sandwich.

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I don't know what else to say except that I'm with you on this one in that I too don't see why you have to go on a date to get to know someone. I met my wife because of the neighborhood. I was sitting on the stoop and she was walking to work. Soon we were enjoying the Loma Prieta earthquake together in an ice cream joint on Haight Street 17 years ago.

You can get to know a person without riding in a car to a movie or waiting in your flat or house for them to show up or going to their flat or house to be invited in for a moment while they do whatever people do in those final minutes before they leave on a date. You don't have to be nervous with menus. You just go where the person is.

Your aversion to dates need not be a secret. If you meet a man you like, you can make it part of what you talk about. You can tell a man who asks for your phone number that you won't give it to him and here is why and if he wants to get to know you he can find other ways -- he can visit the eatery with a bar where you are known and frequently found.

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Finally, concerning the social anxiety disorder: If you seriously think you have social anxiety disorder, then you should seriously see about getting treatment. Seriously. But if you meant it the way some people will say, "I'm literally insane," or "I'm mentally retarded," then OK. You need not seek treatment for a metaphor.

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