Tonight, I quit online dating forever

I know typing that feels premature, even after successfully deleting (and not just deactivating) my accounts. But as any addict has thought a thousand times before, I can’t do this anymore. I kept knowingly continuing to torture myself under the guise of hope, but after tonight, after enough years of trying, I should know all I need to know. It’s not ever going to work.

As if getting sober wasn’t enough to get honest with myself, learning the reality of my mental illness is. I have to take care of myself more vigilantly than the average single 30-year-old woman. I would also venture to say I have more self-awareness and an intuitive understanding of how I don’t understand the opposite sex. I don’t think I ever will.

I was having a very hard time the other night. I had spent the last few weeks sleeping through the side effects of this mood stabilizer, Tegretol, that teased me with a sense of, that’s right, stability, for one gloriously stress-free week. I had never experienced the hell that is rapid cycling until recently.

I was stir crazy, restless, and desperate for human interaction. I perused whatever social app I had to try to find somebody to spend my Friday night with. A Friday, plenty past 5 o’clock… and nothing. No one. I was alone, naturally.

My anxiety worsened by the hour. I was frustrated, lonely, and without any clarity. I really did not know how to feel better. I didn’t even know with any certainty if human interaction was what I needed. I started the impulsive strategizing.

This coffee shop was having an open mic night. Maybe they have a poetry slam. But it’s already been an hour into the event, you’ve never been there, you’re kind of a mess right now, and who knows if there’s anyone even in there?

What about a tattoo, then? At least that would distract me for a while and give me a rush of endorphins. But that would be too expensive and clear my account out. Maybe another facial piercing, like a monroe? That could be attractive. But that wouldn’t quell the anxiety that had already been brewing.

Ah ha, kratom! I had recently run out of the liquid kratom I hadn’t touched much during my week of stability. Think think, pull up Google Maps to see who’s nearby that sells it. I’d heard of kava bars but not ones that served kratom, too. Success. I had a destination. I could feel better.

When I arrived, I naturally sat myself as far away from everyone as possible, which seemed to make the most sense for someone starved of human interaction. They had hot and cold versions of red and white strains, so, as I was anxious, I ordered the red.

After observing the other patrons talk to each other, I cradled my kratom tea and felt it heat up my frazzled body. I thought about browsing Twitter but I couldn’t hold my concentration. At what moment was I going to break down and cry?

Then at 9:30 PM I got an alert that some guy had sent me a message with his phone number.

“I am terrible at existing within single sentences 🙂 I come alive only at an emotionally deeper level, as I have faith you understand and can appreciate.

I like to jump into the deep end, but respect if that isn’t what you’d like. All I will say is I connect with what you say about yourself in your bio. We are very similar.

I’ll take a leap, if you’d like to contact me, maybe we can meet for a nice conversation.”

The timing couldn’t have been more right. I needed to talk to someone, to someone deep and understanding, and here he was, a dial away.

We spoke until the bar was closing and I had to pay my check. This guy gave me permission to cry and to let my tension free. He allowed me to show someone my charm, my intellect, my insights, my warmth, and my sense of humor. I couldn’t recall ever having a conversation like this with someone before. He got me. I got him.

When I got back home, we texted. We both agreed that touch was our love language. I told him I would pet his arms and massage his hands. He said he would let me comb my fingers through his hair until he fell asleep. We talked about how we would watch deep films, French films.

More than once he would talk about how much we had to explore. I told him I would be there for him if any film triggered him emotionally. He had seen The Jerk and loved it! At that moment I could have married him.

But the text that pains me the most, that summarizes why I’m even writing this… is how he said we had a lot to learn about each other. I pause and am saddened by that.

That is what I don’t understand, how he could spend a mere 2 hours with me tonight, an impromptu meeting, and go back on everything he said to me. Did we end up having a fairytale experience? No, it was a casual hang-out. I got myself some food and we watched some of a movie I thought he would like.

I hadn’t even done more than hug him. I was under the impression that I didn’t have to impress or worry about this one, that we had all the time in the world to have our “deep and meaningful” relationship.

It was 45 minutes before the time he originally told me he had to head back home that he got up to go. Based on experience, I knew something was up. I rubbed my hands together. “So, no surprises for our official date on Monday… right?”

“I don’t know, maybe? I’ll call you.”

I’ll call you.

And that was it. The last 24 hours I had spent in a cloud of romance wooshed right out the door.

After all the pain and disappointment I had gone through after meeting all the guys I had met throughout my entire online dating experience, if this wasn’t going to work out, no one would.

This one spoke to my soul. This one spoke to what is meaningful to me. This one spoke to my hopeless romantic. This one spoke to my fellow bipolar, my fellow INFJ, my fellow loner, my fellow artist, my fellow recovered addict, my fellow soul explorer.

This one spoke to who I am.

This one spoke to who I need.

This one spoke to who would love the idea of who I am.

This one wasn’t him.

Again.

…but never again.

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