One thing that online dating taught me is to trust my gut (well my friend “L” had been telling me to do that for years and maybe I should give her the credit).
I told you about setting the bait, but what if you aren’t interested in what you have caught? To save yourself hours (or even weeks or years) of misery you need to learn when to say “when” or cut bait and run! For those of you who don’t fish, cutting the bait is when you cut the line and go ahead and lose your lure/bait/hook because you have either caught something you don’t want to bring aboard your boat or it’s a tangled mess and it’s easier to just cut the line.
In the past, I always felt bad or guilty if I didn’t care for a guy after having agreed to meet him. If he wasn’t what I expected I somehow felt I had to stay for the remainder of the date in order to avoid hurting his feelings. There must have been something that sparked some sort of interest for me to agree to a meeting right? Maybe not. I used to think they might grow on me after a while, but that sounds more like a fungus than a relationship, no? [Side note – I dated a fungus, I mean a guy, for 4 years! By the middle of the first date I had no interest in a second but some of my friends talked me into “giving him a chance” because maybe “he was just nervous”. I wasted 6 months letting him grow on me. I then wasted the next 3 1/2 years being second to his friends, paying for most of our vacations because he would use his money for snowmobile trailers and boats. I tolerated 3 1/2 years discovering his hoarding problem for which he denied and refused help. I wasted 4 years of my life trying to change someone and making myself miserable in the process because I was convinced to give the guy another chance.]
Early in my online dating experiences (as with lizard man, capped teeth man, etc) I guilted myself into staying to finish out whatever the plans were just “to be nice”. I finally realized, to whom exactly was I being nice? I wasn’t being nice to me because I didn’t want to be there and I didn’t want to spend any more time with this person. I wasn’t being nice to them because staying may make them think there was a chance of something happening – leading only to disappointment or anger at wasting their time.
It took a few bad experiences to perfect the art of “cutting the bait”. Of course, improv is a must for it to be authentic. For instance you can never say “I just remembered, I have to….”. That’s an obvious excuse. You can finish your drink or coffee and say “well, this has been nice but I think it’s best if I go now”. Yes, there may be that puzzled look coming back to you. If they ask why, you can feel free to use my explanation or any variation of it. “You are very nice, you’ve done nothing wrong, said nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong with you. We had a pleasant time. The thing is, I’m looking for that “spark”, that thing where you just know! I’ve been in enough relationships to know that if we continue on, we may become friends or maybe more, but something will always be missing and in the end it will fail. I want to find that “thing” that “spark” that has been missing.” They will either 1) appreciate your honesty, 2) try to talk you into staying, or 3) be mad. If they appreciate your honesty, you may have a new friend for life. If they try to talk you into staying be prepared for it to turn ugly if you insist upon leaving. Maybe remind them that both of you get to decide if it goes farther. If they do talk you into staying, know that you will either have to avoid future dates or find yourself trying to leave later when emotions may be more involved. If they get mad, be prepared to pay your portion of the bill and leave. I started adding “you can delete my number/contact/profile now” before leaving, just so there was no confusion. Seems ridiculous but before adding that, I would still get the text or call a few days later asking for another date!! Some people don’t take a hint.
Be your own person and your own boss. You have just as much say as the other person, and ALL the say when it comes to making the best choices for you! Time is precious, don’t waste it spending time with people you have no intention of incorporating into your life. Cut bait and move on!