|We ate at this crazy fun Indian restaurant on our third date|
Later that night he texted me to make sure I got home safely. And so began a daily texting routine that included things like, "Morning sunshine! How's your day?" Me being more experienced in the Latin (see Fernando) daily-texting-strategy I knew this would not last, but soaked up the attention while I could.
Franco was smart, interesting, and very direct in ways that I liked, while too intense in ways that I did not. He talked a lot about himself, his self-exploration, the kind of meditation he practices, and blah, blah, a tent, a desert, a teacher/shaman, blah. Though he didn't say "cult" that is what I heard. He also enjoyed creating awkward moments by staring into my eyes without saying anything.
Because our first two dates were blinded by dark bars and alcohol I suggested we go to the Brooklyn Museum for our third. I needed daylight, sobriety, and some art to test our chemistry.
At the museum, Franco's staring felt creepier as did his desire for public kissing (in a park surrounded by kids). During this date I understood that I was never going to get the witty lighthearted banter that I need from a man.
Our daily texts turned weekly and then non-existent. A mutual "fade-out" is rare in the world of online dating, but I felt happy that we were both on the same page. We went back to being strangers in the world.
How did you meet? My first Tinder date
Name: Fernando (aka - the Chilean)
Occupation: marketing exec
Good quotes from dates:
You seemed really conservation and quiet at first.
I have to escort you home. I'm Chilean it's what we do.
I feel like I've known you for a really long time.
You've met me at a really strange time in my life.
Why is he still single? I don't know. He's scared?
Did he pay for the date? Yes. He would never let me pay for dinner or cabs.
Did he contact you after the date? For three months, yes
How many dates did you go on? A lot. 6 maybe.
Would you recommend to a friend? No. See 'why he's still single'
I won't lie, by the time our third date happened, I thought that my dating/blogging days were over. I imagined drafting this post as my last because Fernando and I were in a serious relationship. Maybe I would add a photo of us to prove that he and I were real. We would be happy, and this dating project would be over at a nice even number of 88.
Instead this is a post that resembles a few others about a man that I met, that I opened up to after a few dates, that I slept with, and that I never heard from again. Writing that sentence makes me feel both sad and angry that this is still a pattern that exists in dating and that I still fall for it.
I do believe that Fernando did like me, as equally as he liked living in the moment. And deep down I sensed something more complicated at work. However he never talked honestly about his feelings, so I can't say what was really going on. I don't think he even knew.
He didn't kiss me until our third date. He's shy, he said. Which I thought was funny because he was so aggressive in other ways. Some days he texted things like: I want to see you. I'd say, sure when? Ready to make a plan. Now, he'd answer. Despite my reservations I'd give in because it felt exciting. He spent more money on cabs from the upper west side to my place in Brooklyn than I've spent in the ten years I've lived here.
We went to concerts and movies and he was comfortable meeting my best friend and me meeting his from Chile. I felt like were slowly on the way to being a couple. He liked me, he said numerous times. I like you back, I said.
We met in June and saw each other mostly during July. By August, he was traveling all over the world for work, and I went to Europe and he was traveling again by the time I got back. Our relationship went from texting marathons filled with jokes, childhood photos, and many, many emoticons to once a week small-talky messages like "Have a good trip!" or "How are you?" The whole transition made my stomach turn.
Fernando was intense and I fell for it. He's Latin, after all. He seemed kind and generous, always bringing me little gifts and escorting me home. But these kind of qualities do not necessarily lead to any kind of relationship, I've learned.
What does make a healthy relationship, even a budding one is regular communication. I felt him pulling away even via text messages as I expressed in this post. His behavior changed and I wondered how I, yet again, fell for a man who was disappearing.
It's taken a while to gather my thoughts to write this because I think I had a sliver of hope that when he got back from work travel he'd say hello, and how sorry he was for disappearing. A few days ago during a run I realized this hope is gone. He was afraid of something and I'll never know what.
I don't really care.
A real relationship is not created from a sliver of hope that maybe, possibly he'll text me a smiley-face emoticon after a month of no communication. I'm a 35 year old mostly sane, smart, funny, woman who knows herself and knows what she wants and it isn't that.
I needed to close this door in my head so I texted him an honest, kind message recently. I said I didn't know what happened between us, but his actions hurt my feelings. That I liked the time we spent together. He did not respond.
Luckily this is not the end. There is no photo of me smiling at the top of the post with my Latin lover. But I'm smiling as I write this. This is the beginning of me taking care of myself. Making better decisions and not wasting time wondering what could of been. I don't regret falling for him. I thank him for helping me to be more open.