Making The Most Of The Dating Game

couple running through the park

As one dater finds, when one door closes, another can open.

You know when someone touches you for the first time? Not an incidental arm graze, but a meaningful, purposeful touch that says, "Hello, it is on." I was standing beside Tall Guy in Central Park, watching a softball game when he casually reached a tattooed arm around me and hooked his hand around the narrowest part of my waist, my favorite body part. Every nerve ending in my body jumped to attention. I think I let out an audible gasp. He pulled me closer to him and I instinctively laced my arm around his back. The non-verbal, "Oh yeah. I'm feeling it, too." The Frisky: Mind Of Man: One Reason Dating Doesn't Suck

This was the first physical contact I'd had with a guy in months. And it felt amazing.

Last time you heard from me, it was March and I declared that I was done with dating. And I was. After my last experience, I felt confused about how the whole process could possibly lead to the amazing relationship I want—there are too many opportunities for crossed circuits, too many games, too many variables that you aren't supposed to ask about because you're "just dating." I needed a break. So I swore off dating and focused on enjoying the spring and summer solo—hanging out with friends, checking out bands, going to the beach, and starting to write the Okayish American Novel. The Frisky: Mind Of Man: The End Of Dating

Because I am perhaps the world's biggest over-thinker, I also did a lot of analyzing during my dating detox, looking for patterns. I realized that every guy I interact with, male friends aside, fits into one of these three categories:

  1. Guys I am not into.
  2. Guys I am physically into, but don't see romantic potential with. I won't lie: I do tend to bone guys once I realize they are safely in this category. Usually after a date or two. Sometimes after, uh, a few hours.
  3. Guys I am into both physically and romantically. I feel lucky that, generally, this is a mutual feeling and for a few weeks it's magical. We go out often and have hot make-out sessions. They tell me I'm beautiful, that they can't wait to see me, and make all sorts of other declarations. I start having sex with them. I get attached. But at about the month mark, they start to pull away, making plans less frequently and emailing less often. I cling like the dickens, hoping that we can get back the initial intensity. Finally, they end it. I feel devastated and convinced that there is something wrong with me. Sadly, I can name four guys in the past year who I had basically this same experience with, including the Architect.

It took a while to let go of some of the hurt from the category #3 guys. In fact, it took about four months until I had a big epiphany. I realized that I am looking for love that will span years and, hopefully, decades. That won't be possible with everyone and part of the process of finding love is going to be the times I don't. Of course I'm going to have experiences where I have an initial great connection with someone and then it fades! I realized that I need to stop looking at these encounters as losing something and more as the steps in a journey. The Frisky: Thanks For Everything, Ex-Boyfriends!

All of a sudden, I felt excited about the prospect of dating again. I put back up my online dating profile and started being a little flirtier with guys I met in real life. Just as if the universe were giving me a high five, over the course of the next 24 hours I randomly bumped into three guys—one on the subway, another at a bar, another randomly walking down my block—who I'd always had a bit of a vibe with. See, there are lots of options out there.