We matched on a dating app one October night. I was super excited to talk with this person. We texted for a while and exchanged numbers soon that night. We texted! Everyday chats went long and we got to know about each other. We texted! I don't know we did not get on a call AT ALL. Both did not take the move. We did not meet in person very soon. It took a whole month to get things in place and we met in a mall after a whole month of "whatsapp chats". Well, I made up my own scenarios in my mind and was falling for this person very soon, even before we met in person. I was super expressive in chats, I used to even send her some poems. But the day we met for the first time, I went total NUMB. I was not myself, I couldn't speak about or of anything. She was chill, she was trying to make me comfortable but I was just silent and smiling. OK! Maybe the first meet. But! I was not at all talking at our second meet as well. Third meet, fourth, damn every TIME!! On the contrary, as always I was super expressive in texts. To make things clear, I'm an ambivert. I'm not too silent all the time and I have my own space as well. People love me for my talking and my charm. But God! I couldn't be myself to the person whom I let inside my life and show everything. I couldn't express my feelings or thoughts to the person whom I love. Imagine, someone trying to spend their time with someone like me who is just still like a wall! I couldn't tell her what I was feeling in person. Eventually, she wanted to end things. Now, I sabotage myself. I let her inside my mind with all the love I had for her but now I'm just left heart broken for not being myself around her. Is it the digital texts that ruined me from human connection? Or is it just like "some things are not meant to be!" kinda thing? I was fast with her. Was it my mind making scenarios? For now, we are friends and she's super chill with whatever happened and I'm here crying most of the days both because of Corona and because of her. I don't know what exactly my question is but I would be so happy if you give a reply something about this, so that this may give me some clarification cuz I have no one else to share. Thank you. And your page is awesome.
Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this experience with us. We apologise for taking a long time with our response, as this one had us thinking for a while and we had to sit on it before attempting to come up with an answer. Online dating is a difficult space to navigate, matching with someone and having a good conversation comes with a lot of pressure and expectations. Often, it is easier for us to communicate on digital platforms rather than in person (heck, that is one of the reasons we initiated this platform!). The internet has a lot more cues and information to keep us engaged. We think that it is brave of you to invest time and energy on someone and sometimes that means more than saying the words out loud. It takes time to build any kind of a relationship bond and takes even longer to fully trust and be emotionally intimate with someone.
We have also faced instances in which we could not fully express ourselves even though the situation called for it. There could be several reasons for why you could have struggled with communication while on dates with this person. When it comes to new experiences, our bodies and minds can be unpredictable and sometimes it's difficult to navigate unique and novel circumstances. Sometimes the vibrations just don't match in real life, which is disappointing.
The other person has a role to play, too. You mentioned that she was chill in your first meeting, but when analysing this situation and the following meetings with her, ask yourself: what steps did they take to make you feel comfortable and open up? Did they leave gaps in the conversation for you to interject? Did they ask relevant questions about you? Did they interrupt too often or look bored when you spoke? Often, these aren't intentional choices that the other person is making, but they still can leave us feeling awkward.
There could also be certain socio-psychological explanations as well. One of them is stage fright that could also apply to unique situations where you feel a certain pressure to do well. We might practice and practice but when we get on the stage (or the situation we have been preparing for), we freeze. Another is known as selective mutism, which is a type of anxiety for which a common example is: being freely verbal at home but being completely or mostly nonverbal at school. In this case, it could be helpful to explore whether you have faced similar situations related to anxiety or fear in your past.
Perhaps you were not looking for a deep explanation into the situation, but it might be a good idea to look at what happened during those dates from different angles to understand ourselves better and forgive ourselves for failing at something. Regardless, navigating heartbreak is painful, especially when we fall so deeply. Unfortunately, we just have to accept that some relationships don’t work out, and hope to grow for the next experiences that life throws at us.
In this digital age, we are bombarded with information. We are constantly updating our posts, stories, re-sharing, retweeting, tagging our friends on memes or sending them interesting tidbits etc just to feel connected. But when we are in person, we don't have half as many social cues or time to process the information we are receiving. And especially on dates, our focus is on that one person that we really want to get along with. A few things you could consider doing to help you open up, particularly in an in person date setting: being upfront that you get shy easily around pretty people (sneaks in that compliment, but also helps set expectations); keep a list of questions ready that you can go to in case the conversation dries up based on your previous digital communications; go to a place/ do an activity you are familiar with so you can talk about your history with the place/ activity; try something new (one time classes or workshops) so both of you have less pressure to make constant conversation; after the date, tell them you had a great time and if you still feel like you got tongue tied, just acknowledge it and ask how they felt.
We hope that you continue to explore new experiences, go on fun dates and find someone who you can talk your heart out to!
The Second Puberty