It ended not with fight or a betrayal or even one terse final fuck you, but with silence – dead air that stretched out for a week and then two and then three.
And then finally it was over. In retrospect, it should have been over two weeks after it began. But I was horny, and naïve and liked the way he wrote; or, rather, the way he prompted me to write.
Truth was he told me very little about himself, whereas, in retrospect, I did everything short of showing him my cervix. No, I didn’t send him dirty photos (well… maybe just one) but I told him about my adventures, sexual and otherwise. I exposed my kinks and my deepest desires. I opened myself up to him. To be fair, he shared a few sexual idiosyncrasies of his own, several very compatible with mine.
The more we texted, the more I wanted to make him my lover.
But first I needed to be sure he was worth it, and that would require meeting outside of the bedroom. And that’s where things fell apart. Over three months, Claudio (not his real name – it’s Marco) and I:
- exchanged over 300 messages, first on OKCupid and then over our smart phones
- talked on the phone twice
- met in person once
As I’ve since learned, these types of odds are never in your favour.
The first red flag should have been the fact that I initiated every single attempt at a date. (If a guy is seriously interested in you, he will ask you out. Yes, even if he’s shy.) When Marco agreed – if he agreed – what followed would be a scheduling nightmare.
Nailing down a date with him was like trying to pin olive oil on a wall.
Typically he would be unavailable for the first two options I suggested, while his response to the third would be:
“Yes. Perhaps, that would work. Certainly. Maybe.”
WTF? Then, not surprisingly, he would change his availability at the last minute. I suspected he had a wife or a girlfriend. When we spoke on the phone, he said he was single but exploring. I believed him. So was I. But I wanted more than a drive-by.
I deserved better.
And so, after a 90 days with not one date, I told him not contact me again until he was able to guarantee a proper amount of time in person. He understood and wished me well.
Then, a month later, another text.
“How are you darling?”
“Does this mean you are ready to date me?” I responded.
“I’ve always been ready to date you. I thought you wanted to be exclusive.”
“I don’t care about that. I care about my time and people who honour it.”
And so began another 90 days of dashed hopes.
But, this round was different.
I stopped giving him the juicy details of my sex life, despite his prompting. Yes, one or two times I succumbed to sexting but, by and large, I kept my messages short and vague. It worked. He managed to make actual concrete plans with me. We met in person, spent some fun hours together walking around a neighbourhood looking at architecture and we shared a steamy kiss. He texted me that he wanted to see me again.
Things were looking up. But, like before, he failed to make a second date happen.
Before long we were back to the same pattern as before: him texting me with no purpose other than to say hi or initiate some sexting and me trying to move things offline to no avail. Eventually, I gave up. I stopped answering him. When I did, he stopped texting me.
I researched why men text but don’t ask you out.
The answer hit me like a plate of cold spaghetti to the face.
Marco didn’t want a real relationship.
He wanted a pen pal – someone to entertain him, boost his ego and, more than likely, fuel a few masturbatory fantasies. I was just a passing fancy in his day, a back pocket girl he could pull out and play with when he liked and then put away until next time. And, chances were good I wasn’t the only one.
Although I had no designs ever to be exclusive with him (I’m not much into monogamy myself), I honestly thought we could at the very least be kinky play partners. I’ll admit it. I had great texpectations for Marco.
Deep down a part of me thought if I showed him what it was like to be with me, he would be motivated enough to be with me in real life. Instead, all I did was give him something to whack off to. (And unlike when I was a stripper, I didn’t make a dime from it!)
Learning that all of our so-called conversations were actually nonversations was brutally disappointing.
But, it was also a game changer.
My failed textlationship taught me some hard lessons but it also helped me set clear boundaries around who I entertain the possibility of having something more with online and off. Since then, I’ve felt more in control of my dating life, I’ve met more quality men in real life, and most importantly, I’ve respected myself and my time.
Today, apart from a few introductory flirtatious volleys, I no longer waste time conversing with strangers by text. If a man doesn’t ask for my phone number within the first five or six messages, I cut him off.
The sad fact is some people hide behind the written word.
When Marco and I first spoke on the phone, I was struck by how formal and intellectual he seemed. Although charming, I found it hard to reconcile this voice with the guy who, a few days earlier, had texted that he wanted to jack off on my leather boots.
Yes, some people aren’t good phone talkers. It’s not my favourite channel either, but it does give me a better sense of who a person is than by reading what they say.
And, of course, nothing is better for assessing whether you are compatible with someone than meeting face to face.
As a writer, I must admit I give good sext and I enjoy doing it. But I’m done with textual healing. Moving forward, I’m saving the steamy stuff for those I’ve already done it with in real life.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date to meet… in person.