A third date, then…my walls start to be built, just like that.

Part One (how he reached out online) | Part Two (the first part of our first date) | Part Three (the end of our first date) | Part Four (our second date)

We made plans to go out again that Friday night, the day after Christmas. He had tickets to a sporting event and wanted to take me. He knew that after this week, Friday would generally be my only free night – so he said Friday nights were for me. It made my heart flutter a little bit at the thought.

With the Christmas illness that felled my parents (post to follow tomorrow on that debacle), they weren’t able to take my son that Friday night. So I had to call Tony and tell him I couldn’t go out. I said I understood if he still wanted to go to the game, but if he was keen, he was welcome to come to my place after my son went to sleep.

Good man, he chose the latter. There was more talk, more kissing, more flirting, more sweetness, more moments of such heated passion. The sex that night was better than previous and I brought him to a lovely orgasm, although it took shorter than I would like (although to be fair, I prefer hours). He mentioned he was much better in the morning. We set my alarm for 6am so he could leave before my son woke up.

When he sat up on the side of my bed, I noticed that he was sporting one of my favourite things – morning wood. I couldn’t let it go… so I leaned over and started appreciating it with my hand.

I pushed him back on the bed and mounted him. Ahhhh. It was delicious and the perfect end to Date #3.

That day I left with my son for two nights at a friends country property. Tony and I exchanged a few text messages on my way up. I sent him a goodnight text…and I received nothing back.

Nothing. But it was that first little hurt.

It’s just little: not getting a response to a goodnight text sent at midnight until 36 hours later.

It’s not like he doesn’t have a phone. It’s not like he didn’t see the text. But he didn’t bother to respond. Even with a “good morning”, the most simple and ultimately meaningless of text messages.

That first little hurt.

The sudden interruption of those delighted and excited feelings, even though I try so hard to temper them and tell myself I have felt this before, and it has been destroyed every. single. time.

The evaluation of expectations kicks in. Wondering why communication doesn’t occur so seamlessly. Wondering if there is a backing away occurring, a shrinking away from that intensity of those first three dates in short succession.

Wondering if there were lies, or things meant in the moment then reconsidered. Wondering if perhaps, this being a first date, a new experience, that more experience is needed. But how does one say that? One doesn’t.

And just like that, with that first little hurt, comes the first brick of the wall.

With each doubt that creeps in, each suspicion that this is now all too much for him to bear, that perhaps there is someone else, or just simply – not me – another brick is added.

It’s self-protection, you see. I’m really good at it. Lowering my expectations means they can’t be shattered. Expecting to be screwed over means I can tell myself I’m not destroyed when it happens, as it inevitably does.

But I’m not really fooling anyone.

The walls get built and I rationalise behaviours and lower expectations but at the end of the day, I rail against letting those walls shut me down. The dreamer in me, that hopeless romantic that fell in love with my ex-husband on the third date is still there. She allows herself to be optimistic.

But the cynic is there too. The one who knows if a man is interested, he will communicate. That going silent means a lack of consideration, of interest. And that perhaps it’s all just bullshit and the man on the other side is totally fucking clueless to the debate he has spawned.

Dating sucks.

I still know I made the right decision to not be married, but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

0 thoughts on “A third date, then…my walls start to be built, just like that.

    • Why thank you… and I’m sorry you have had similar feelings. I wrote the second part of that post right in the moment of what I was feeling, so it was pretty raw.

      You know, no matter how much I dislike something that has occurred to me since I became single, I don’t regret my decision to become so.

  1. Oh Ann, I feel for you completely. I have been there. Underneath all the adventures you are a woman with a soft heart. It’s your best feature even though it’s also your weakness. One day a man who is worth you will recognize that.

  2. I’m so sorry Ann…. I was so hoping for a happy ending 🙁
    Have you talked to him at all? Was there any kind of explanation? Maybe there is a perfectly normal and reasonable one and all will be well. I am keeping the hope alive for just a little bit….ok? 🙂

  3. Right.
    I have said it to real life friends, I will say it to you too (even though I seem to sometimes have trouble following my advice): until the moment when you can accept that things don’t mean anything, and accept whatever happens (or doesn’t happen) as a thing, not a negative message, it will be hard to remain open. Eventually, the only person you’re hurting by doing this is YOU. He has no idea you are having this weird self-talk. He is probably focusing on whatever is *his* own weird self talk.
    As long as you try to put thoughts inside other people’s minds, you will get hurt. The thing to focus on, rather, is setting your limits. If he doesn’t reply, how long can *you* go before you feel left down. And discuss it. Trying to figure out *why* he isn’t communicating with you is pointless. It is *his* issue, not yours. What matters, and what you can and should discuss with him, is how it makes you feel. And it should matter to him too, he should want to make you feel good as much as he is able.
    Try to talk the walls down. Good luck!

  4. Nooooo…tell me his child dumped his phone in the toilet, that he left it in a cab, that he was sent out of the country where cell reception does not yet exist. WTF??? That fucking blows, Ann. Sigh…i understand about the walls. They are meant to protect you, just as you say, and that’s ok.

  5. Seriously, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that I wrote this. “That first little hurt” expressed those feelings perfectly. I have experienced this same thing over and over…the first hurt and the first bricks. Dating does suck. I wish I had the solution for you, because that would also mean having it for myself. These last few months have been the longest I’ve ever been alone… I’ve almost always been single, but usually have a flirtation or two going, maybe a FWB, maybe someone I’m seeing, but nada these days. It has been nice not to have to deal with the disappointment of the first little hurts…or the second or the third, but my life has also lost all kinds of fun sparks and new beginnings as well. After Adam, I needed some healing time and I’m glad I took it, but I’m afraid the “first little hurt” of the next time is going to really set me back.

    • I think it’s difficult to not see patterns. I know everyone is different but when we go through what we do… well, it’s inevitable.

      I understand you being tentative, and what sometimes feels like a revolving door of men and crap is too much to bear. Perhaps especially when you’ve taken some time to get some space from it all. I found that re-starting dating again several weeks ago I was much less willing to deal with some of the BS that a year ago I would have overlooked.

      All that to say, I guess progress is a good thing. And I do believe that we can have great experiences; it just might take a while to find them.

      • I remain cynical, yet hopeful as well. I’m much less tolerant of BS as well, so I’m not as willing to settle. I’m not even sure I want to date right now…but I am going to keep my eyes out for a solid FWB situation. 🙂

  6. Ann,

    We have to remember a few things and wrap some perspective around this misshapen gift that you have (you know the type, no box will hold the unique form and you have want to en sure that it ststill looks presentable).
    1) You are a thorough and adept communicator in your professional and personal life.
    2) You carry a bevy of scenarios from your dating history that provides you with a lot of data that you are using to apply to this situation and drawing conclusions rather than simply focusing on the situation.
    3) You aren’t taking into account that Tony is different: a)recentry single, b) not anywhere near the dating pace that you are in, c) unfamiliar with the nuances of communication with dating, d) his first holiday season away from his now broken family, d) preoccupied with family/freinds, e) doesn’t want to scare you off by appearing to be too needy

    I could go on, but really, you need to calm your mind and heart and take things a bit slowly. Let him come to you at his pace rather than place undue stress upon yourself and this clearly budding and potentially beautiful relationship. Just let it build and develop naturally.

    I like Tony.

  7. Hi Ann…this is a well written post and the title is spot on. I am right there with you….but, I will agree with Will in this case at this moment until we hear the rest of the story. Men and their communication suck, I dont get it at all….but please wait a little longer for Tony…those dates were not meaningless! I agree deep breaths and calm mind. We are too fast (in our heads) for most people,never mind men who are on their first dates! I am still rooting for Tony.

  8. I love the meme heading heading this post. Too true unfortunately. I tend to think that men know what they are doing. Occasionally it is possible to be really busy and save communication with someone you are dating until later when you can focus on it. But i believe this is also a symbol of s little bit of distance. This guy is just starting to date again and so far he didnt show any hesitation. Its possible that he is now considering things and needs to go a little slower. I would suggest backing off of him too and let him come to you when he’s ready. This is all new to him. It may be that you need to be patient with him but that he’s not scared off for good.

    • This is very good advice and exactly the conclusion I came to. While he wasn’t a constant texter before, there was far more communication before that. So I figured it might be quite reasonable for him to just need a bit of breathing room, as the first week of three dates (in hours, probably equivalent to triple that) was damn intense.

      So, I know that the right thing to do is just wait. If I do my usual reach out / freak out thing, then it will have the opposite impact of what I desire. When someone needs breathing room, you need to give it to them – and it’s the right thing for me as well. Pacing myself has never been my strong suit.

  9. Additionally I recommend a book called “men who can’t love.” It explains commitmentphobia. This book helped me put the behaviors of guys into better context. It made it easier to take their bizarre behavior and rejections less personally

  10. You know, reading what you wrote sounds like something I would write myself. In fact, it is what happened exactly when I first started dating the person I am still dating at the moment. Perhaps because of past experiences and very little faith in relationships, I would suspect and have doubts at every single minor thing (absolutely minor, now that I think about it; exactly the same as your case) , but I decided myself that this time it would be different: That I would not freak out and would simply live the moment and embrace whatever would happen. Surprisingly enough, some random things (let’s call this : signs) would happen to prove me that my doubts were absolutely irrational. Then I would laugh at myself. Now, after all the things this guy has done for me in such short amount of time, I have reached that stage that I feel I can trust him.

    My point is, please do not let your fears from the past destroy what you have now. I am not saying, trust Tony blindly, but give him the benefit of the doubt. Trust comes with time, and if you can give a chance to Tony now, maybe one day he can become that guy too! The guy that you know you can trust.

    • Thank you Yessica – this is excellent advice. Not letting past fear dictate me now is difficult, but it must be done. I have no reason to trust him, or distrust him. I know what my gut says (that he digs me) and how he made me feel, and I’m trying to stick with that and not freak out. To see what happens and then take it from there.

  11. Ann I was just roaming the streets and now sit in a coffee house because I’m dealing with the same thing. Went on a date met a guy really liked him thought he liked me now nothing. Just like that. It hurts.

    I just keep reminding myself that if I’d never met him, I would be just fine. But….he was just so my type of guy.

    It’s just unfortunate….

    I would really say skip the sex for a few dates. I made the same step and my ex told me straight up: “I can speak on behalf of most men that we don’t take women who sleep with us on the first date very seriously.” He advised me to just let this guy go and not make that misstep again. I will take his advice.

    I guess not all men are like that…but sad but true many are.

    I also think that he may be having a whole set of his own issues like mentioned in a comment above.

    Hope you hear from him soon and if not, maybe something even better comes along!!!! That’s what I’m telling myself. 🙂

    • Hey, Jami, Ann: 2015 is brand new and full of lovely surprises for us. Let’s just enjoy them as they come up. And take the rest as meaningful experiences 🙂
      Let’s keep our hopes and spirits high 🙂

    • Jami I’m sorry to hear you are going through something similar. It’s very difficult and happened to me more times that I can even count. I have debates with friends about the sex thing…and for sure, for many men, it eliminates a second or third date. But what I can’t help wonder is, for something that disappears after a first date when you have sex with them, will they do the same if it was the second? Or do you suddenly have different value to them?

      It’s that latter part I don’t buy as easily. But I do know what you mean.

      The story with Tony isn’t over…I’m hoping to get you caught up soon 🙂

      • Just an update: this theory I presented is turning out to be false in the example I used with my own life. He definately sees me for more…i think i just really panicked. Anyway, just wanted to share that with you. And in my case, dawn d’s words also ring true. Most of it was in my own head; comimg from my own walls and insecurity. To be continued…now i am going to see if you have your update! 🙂

        • I am currnetly in the ‘nothing’ phase. Hoping it’s just that, a phase. But knowing that if it’s not, then it wasn’t worth losing more time on it 🙂
          (at least, that’s what I’m trying to tell myself… 😉 ).

          • yes 🙂
            But I decided I was not going to let it scare me. My life is worth living with or without him or anyone else 🙂

          • I’m sure it’s just a phase! I was talking to someone about positive anticipation today…just looking forward to that person you want moving toward you (as if they are)…however in practice i think it might be an annoyingly corny theory…:P

          • No, I totally believe in the Law of Attraction.
            It gets a little bit more complicated in relationships, because you cannot will someone in particular to want the same thing as you. But you can will someone to come towards you…
            I did hear from him after I texted him today. Unfortunately, I still don’t know when we are meeting next, but at least the tone of the texts are still the same. So I’ll wait 🙂

  12. I’m in two minds about this sort of thing. Sometimes I think I’m wired like a typical dude.

    I hate meaningless trivialities, pleasant chit chat, I’m bored by it. It doesn’t feel sweet to me, it feels like a tedious obligation. So I don’t do it.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t like the person. It means what it means and no more. It doesn’t occur to me that they are angsting over it (I don’t really assume that everyone is like me, but I *pretend* to assume that because it means I don’t have to cater to their idiosyncrasies when I’m not interested in doing that… did I mention ‘like a dude’?).

    With the texting thing, I have to say this: at some point *someone* has to be the last to text, or you’ll be boring-texting all day, no?
    “Good morning”
    “Having a good day?”
    “At the grocery store”
    “Having eggs for lunch”
    “Saw a seagull”

    It’s just a yawnfest.

    Not saying that he’s like that, just pointing out the obvious: projecting meaning onto behaviors is fraught.

    TL;DR: Your feelings are valid (of course), but your interpretation of what is going on is all on you (nothing wrong with that, we all do it). If your communication styles are at odds, you can ask him to try to change for you (more texts please), just as he can ask you to change for him (fewer texts please), but at some point, one of you will go ‘nah, that’s not how it works for me’ and then that’s a compatibility issue.

    All in all though, people really can’t change what they need to feel loved, and if you are feeling hurt by his actions (or lack thereof) after 3 dates when he is super keen and on his best behavior for you, I don’t think he’s a keeper. Shame, I liked Tony a lot.


    • Oh gosh Ferns thanks for that laugh (“saw a seagull”)… yes I can’t stand that tedium either (I wrote a post about it, actually, the droning conversations some men have online and they never ask for a date).

      BUT, what I do like is knowing that I’m on someone’s mind. So I don’t want endless boring texting, but a “hey I just had this great flashback of…” or even just a “goodnight..wish I was there to give you a kiss”. That kind of thing.

      I get busy too and there are many days that I can’t be responding endlessly, and in evenings with my son I don’t want to feel like I can’t just put my phone away. Bottom line is if I feel secure about how someone feels about me, I don’t really worry about it. But I do like a little bit of non-drudgery communication each day 🙂

  13. He didn’t respond to a text, big deal.
    I’ve only just responded to/given out merry Christmas and happy new years messages to good friends (including NU!), I didn’t bother seeing my family on Xmas day, I very often don’t respond to bfs msgs straight away (even if I’m doing nothing and they pop up on my screen).

    It’s honestly not that I don’t enjoy talking to these people, it’s just that other stuff comes up. I’m busy doing something, I get distracted or very often, I get the msg when I’m asleep/napping/in an early morning daze and apparently have seen it but don’t remember seeing it. And everyone still keeps hanging around so it can’t be that much of a deal breaker!

    Tony seems lovely. Nothing is ever perfect, just enjoy the fact that hes 99% awesome. Don’t spend all day worrying about that 1%.

      • Yup, I know it’s my choice. And I’m fighting the natural protective instinct to do so. Honest to god Sharn it’s a lifetime of learned experience I’m trying to undo here.

        So yes, it’s a choice… but it’s also a natural response, a learned response, and a pattern. And as you well know, patterns are comfortable even when they damage us.

        It’s a scary thing to recognize the behavior and actually not repeat it. It’s damn uncomfortable.

        In all significant relationships I’ve had where I let my walls down, or let someone in, it ends with my heart shattered, broken, or at the very least, bruised. So…it’s a journey to move past that 🙂

        • Oh I know my lovely one. I know all too well.

          I have the same things with Cern. It’s a continuous fight against my learned behaviors.

          So I do get it. I hope you find some way of moving past it though! And I hope it’s just that he’s a knob and doesn’t do messages well.


    • Welcome back 🙂

      Here’s where I think there is a difference – because I am like you at times with friends and family, absolutely – when I don’t know how someone feels about me, you have no idea what a lack of communication means.

      For example, you’ve been quiet over the holidays. It didn’t occur to me once that because you haven’t been commenting on my blog you don’t love me 😀

      So that’s really the thing for me – if someone is in regular contact, then goes silent without so much of a “hey I’m going to be pretty busy over the next couple days and will be in touch when I can” – it makes me wonder WTF is going on. Especially when it dating it usually means you will never hear from them again.

      I remember even Johnny used to tell me when he was going out to walk his dog. From 5,000 miles away. It was just courteous because he knew his response time would be different from our usual interactions.

      • Yeah I get where you’re coming from. Its the lack of courtesy. If it happens a lot or he stops talking to you all together, fair enough. But its only once, I figure don’t stress. It could be a test to see if you chase him (could be good trait for some, others might find this a bad trait so just be yourself rather than trying to suit him), or equally it could be nothing.

        If he does it again I’ll give you hugs, butt spanks, neck bites and give him the finger. Or like anyone else you could just send a casual msg to suss him out but where’s the fun in that? 😛

        Until then I like him so don’t give up yet! 🙂 xo

    • You know his schedule? Can you please share!?

      So hard to know what he was, or wasn’t, thinking.

      And wrt my son… Dangerous? I don’t think so. There is a small risk he could wake up at an inopportune time. I have a doorstop (no not the butt plug). I did warn Tony that he could end up meeting my kid if he decided to try to come into my room at 5am. Tony has a son and knows the drill.

      There have only been a few men who I have had over when my son was home. I don’t do that lightly.

    • 3 dates in 5 days. Regular and consistent contact even after that – and then nothing for over 36 hours. This was written not after an hour, but after 36.

      Every other time that has happened it means the guy has moved on. And it has happened many times to me. So yeah, it brings up all those emotions – especially when things seemed to be different with this one.

  14. DAMN IT ANN!!!! damn it. Thank you for this. I seem to read here more than comment. I think that speaks (something?) about your writing. I am not kidding when I tell you I read for hours. This let me live a little through you. It is a breath of fresh air to believe there might be someone out there who can turn you 15 again.

What do you think?