David* wasn’t looking for anything serious and had just ended a 9-year relationship. But, our dates were fun and I enjoyed myself with him. One date led to another. We dated for 6 months and it was exclusive, but it always had a timer on it because it wasn’t the right time in his life. Eventually it ended.
We’ve kept in touch. Occasionally we see each other. Sometimes we talk on the phone. We send each other random little texts. Sometimes he watches my dogs when I go out of town. Months go by in between interactions (which are entirely platonic), but we got to know each other, we like and respect each other, and I enjoy our conversations and the time we spend together. There wasn’t any bad blood about it ending because we were both very honest throughout things about what our feelings and desires were and weren’t.
I like that I met him. I like that he’s in my life. I don’t feel like the time I spent building a relationship with this person was wasted.
Steven* and I only made it two dates. Two dates in he said he wasn’t feeling the chemistry even though I was. We said we should be friends and keep in touch. We’ve invited each other to parties and protests since then. We’ve shown up. We care about some of the same issues and we have a little bit of the same spirit. We both straddle progressive political and corporate spaces. I admire his kindness and warmth.
I like that I met him and that he’s in my life. I feel like the time and energy that went into getting to know each other on both of those dates was well spent and brought a lovely person into the periphery of my life.
Dating is hard sometimes. Apps speed up the process. They let you go on soooooo many dates, which means you experience more of everything—more sparks and romance, more rejecting others and more being rejected, and more moments of heartache. It can be frustrating to invest time and energy into connections that don’t go anywhere; God knows how many times I’ve thought after a date, or sometimes on a date, how many things would have been a better use of my time—sleeping, time with friends, yoga, cleaning my house. Sometimes though, even if those connections don’t turn into romance, they turn into friendships, lovely people who become a part of your life… and that’s a happy accident of the whole thing and something to be grateful for.
*Changed people’s names to protect the innocent. :)