Confusing Communication

Dear Lisa,

I was communicating with a man for the last month on email through a dating site. He seemed very dynamic–a professional singer, an author, does seminars etc etc. He was saying things like “I fell in love with you at first glance”, “I would like to be your one man”. But, in terms of meeting me (he lives in San Diego) he kept saying that he had to figure out his schedule. He was fine with doing a long distance relationship (which I was hesitant about) and yet, couldn’t seem to find the time!

He kept asking me questions about me and in a way that I experienced as being questions that were meant to find a way to “eliminate” me, so to speak. When I told him that I had not been in a relationship for 16 years because of my chronically ill son, he emailed back that it was “scary” that I had not been in a relationship that long (not anything supportive like–how hard that must have been for me).

I emailed him today, saying that I had experienced some bad encounters on dating sites; that some men just enjoy romance over emails and nothing more and that married men had contacted me as well. He emailed me back and said that he didn’t think this would work; that I had too many questions and fears; that he wants conversation and answers to love. I am really not sure what is meant by that. Conversely, although I did not get the information first-hand from him, and I felt that he used the word “love” way too easily and insincerely. I am 58 and have not dated in 16 years and am finding
this all very confusing and upsetting. I feel like I am doing something wrong.

–Confused ( ♀ Victoria)


Dear Confused,

Online dating can be, and often is, confusing and upsetting for a number of reasons, but primarily because it involves text communication, which is devoid of the nuances of inflection and body language. Because of this, I suggest that my clients who choose to date online communicate in person or at least over the phone, unless it is for small things like ‘I’m running five minutes late’ or ‘I’m lost.’ So, ideally you don’t exchange more than three to five messages back and forth before he asks for your number or skype name, and even then, no long conversations on the phone – keep it to 10 minutes and get to know each other in person.

As for finding a man who respects you, if you are doing anything wrong, it is ignoring your intuition. You DON’T want a long distance relationship, yet you kept talking to him. He’s NOT making time for you (and therefor doesn’t deserve any more of your time), yet you continued to pursue him (remember he must pursue you). He is NOT supportive of your past lifestyle and your decision to step back into the dating world (not to mention that his reaction to your questions and fears was completely insensitive) and you emailed him again!

I suggest that you you keep the written communication to a minimum, and trust yourself. You are worth more than the occasional message.

– Lisa



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