Medical schools counsel graduates to abide by first, do no harm. It’s a good ethos to apply to dating too. Since the breakup with the Aussie who flew to Cali, I became more careful vetting prospective dates – in everyone’s best interest. I asked baseline questions upfront and slowed things down when they suggested meeting up after just a couple messages. On the other end of the spectrum, I stopped replying when they seemed to pull me into a penpal relationship. What I’ve learned 👇.

🛑 When he asks for a date too fast

Before you meet him, make sure he’s answered all your basic must-knows. If you care about a quantifiable quality that’s not listed just ask. I’m not into polyamory, so if the profile doesn’t say, I’ll ask if he’s ENM/married/separated. I don’t have kids, so I ask ahead of meeting up if he has any. If he answers, you’ll know. If he won’t say, he’s hiding a truth you won’t like and or has an evasive streak. Both are undesirable traits. Asking ahead of time helps you expeditiously vet the quantifiable dealbreakers.  

🛑 When he wants to talk more, more, more before meeting

I’ve been on over 100 first dates in the last half decade. It’s enough empirical data to conclude that a guy who lives locally and calls you gorgeous will want to see you in-person. The ones who don’t have an ulterior motive. I’ve posted about the lonely penpal type who seeks a virtual connection and throws in a love trauma story to keep you chatting longer. 

But there’s another manipulative man to watch out for: Mr. Crypto Suitor. He’s cracked the code to profiting off cryptocurrencies and wants to teach you his winning ways. If you fail to exit that ramp, he’ll gift you funds and lead you to a profitable first trade. Next, he will pressurize you into sending your own money into Coinbase or (from where he’ll get you to transfer the money into a scam exchange he controls). The trades will return profits that you think belong to you but the scammer will one day collect, leaving you wiped out financially and emotionally like this poor man.

A Start, of Sorts

More conscientious vetting found me walking back several first dates I wasn’t that excited to go on – dates that, before the Outback Italian, I might have gambled on seeing. The dates I did meet were good company. The engineer puppy (he was younger with a lingering 20s energy) was fun to watch a game with. I related to finance guy when he talked about a desire to consult. East Coast smartie made me laugh with his dry humor. I had fun. The one big difference from dating while aware of my anxious attachment makes me put more effort into listening better which has led to more meaningful conversations. 

But no instant spark like with the Outback Italian, to whom my mind drifts to randomly like when I noticed snow on the South Bay hills and thought how he’d enjoy this rare look. When my mind drifts to him, I wonder if we might be trip planning together had I known about my anxiety and began to manage it while he was still into me. My unmanaged anxiety ballooned into what he translated as urgency for a level of commitment he couldn’t give – when it would have been calmed getting on the same page about where we were in our relationship. Though I’m moving on like we both said, my regret lingers. I suggested the breakup because it felt like what he wanted and therefore healthiest for all. But on this side of the Pacific, I don’t feel better.      

So my unenviable journey learning to date continues.