The Escape Artist
You know the scenario.
You meet a guy. You think it’s going really well. You let yourself get excited. You tell your friends you met someone!
And then…he rips the rug out from under you.
Is there anything more painful than watching your friends get played?
Oh, well, I guess it would be getting played yourself. K.
Obviously I’ve suffered through both. Lately though, I’ve watched more friends just get DUPED. Can you say “triggered”?
Who ARE these guys? WHERE did they come from? And can we please send them back?
Ok, I PROMISE: I am not a man hater. Far from it. I love me some men (this is getting weird).
But it is just INFURIATING to hear about the way some people treat the person they’re dating. Pre-online dating, people often met through mutual friends. So if you played games, you were an asshole…but your friends knew about it, and they held you accountable.
Nowadays, because of the way we so often meet people (online), there’s a whole new level of anonymity to dating…which allows us to get away with SO much more. Barf.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I strongly believe that you are entering into a contract with someone on the first date, and if you’re not honest about what you want…you suck.
Ok, ok. Rage is now subsiding. Thank you for allowing me that #rant.
I recently had a lovely female reader reach out, who had read my blog via our mutual friend’s recommendation (celebrity status, I know. I’m probs up to 5 readers by now who don’t actually know me. Star power). She was deeply perturbed by a recent dating experience, and had every. Right. To be.
Let’s call this gal Cynthia. Cynthia had done something super smart and respectable after a long-term relationship had ended. She took 3 years off from dating to focus on herself. #YouGoGirl
Cynthia had been dating again for over a year (and had been plagued with meeting dudes who couldn’t commit) when she got set up with a guy through a coworker. We’ll call him Rob.
Rob and Cynthia hit it off pretty quickly. After dating for a month, he asked her to be his girlfriend (way to be direct, Rob. Killin it so far). He shared that he was over being single, and was ready to share his life with someone. Lovely.
Over the next few months, the couple was inseparable. They booked a vacation to Napa, and per Rob’s suggestion, planned a trip for him to meet her parents (and even allowed her parents to pay for their plane tickets).
They attended her best friend’s wedding together, visited her friend’s newborn in the hospital. Rob consistently told her how much he enjoyed experiencing these major life events together, and showered her with reassurance about their relationship. They talked about their future, and even though Cynthia recognized that things were moving quickly (it had been about 3 months by this point), she thought it felt really right.
The weekend before they went to visit Cynthia’s parents, Rob’s brother came into town on a Friday night. Rob let Cynthia know that she wouldn’t be able to spend the night, since he was going to give his brother his bed. Cynthia said she of course understood, and asked if he’d like to stay at her place to give his brother a little more room.
Rob snapped. He became very defensive and angry, saying he’d never leave his brother in his apartment without him.
…. well alrighty then.
The next day, Rob, his brother, and a few of their friends played in a beach volleyball tournament. Cynthia went to watch with a friend. They lost. So Cynthia and her friend left, and went across town to a friend’s pool. They invited the boys, who politely declined.
Cynthia then got a call from Rob, saying there had been a mistake and they would be advancing to the playoffs. Could she come back to watch?
She apologized, but said she was already across town with some friends, and felt bad leaving them. He said he understood. After the tournament, he texted her saying that they were going to have a boy’s night, but could he see her after? He really missed her.
They met up later that night, and Rob was his usual loving self, telling Cynthia how much he missed her all weekend. After a few hours, he said he needed to talk to her about something.
Rob said they had nothing in common. They don’t like the same music, she doesn’t enjoy playing sports, and the fact that she didn’t come back to his BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT was the “last straw”, because she “knows how much beach volleyball means” to him…
Cynthia was obviously shocked. They’d been dating for months, and this was absolutely coming out of left field. She apologized for not coming back to the FREAKING VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT, but said she was incredibly confused: she thought they had a lot in common, and this was something he’d never mentioned before.
“You like shopping and getting your nails done. I can’t relate to that”.
OH NO HE DIDN’T.
At this point, Cynthia realized that this wasn’t a conversation. He was just breaking up with her.
She left his house at 4am, and has never heard from him again.
After Cynthia shared this story with me, I had a few questions (but probably about 100x less than she had, because OMG).
Cynthia assured me that he was over 25 (my biggest no-no is dating younger when you’re in your 20’s and are looking for commitment), had a very stable job, and had introduced her to mostly everyone in his life. He shared photos of them on social media, and seemingly had nothing to hide/no commitment issues.
We could spend hours upon hours trying to guess why this dude did what he did, and we’d probably never know.
Was he interested in someone else? Had his brother gotten in his head? Did he just have a stereotypical commitment freak-out?
Trying to figure out what the other person is thinking is absolutely inevitable. But it’s not the best use of our time.
Well, what is? When you’ve been inexplicably blind-sided?
The number one thing to keep in mind here is: IT’S NOT YOU.
It’s okay for someone to change their mind. But it’s not okay to lead someone on.
When people behave like this, and treat people like this, it represents their own irrational and erratic behavior. That’s a reflection on them. They wouldn’t have continued to date you if you were the one with the problem (and aren’t you glad they showed you their true colors now, instead of further down the road)!
So… where does this leave you? How do you avoid the hurt?
To some extent…it’s unavoidable, right? We use our best judgement when perusing the dating scene, and sometimes we pick a dud. As hard as it is, we have to remain open and vulnerable, or we’ll never let the right person in.
How do we allow ourselves to be emotionally available, but still cautious and selective? It’s all about honest introspection.
When we’ve been duped like this, we have to keep the focus on ourselves. It’s not “what did I do wrong”, but rather, “what can I do differently, moving forward”?
There are a number of potential habits that come to mind. Here is a short list:
What will get us somewhere, is remembering that we did nothing wrong, and focusing on what’s next. This wasn’t the right match! And just like after any other hurdle in life, we’ve GOT to keep moving forward. Forward motion and being honest and reflective with ourselves is what’s going to produce the best results.
So sure, we can be angry at the people who’ve duped us. We have every right to be!
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS!
In some instances, we just need to move on.
And in some, we probably need to ask ourselves why we dated that guy in the first place, and how can we dodge making the same mistakes again, to avoid future hurt?
In any case, we’ve GOT keep chugging along. Don’t let someone else’s foul behavior dictate what’s next for you. Because it’s only up from here, my friends…at least, that’s what we’ve gotta keep telling ourselves J