Dear Dr. NerdLove:
Four weeks ago I matched with girl on Tinder, and things went normally. I broke the ice with a few questions, gave her my number so we could text instead (I didn’t call her since we had already been previously texting on tinder) and then made plans for a date. A couple days after that, I met her out for drinks and pool and darts (at this point we were having good conversation but no physical escalation ). We tried to go somewhere to dance but since it was the middle of the week, the place was dead; we just hung out and talked instead. At this point we held hands as we left. Next we drove to a karaoke bar, sang some songs and kissed. When we were leaving, I suggested we go to her place which was a block away. She agreed. We talked a bit, then started making out and things escalated. I was not planning on having sex which her, and I had even said this earlier, because I like to have sex with people I really care about. However, I felt comfortable with her so we had sex after all. I’m pretty sure it was good for her, she was a bit dry, so she was sore after but she was satisfied at least physically. The next morning, we messed around more but didn’t have sex because she was sore. Then we slept again till noon, which was a little late for us. We ended up talking for another two hours before I left to eat.
I waited four days and then had this texting exchange:
Me: Hey [DATE], hope your weekend has been going well. I had a great time with you last week and I’d love to see you again. What’s your schedule look like this week?
Her: It was really great meeting you, but I’m going to politely decline that second date. Hope all the best for you!
Me: That’s a real shame, I really enjoyed spending time with you. If you change your mind, feel free to hit me up. Hope all the best for you too.
I now have no clue what went wrong. Neither of us talked about seeing each other again. She asked in the morning how the date went and I sarcastically and playfully said “definitely a 2”. I did make stupid comment about how much I could bench (witch is only 200) that may have come off cocky, I asked if she liked some of my favorite things and could have been to check-box-y. I also was too confident about knowing she would have me over. I don’t know if I was distant or relationship-y or she just didn’t have that spark, but even as I left, we were kissing and things seems good so I don’t know what went wrong.
Let me know what you think and what I should do.
First Time Unlucky
A wise man once said: It’s possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That’s life. I bring this up because many times, you can do everything right and still not get the outcome that you would want. In dating, you can have an amazing date where the conversation is sparkling, the atmosphere is sexually charged and everyone is having a great time… and they won’t be interested in a second date, often for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you. They may realize that they’re not in the right headspace to date right now. They may have enjoyed things but don’t feel enough of a spark to want to see you again. You may have scratched a very specific itch and they’re satisfied with what they’ve had and don’t need any more than that. It’s not weakness… it’s life.
You… didn’t really do that. You committed some pretty big mistakes. But before I get to those, let me point out what you did right.
First: you matched with someone and took the conversation off Tinder as quickly as possible. That’s an incredibly common mistake folks make; letting the conversation drag on before you take action is part of how you end up with matches that ultimately end up going nowhere. You take so long to make your move that everyone eventually gives up, and your match ends up going out on dates with the person who did ask them out.
Similarly, you made plans for a date at a specific day and time. This is another common problem that folks run into; they say “hey it’d be great to see you sometime” or “let’s get together sometime,” then wonder why they eventually get ghosted.
Next, your date was interesting and active. Too many people go for “pleasant” dates — the cliche “dinner and a movie” or just getting drinks. Drinks are good, but ideally drinks are paired with something. Darts, pool, skee-ball, axe-throwing… these all have a competitive and active component that makes them more interesting and more memorable. Karaoke also makes for a great date; it’s fun and offbeat, a date that few people are likely to have gone on before. Dancing also makes for an excellent date because of how active it is. We are bad at understanding why we feel the way that we do; we feel the physical sensations of something and then back-fill the reasons for it later. Dancing and physical activity gets our hearts pumping and arouses our central nervous system, which arouses the rest of us. However, we associate those sensations with the person we’re with, rather than the activity. As a result, we feel that the reason we’re so hot and bothered is because we’re with that person specifically.
You also do something I recommend: you venue-hop. This is useful on a date because it creates a sort of time-dilation effect; it leaves us feeling like we’ve spent more time with the person we’re on the date with. That, in turn, makes us feel closer and more relaxed with each other.
So up to this point you’re doing pretty damn well.
Then you get back to her place and it all falls apart. To start with, the fact that your date was having issues with lubrication is… not a great sign. Vaginal lubrication isn’t necessarily a sign of arousal and it’s lack isn’t a sign of disinterest — there are a multitude of reasons why someone might be a little dry — but the lack is going to make sex less pleasant at best. That lack of lube can lead to chafing, even tearing and some pretty intense discomfort. That’s not the soreness of “I just got dicked down by a champion” that’s “ugh that’s a really bad friction burn”. That alone is enough to make someone decide they don’t want a second go-round with you. If you’re with someone who’s having issues with getting wet enough (and obviously, who is actively and enthusiastically interested in sleeping with you), then you need to adjust your approach. If you have the option, then a little lube — especially ones that’re a step up what’s available at the drug store — helps. Otherwise, the best option is to take penetration off the table; have oral sex, jerk each other off, roll around, whatever floats your boat, but leave penetration for a time when you’ve laid in some supplies.
Your “yeah, that was about a 2” almost certainly didn’t go over well either. Unless you’ve already established a banter-y, tease-y connection together so that it’s understood that you’re joking when you say that, comments like that can be pretty hurtful. That’s the sort of tease that you need to be careful using. The wrong tone of voice, not following it up with “no, seriously, that was great, I had an amazing time,” runs the risk of making it sound like you’re joking-but-not-really. That combined with unpleasant or painful sex is a pretty good way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
But I think the biggest mistake you made was waiting four days to text her again, especially after you’d slept together. That, honestly, is the sort of thing that can make women feel really icky about the date. While it may not have been your intention, that’s the sort of thing that comes across either as playing weird power games or — worse — sends the message that you think she’s good enough to fuck but not enough to date. My general rule of thumb is that sleeping with someone warrants contacting them the next day to say “hey, I had a great time,” if not after getting home. At the very least it’s polite and avoids giving the impression that you got what you wanted and couldn’t care less about them as a person.
All things considered, I’m not surprised she wasn’t interested in seeing you again; the lead up was great, but you seriously failed to stick the landing. It may have been well-intentioned cluelessness but intentions aren’t magic and don’t mitigate the fact that this probably wasn’t as great of a date for her by the end as it was for you.
The best thing you can do now is take this experience and learn from it. Don’t make the same mistakes again, and hopefully your next incredible date will be incredible for both of you.
Recently I’ve enjoyed some major changes in my life. I was promoted at my job after 3 years of hard work and have found myself at a good place in life. During this time I met a girl; let’s call her K. We seemed to hit it off immediately and the fact that I was bilingual was something that she somehow found attractive. I found out she was seeing someone and she later on told me that relationship was nearing the end and she was just afraid of hurting the guy. She broke up with him a few days after and things started to speed up from there and we became friends with benefits.
Given that I was her superior, I decided to keep our relationship on the DL at the workplace. One day out of nowhere she got upset because I went out to a bar for some drinks alone and because she also found out I decided to hang out with another girl from work. Obviously this kind of behavior was a bit of a red flag and I talked to her about it to which she seemed understanding. Later on I came to find out that she wasn’t being discreet at work about what was going on between us.
I decided to talk with her and I realized we weren’t on the same page. She told me she didn’t care who found out about us because in the end they would find out regardless of who said what. She wanted a more formal boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and I did not. I had just gone through a two year long distance relationship and felt that I needed to focus on my personal goals and that it wasn’t right for me to string her along and she deserved someone who could give her what she was looking for.
We still work together but things are awkward to say the least. We barely say a word to one another and a friend of mine has told me that she has informed a few people about how I decided to end things with her.
Another mutual friend went on to tell me that K got really drunk one night and confessed to still having feelings for me and that she was open to talking with me if I have something to say. Sometimes I do miss what we had beyond the physical connection but I still feel like we aren’t on the same page about what we want and in the long run that might affect whatever might come.
What should I do?
Not Jim, Not Pam
Honestly my dude, what you should do is hop into your nearest DeLorean, travel back in time and stop yourself from dating her in the first place. While I realize workplace romances are a thing — they’re somewhat inevitable, really — the fact that you were her superior and presumably in a place where you can directly affect her job makes it seriously not cool. You may have had the purest of intentions, but there’s a power-imbalance inherent to the setup that makes the whole thing sketchy under the best of circumstances. Doubly so if you now find yourself in the position to have to discipline her, fire her or promote someone else for a position she may also have applied for. Even if you are so good at compartmentalizing that it would never have occured to you to consider your relationship with her as a factor, it’s almost impossible to avoid the appearance of influence.
But for the sake of a thought exercise, let’s imagine that you weren’t her superior and that there were no issues that’d get you dragged before HR. Speaking strictly for the relationship you had… well, you did the right thing by ending things with her. You wanted different and mutually incompatible relationships, and that was going to create a relationship-ending impasse. In situations like these, it’s better to end things sooner rather than later; it’s kinder to them and frees them up to find a relationship with someone who is on the same page. Much like ripping off a bandage, it’s the sort of thing that if t’were to be done, best to be done quickly.
So as far as that goes, you made the right call.
Otherwise… there’s nothing else to be done here. She still wants a long-term committed relationship and you don’t and you’re still her superior at work; all that getting back together will do for you is give you the 12″ extended dance remix of your first breakup except possibly with a guest appearance by Human Resources on the hook. All there’s left to do is power through the awkward. Be professional, polite and friendly… but keep it strictly about work from now on.
And stop dating people who’re below you on the org chart at work.