Ok. I guess it is time to talk about my love life. Or rather, lack thereof. I never talk about this for a few reasons. One, I do not want to seem like I am whining. I am sure there are many people out there who have it worse than I do. Two, I do not want people to think that I am playing the pity card (thus whining) because I am not. And three, I do not want the usual advice of, "be a man," "just be patient," or "learn to love yourself first."
Let's unpack this by first talking about my relationship status.
I have been single for 9 years now ("just be patient" ...what an insult). I have been single so long, some of my family has actually asked if I am gay. I am not... sorry to disappoint.
I had someone I cared deeply for 9 years ago and she left me for her own reasons. There was nothing weird going on. No one cheated, no one was abusive, she just felt that she had to make the decision to leave me after a few years of being together.
Of course I was heart broken. It blindsided me, I did not expect it at all. But what it really came down to was, I couldn't understand her reasoning. As I mentioned before, our relationship was not really anything to be ashamed of. We had the stupid arguments that most young couples have, and neither of us were perfect, but on the whole there was no reason, in my mind at least, for the split. Now I feel differently. I understand her reasoning and I have come to terms with it. We are now friends and I bet she reads this blog from time to time. She made the decision that was right for her at the time and I cannot argue with that in the least.
But the way I feel now is not the way I have always felt. For much of these past 9 years I waited for her to change her mind despite her assuring me many times that this was what she wanted. I cannot say that she led me on thinking that her mind would change, I did this to myself. I put myself through this hell and it is because of something I care deeply about.
Love, but equally so, loyalty. True, it was not love nor loyalty that led me to hang on for so long, but I convinced myself that it was. I convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. I gave my everything to something that was not even there. It never would be there, but I could see it clear as day despite no one else being able to. I could see a future where we were together again, happy, despite all the time and distance.
So, 9 years. Many of those, despite my never saying so, becoming the darkest part of me. These many years have changed me, there is no doubt. For so long I was bitter, lacked confidence, and became thoroughly depressed. Through it all, though, I have also learned much about myself, things that I would never have learned had I not went through this. Of course these revelations about my own self have only been recent.
I have not dated in 9 years. Though there were two "hopefuls" I suppose. Neither of which worked out though I really thought they would. Both of those only helped to spread the darkness inside of me. I felt ashamed of myself and spurned by women. Any confidence I collected over the years that elapsed was dashed, twice, making me feel like I would never climb out of that dark side of me. How, if I can climb and slip back so far? Not to mention the way I have been treated by multiple other women when I admit my interest in them. Take that for whining if you will, but when someone treats you like something disgusting they stepped in as soon as you show any kind of interest, you would be whining too, and it has happened countless times.
That brings me to Tinder. Now, I understand that I might as well replace the title of that app with, "Looking for Sex App," but I have used it as more of a way to begin dating again. I have never, and will never, look for such shallow, self serving, and empty pleasure. But those looking for only sex is admittedly well over half of the male users on the platform, and perhaps slightly less of the female users. I understood that I had an uphill battle in front of me on this app, but I was not prepared for what it did in reality.
First off, I personally have found that I get about two "matches" per year, over the course of about three years or so. It does not matter what text I have in my profile, and it does not matter what pictures I post of myself. Two matches is about average per year. I thought that this might be normal and, although I should not compare myself to other men, I have seen that this is not at all typical. So stop right there and put yourself in my shoes for a minute. You have been single for pretty much your entire adult life and now that you are trying, you are seeing that those around you are getting dates like they are at an all you can eat buffet but you are stuck hoping someone will throw you a bone. Imagine what that can do for your self confidence.
Out of that average of two matches per year, less than half of them actually talk, and it is usually some kind of scam, or endless texting back and forth which never leads to a date or meeting in person. The only time I had ever sealed the deal on a "first date" on Tinder before now was actually a cat fish situation when I lived in Korea.
Which now brings me to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. To put it bluntly, I am able to get a match every few minutes. But... why? I am not bragging or anything, but it is the truth. I have used Tinder in 7 different countries, for multiple years now, and this is the only country where I can get more than two matches per year. Of those matches, I have agreed to meet two women, both of which were very kind, but did not want anything more than friendship. Still, I am bewildered by the difference here and I really do not know what it is. It certainly is a confidence booster if I am being honest.
But of course, here comes my dilemma, and as with all things, it is a multi layered affair.
Tinder is not necessarily how I wish to meet someone. It is nice, convenient, and easy to some extent, but I do not feel that it facilitates what is needed for a first meeting. She has certain expectations of me, and I of her, based on what we have been able to text to each other. Text is not at all sufficient enough to get a good read on someone and that meeting often leads to some form of disappointment. So for that reason, I would rather meet someone organically, "in the supermarket," so to speak.
And I think I have.
Now, when I say that, I do not mean that I have fallen head over heels in love with someone I barely met. I am an adult and well, sorry, fairy tales are not entirely true. But surprisingly I did meet a person who is really interesting to me. Is this person meant to be my soulmate? Maybe not. Are we meant to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after? I doubt it. I am not even sure she feels the same way for me, but she has not given me any reason to think that she does not. (Maybe she is just being nice, I do not know.)
And I cannot blame her. Why would she? I met her, and now I must go. Therein lies another layer of my problem. I can completely understand the resistance to a long distance relationship. To be perfectly honest, I know that it is not the easiest thing to do.
In a perfect world, I would have met this person and taken weeks, if not months, to figure out just what our relationship is supposed to look like, all the while learning about and having fun with her. I would never rush this if I had the choice. Again, I do not even think she likes me! But what do I do? I only have so much time. Do I say, "oh well," and go home never knowing what this could have been? I am not that sort of person.
I believe all encounters happen for a reason. I do not believe in fate, but I do feel like even the smallest chance encounters have an impact on those involved. That person you are sitting next to may save your life, or may be able to lend you a quarter. The stranger you did not want to talk to because of the way they dressed may have the job offer that will change your life forever. So, how can I be sure that this random encounter is not something important and special? Sure, we can be internet friends and learn things about each other but, if you have been paying attention up until now, you should understand why that is not sufficient for me.
Coming to the end now, I want to assure my reader that I am not desperate, no matter what conclusion you have drawn about this story. How can I be? If I can wait 9 years, what is another year or longer for me? That may be hard to understand for those who have not been single for such an extended period of time.
But, I do want a chance, and I think I have waited long enough for that. A chance to show someone who I am and learn who they are. Distance is not necessarily an issue for me. I will do whatever I can to be close to someone special as much as humanly possible and the future will figure the rest out naturally. I think I have a lot to offer someone, but I need a chance to show that.
In any case, that is my love life, as abysmal as it is. Why am I writing this? I am not entirely sure. As I have said plenty of times before, despite only my family reading this, I feel like my blog is therapeutic. So maybe that is why I am writing it. Or maybe it is to blab, I do not know. One thing is for sure though, this is something that I absolutely do not talk to anyone about. Perhaps I do in small snippets, but this is the one thing I just cannot feel comfortable talking in length about, which is interesting because I will tell someone just about anything if asked.
Really, though, I am hoping that this is the end of the dark side within me. I know that we do not need someone else to make us happy and that happiness comes from within first. I agree. But why must happiness only come from within? Why can't we also feel happy because of human interaction and the love shared between human beings? After all,
"Life isn't worth living, unless it is lived for someone else." (Albert Einstein)
"Love is a gift of one's innermost soul to another so both can be whole." (That might not be Buddha, but it sounds nice anyway.)