2023, the dating edition

I would usually sum up my yearly dating struggles in a couple of lines in my year-in-review posts. But 2023 has been particularly eventful, and I need to get some thoughts out. One of the reasons why I haven’t been with someone, or kissed, or had sex, since 2012 is that I generally have trust issues. I don’t like people and I don’t trust them. In 2012 I got burnt so badly that it took me a while to even consider the possibility of the idea of being with someone, even for a couple of weeks or months. I would say that last year’s dates with Natalie ended up with nothing exactly because I couldn’t show a minimum of enthusiasm. I was happy, laughing and we had good times, but a little something was missing and she noticed that.

On the last day of 2022, I met Nina. It felt good. It was probably one of the only first dates I had with zero red flags. So I allowed myself to consider the idea of it getting somewhere. Natalie was my test run for inviting someone to my place and cook for her. So I tried that with Nina too. I still couldn’t bring myself to kiss her, being scared shitless after all these years. On date nº6, after having asked her if she didn’t want to spend the night over, she kissed me. And we had sex. I will be forever thankful[1] that she allowed me to experience this again, after 3808 days of nothingness. For reasons still unknown to this day, despite having talked about it with her several times, Nina decided after 3 months that something wasn’t quite right. She briefly changed her mind a couple of weeks later, I gave her a second chance, but nothing had changed on her side. My current theory is either she really doesn’t know what she wants, which is worrying at age 40, or she is lying to me (and/or to herself?) and I was once again, like last time in 2012, just a fun little sideshow you can toss away once you’re bored.

I met with Laura in Baden. We have a weird backstory. I matched with Laura on Tinder 4 years ago while I was on the train back home from my Europe trip. We briefly chatted, but since she lived in the Zurich area and I was in Lausanne, it didn’t go anywhere. At some point I rage-quit Tinder and deleted my account (losing all matches). When I moved to Zurich in 2021, we matched again! And chatted a bit again, but various circumstances made it so we never actually met. Until that day in June 2023. I still feel a bit dumb about this, but for me it was an instant red flag when she pulled her cigarettes out, 2min after sitting down at the café, and proceeded to smoke about half the pack in the couple of hours of our first date. I told her so (afterwards, in writing, because I’m a coward), and she accepted it. We casually saw each other again during 2 concerts (Madball at Kiff, some hardcore shows at Ebrietas), having similar tastes of music.

The next date was with Tamar. We had a nice diner, but when we got up to leave she told me that she is actually not looking for anything, neither casual nor serious. Why be active on dating apps then? So, after Nina, another lady who either blatantly lies at me, or doesn’t know what she wants. She said she was open to friendship, so I suggested some activities twice (with lots of lead time), but she either forgot, or was suddenly busy. Sharing similar musical tastes, we saw each other at the very good Obenuse Festival but didn’t talk. Here, I feel like I have insisted or tried enough. But I don’t know…

Last, I met Vivienne. It was the shortest time ever from match to chat to date to spending the night: 3 days. And by far the funnest first days of chatting with a stranger ever. Before the time of overly easy access to porn on the web, over 20 years ago, I found out about SG: my ideal of the perfect female body. Vivienne exactly has this tattoos-covered crossfit-trained perfection of a body. During our very open conversations, she revealed that she has BPD[2]. I’m not sure I could manage to live with someone like that, my main concern being my own emotional stability. Because I’m not the most emotionally stable and happy person myself. Understatement. But I seriously considered giving it a try. To be honest, it was the first time in a very long while, or maybe ever, that I felt like I could really be my damaged self with someone else. Or maybe that was the issue in the end: too much in common. Out of the blue, she told me that she had met someone for whom she had feelings, thus implying no feelings for me. So no more admiring and caressing this godly body and face.

So yeah, for the first time in years, I really gave dating a try. And my counterparts allowed me to give it a try. But so far, I’m not super sure I’m better off. I feel used. I’m ok with getting a rejection after 1 or 2 dates. But needing several weeks or worse, months, of seeing each other, chatting and even having sex, to realize that I’m not for you is harsh. It sure was absolutely awesome to have sex again, but the whole Nina situation was so unnecessarily complicated[3]. There was no sex with Vivienne (for very fucked up but very valid reasons), just touching. But it all left me wanting more and not getting any, and I don’t know if that’s better than just not getting any for 10+ years, and forgetting how it actually feels like, on a purely physiological level, but also emotionally.

Game Over. Please try again
Game Over. Please try again

  1. well, I think I’m thankful. It obviously also had the effect that, seeing that indeed I am allowed to have sex too, I have been horny as fuck since then. Without getting any, of course. ↩︎

  2. funny coincidence (a.k.a. seeing patterns to attribute meaning to something meaningless): on the night we matched on the dating app, we chatted a bit and she asked for movie recommendations. I had downloaded Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind a couple of weeks prior because I remembered that I liked it but could not remember exactly what it was about. And I watched it that exact night, right before matching and chatting. Turns out, the movie is about Joel, an introvert, falling for Clementine, a girl with BPD. Sounds familiar? ↩︎

  3. it makes me think about this weird car ride with a work colleague during a company retreat. He was driving very dangerously on a mountain pass, blasting Self Esteem by The Offspring out of the speakers. I chose to focus on the music instead of his driving, and for the first time actually listened to the lyrics: a guy with low self esteem getting used by a girl. Sounds a bit familiar… ↩︎