A dating reality check, please

After a couple of moves and a lot of treading water, I ended a long-term but ultimately dead-end relationship in January. I have been letting the dust settle since then, letting friends take me to parties and meeting as many people as possible.

A couple of weeks ago, I started to get the feeling that I had met everyone I had a chance of meeting on a regular basis, and that there weren’t really any starters there, so I joined eHarmony.

eHarmony has returned several promising matches, so far. I have my preferences set to “guided communication”, so it takes a while to get to the open communication phase where you can arrange to meet a guy for coffee. I have gotten to that phase with one guy, so far.

I rather like him. He’s good looking, well spoken, friendly, seems to be kind, and drives a red Mustang. With the exception of a little too/to confusion, he can even spell and write in grammatically correct sentences. We’re doing dinner and a movie this weekend. He even has the “right” ideas about evangelical Christianity (despises it), and mumbles something about going to college to study astronomy and make something better of himself.

Here’s the problem: I’ve ended up on eHarmony because I have an unfortunate propensity for unsuitable men. None of my “serious” relationships have been with men that it was both possible and wise to marry. In spite of this, some of them have gone on for years.

I see, in this guy, another man who wouldn’t be a suitable life partner. He comes from a blue-collar family that was both astonished and confused when he got an associate’s degree in criminal justice. When he decided not to be a policeman after all, he took a warehouse job, where he’s been ever since (though remember, he’s making noises about trying to go to college).

Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to be bold and original. He seems almost afraid to have opinions. He admits that he didn’t read my profile on eHarmony, just liked the pictures of me. He doesn’t read books. There’s nothing wrong with any of this–the vast majority of my family, to whom I am close and who I love very much, are like this. I know exactly where this guy is coming from.

The problem is that I have a doctorate and a research job. I read books like he breathes air. I have scads of friends who also read and think and talk (and won’t shut up) and argue and analyze. I make a six-figure income… probably three times what he does.

I like him. I really want to hang out with him and have fun with him. The socioeconomic difference, though, was an elephant in the room when we had coffee last weekend. It just kept coming up, accidentally. My whole world is research and conferences and publishing and travel, and his world is none of that. I feel like in the short term, he’ll do things just to please me, and in any long-term relationship, he’d get bitter and defensive. I also really don’t want that to be the case. Like I said, the guy is well spoken in the way that a smart person is–he just hasn’t been in an environment that encourages him to be mentally extroverted.

I’m a bit worried about his actual level of motivation, too. Talking about making something more of himself isn’t actually making more of himself. He didn’t read my profile. He says he’s pretty happy with his life now, working the warehouse job and sharing a house with two roommates (in a pretty affordable area of the country). I dunno. I would want more.

So… um… what should I do? Try to be kind with me. I’m 27, almost 28.

Oh: he’s 30. And good looking. And drives a red Mustang. :slight_smile:

With all the conferences and publishing and traveling that you do, you should be able to meet someone who is more on your level. Or, keep dating guys from eHarmony. Don’t do the guided communication thing, don’t spend weeks emailing back and forth with someone and getting to know them and then meeting in person and finding you don’t click. If you are interested in someone online, get on an actual date with them ASAP so you don’t waste time talking on the phone and feeling sympathy for them.

Sounds, to me, like you already know the answer to the question you’re asking.

Override your inner voice at your peril.

In my experience, if you don’t learn the life lesson from the last experience, it just gets served up again and again, until you do. Some people only need to go around the track once to get the lesson, some people need to go around a few times. Sounds, to me, like you’re in the position of actually having a choice. Choose carefully.

If you’re so smart (doctorate and all that), how come you can’t see this, huh? :smiley:

samm: too bad most academics are wankers (sigh).

elbows: well, you know all that about how you can’t study something that you’re too close to…

Well you don’t know him too too well yet - just try to not jump in deep before you’re sure. You can always give him the “I just got out of a serious relationship not too long ago, just looking now to meet people and have fun and see what happens.”

I say if you do like him, try another couple dates. If the differences between you (education, interests, income) still weigh heavily on your mind after a few dates, then maybe end it. My ex was the same way - although we were both young (me 17 he 20) when we started dating. I was heading off to college, he was working a warehouse job his dad got him. He had no interest in school. It took me a year and a half to realize, that among other reasons, that it wasn’t going anywhere. Our interests and ambitions were way too different. My current boyfriend has his BS and works a great job that he is good at and enjoys, and I just got my BA in a field I enjoy. We’re both academic type nerds, I’m heading to grad school in a year hopefully and he wouldn’t mind going back, he just makes too much money without a masters to want to yet.

The things you’re worried about are important, but you never know who’s really right for you from the start. Give him a chance if you like him, and just let your own feelings guide you in your decision whether to stay with him or find someone else. One date isn’t enough to tell unless the guy is a total jerk asshole loser or something - just don’t get too in over your head if you’re still unsure. As in, don’t date him exclusively and seriously until you’re sure he is worth it and that your concerns will likely not be a problem. It doesn’t sound like this will happen, but you also never know.

Yeah. Well, when I’m dealing with people that might not quite play in my league, I use the 3-out-of-4 rule. Which is where they have to have 3 out of the following 4: their own car, their own place, a college degree, and a job. See, so for example, she can have some hard times and maybe lose her job and still date me, but she still better have her own place/car and a college degree. I also subtract one for having kids. If she can’t get 3/4, she doesn’t have a shot.

Sounds like your boy is hitting about 1.5 to 2 on that scale, he’s under the weight limit. I vote put that fish back.

It doesn’t though. I’m an overeducated silver spooned professional type, and I date women all the time that are in roomate/low-end job situations, and who come from blue collar backgrounds. In my experience if it keeps coming up it’s because she is feeling insecure about it. Because christ knows I have better things to talk about than pissing away thousands of dollars on useless degrees and my glamorous job of being shit upon by my clients. Sometimes the other person is mature enough to not really care, and she can both tease and be teased about it, but sometimes it’s a serious chip on her shoulder and I’m just wasting my time with someone who just isn’t going to get the fuck over it.

Switch to the 3/4 scale. Also…red mustang? Ehh.

Don’t do it. If you were already really into each other, you could maybe find a way to work around your differences. But if you’re essentially picking a guy out of the pool, then why not pick one who’s more likely to work out?

It is possible that you will be able to negotiate a relationship with him that will thrill you, but it is more likely that you will have to break up with him eventually (possibly after years of a relationship that isn’t going anywhere). Don’t settle! Especially if settling doesn’t feel right even now.

I once had an online dating site flirtation that was going pretty well. Everything was great until he mentioned he lived in the suburbs. That lifestyle is simply not compatible with someone like me (who is carless and lives at least 1 hour by transit from the closest suburb, and is not interested in a long distance relationship). So I ended it before it went any further. I mean, if I had an established relationship with a suburbanite, we could work something out, but I figured why start from behind the starting line?

For what it’s worth I’m also finished with dating guys who don’t have comparable intellectual interests or disposable income as I do. I’ve done it and it’s really hard, even when you are totally in love with each other.

If you’re intent on pursuing it, it might be worthwhile to see what emerges from his talk of going back to school. If talk is all it’s ever going to be, you really should stay away.

How you doin’?

Wrong thread?

This is unacceptable, IMO. You’re researching things that many would consider “esoteric” and he can’t be bothered to read the profile of a woman with whom he’d like a serious relationship? Could you be any farther apart in thought processes?

Nah. Move on.

There’s another thread in here somewhere in which people were talking about e Harmony. My niece (Doctorate in Music) wasn’t accepted…she’s too smart, opinionated, and frankly, an atheist. Neil Clark Warren has degrees in theology and I think e Harmony’s “dimensions” approach stresses that without telling you.

I found this alternative:


They match even gay people, which e Harmony won’t. Helen Fisher is a published anthropologist, btw, who studies love, sex, infidelity, all that.

I’ll tell you the honest, unvarnished truth - I have never, not ever, no never, been happy with a guy who isn’t as smart as me. I have rarely been happy with one less well read or otherwise intellectually involved and tuned in.

I can’t speak to your situation, but I’ll share my own story. Make of it what you will.

After my LTR blew up, I had a really hard time getting back into the dating life. My dating skills had atrophied almost completely. I was neeting almost no one, and the few women I did meet were pretty undesirable. I could not picture myself spending any significant amount of time with any one of them. (There was one notable exception, but I totally blew it with her.)

In January I made a commitment to myself to meet as many women as possible, using every method I could think of – Bars and clubs, daytime pickup, dating services, dating events, online personals, voodoo witchdoctor matchmakers, you name it, I was trying it. I wasn’t looking for The One, I was just trying to fill up my social calendar. Did Becky Sue turn me on? No. Was Shelly my perfect match? As far from it as possible. Did Sally live anywhere near the realm of Sane? Not even close. But it didn’t matter. To me they were not long-term prospects, just transient companions in a very busy social life. I made a decision not to get attached to any one of them. As terrible as this might sound, to me they were just pieces of meat. (Each encounter was non-sexual, though.)

I estimate that in four months, I met somewhere around seventy-five women, and dated about fifteen of them. It got to the point where I had to make a list, because there was no way I could keep them all in my head. At one point, my list had eight active members. There was one name on the list that was such a complete throwaway that I was really disinclined to meet her at all. I figured I’d meet her, have a terrible time, and never call her again. As it turns out, she was going to cancel on me. She made the decision that she’d rather remain celibate for the rest of her life than meet one more loser guy. She only showed up because a friend talked her into it.

As soon as we saw each other, we knew. It was obvious to both of us, and everyone around us, what what going on. In that moment both of our lives turned upside down. I’ve never been part of anything so intense in my life, and neither has she.

This is scary: Since we met a month ago, she has sent me 146 e-mails. And I’ve loved every single one of them.

Correction – 147.

Well if the fact that he has a small penis doesn’t bother you, I say go for it.

In reality, such a huge socioeconomic difference rarely works out.

If you are only 27 and doing research you will probably have to move around. So for someone in research a person with a less than stellar job or a portable one may be good. Are you working in a University?

Otherwise he doesn’t sound like a good fit. People with grad degrees tend to be a lot more driven than he sounds.

Weird. That happened to me once.

He was gay. He wants Mr. Mustang when I’m done with him.

Thanks, everyone, for letting me know that it’s okay to say no-kay to this guy, even though he has some nice qualities.

Hmm… I’m an agnostic, leaning towards the atheist side of things, and eHarmony didn’t reject me. I actually first filled out a profile there several months ago when I found out that they rejected about 20% of people. I was soooooooo sure they’d send me away… then they didn’t.

You let a Gilbert & Sullivan reference go by without comment, it must be love.

Will we be meeting this tube of wonderful at the next local Dopefest?


Do you still have the witchdoctor’s card?

Right now, I’m trying to meet them but I’m avoiding dating sites. A lot of them are meat markets, which is what leapt out at me from the OP: he didn’t want to know much about her. He just liked her picture.

I think when you meet with the express purpose of finding a date/mate, you’ve blown it already. You’re both sizing each other up…is this person attractive enough? Does he/she have a good job, a nice car, etc.? You’re holding them up to a different standard than if you were just making friends.

And IMO some people think it’s like e Bay or something. “This one is nice but not perfect…I’ll keep looking.”

I joined a group that likes to go listen to jazz in coffee bars etc. One woman there kind of interested me and the eye contact was VERY good. Someone asked her if she were coming to the next event and she said no, she had a class that day. Wait, that’s Saturday. She said she was going for her concealed handgun permit. Oh, yeah? Yeah, she said her ex was kinda crazy and she was going to protect herself no matter what. Ah…let me paint a big red X on you.

If I had met her via a dating site she NEVER would have divulged that. If you meet people as friends I think you’re going to get a truer picture of who they are. JMO, YMMV

I’m pretty sure my sweetie isn’t gay, though she said she’s not closed to the experience.

Oh my.

I hope so! Auto is moving away in a couple of weeks. We should try to do it before then.

I do totally agree. My thought process was along tdn’s lines, though–meet people any way I can. In terms of friends-of-friends, I seem to have hit the limit of people I can see often enough to develop independent relationships with. In terms of travel and conferences, it’s the same crowds that changes only very gradually, who I see only a couple of times a year, and who would result in a very-long-distance relationship, which isn’t cool. In terms of activities… I do yoga and bellydance (no eligible men in those), and study “the exquisite art of the samurai sword”, but it’s a small dojo and there are no opportunities there. And that pretty much fills up my schedule.

I may, soon, get to the point where I drop first bellydance and then yoga in favor of something else that attracts more youngish men.