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Post by BobTheNinja on Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:09 pm

So, I've recently renewed my efforts at online dating in an effort to find someone looking for a casual relationship, currently using Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Craigslist. The results so far have not been encouraging. Only a couple of the messages I've sent out have been replied to, and then I either got blocked or they stopped replying. In the case of Tinder, I got a single match out of likely over a hundred right swipes, and then the match never replied to my message.

I did some additional reading on Dr NerdLove, and according to this article (http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2012/11/women-casual-sex-part-2-same-night-lays/) the most successful way to find someone for a casual relationship is to cold approach at bars and clubs. Which is absolutely the last thing I want to be doing. For one, I barely ever go to bars or clubs in the first place, it just isn't my idea of a fun time. And number two, the concept of just walking up to complete strangers and expressing interest in them just seems so goddamn awkward to me, to the point of bordering on outright inappropriateness. It just feels like the perfect way to offend or weird someone out. The last thing I want to do is put myself out there, only to fuck up and embarrass both myself and someone else.

Yet this is apparently how people most successfully find partners. But I feel like I just can't DO what those people do, and I look at the steps put forward in the article and become so utterly upset that I actually break down crying, because it feels like this fear of the cold approach is something I could never bring myself to do, let alone succeed in. I'm not some kind of smooth, charming, naturally at-ease person. I can be plenty sociable, but usually only with people I know as friends or relatives, and there are times when I can be a goddamn wreck, plagued by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy, fearing failure if I try to change and hating to challenge my habits or step outside comfort zone. That's why I wanted to do online dating in the first place, so that I could confirm the other person's desires and intentions over the internet before ever meeting them in real life.

I know this is an unhealthy way to think, but I just don't know what to do. This is one of those cases where my brain almost literally goes to war with itself, with one side wanting to meet people, find an intimate partner and have fun, while the other is absolutely riddled with insecurity and fears about screwing up or violating social politeness. The latter side usually wins.
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Post by Caffeinated on Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:31 pm

I think you're mistaken in reading that DNL article as meaning you can only find casual relationships by cold approaching at bars and clubs. You're not the only person who is extremely uncomfortable in those kinds of places. Lots of people hate that scene, both men and women.

Using online dating sites is a totally fine way to look for people for something casual. And from what you said in your first paragraph, you're actually doing fine. You got a match on Tinder, you got a couple replies to messages, those are good signs. Online dating is hit or miss, but the majority of it is miss. Getting a couple nibbles of interest is a good thing. It means you're doing something right. Could be you need to work on followup messaging, or could be you just need to keep rolling the dice and sooner or later you'll roll lucky.

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Post by Perlandra on Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:12 pm

I don't go for "casual relationships," not sure whether you mean ONS, FWB, fuckbuddies, or some sort of limbo thing where you are effectively monogamous but don't use labels. From talking with friends, though, most of the women who do have casual sex don't like cold approaches in bars/clubs though. They use OLD sites, meet people through friends/activities, etc.

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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:39 pm

Hi Bob,

What you're describing is normal. I've done a lot of cold approaches and I know a lot of people who have done them and the approach anxiety you describe comes up a lot, even for people who are confident at cold approach. It's normal to feel that "at war with yourself" feeling. I did some breaking down in tears myself on a number of occasions when I first took this on.

The good news a lot of us have found is that you can feel anxious and still approach.

Personally, I think a few cold approaches would be good for you--not necessarily because you'll find a one night stand that way, but because you'll have the chance to see that a lot of the things you're worrying about either a) don't happen or b) DO happen, but when they do, its something you can handle.

But it's really up to you. If you don't want to do them, don't do them. What I'm reading in your message though isn't that you don't want to do them. I'm reading that you don't want to FAIL at them, and that's a different issue entirely.

You mentioned wanting to "confirm the other person's desires and intentions over the internet before ever meeting them in real life." I think it's normal to want that sort of certainty, but it doesn't often happen. You will find people often say they want one thing and respond to something else. Or they do want something and it turns out they want it from somebody other than you. You may even find with experience that you want something other than what you're telling yourself you want.

Another note. In my experience, casual experiences require more social skill, not less. They're actually more difficult for people without experience. So your tinder experience is not uncommon.

It sounds like you're right on track for where you are. As you commit to pushing that comfort zone and experimenting to find what works for you, you'll get a better sense of what works for you and what doesn't. And the world isn't going to run out of available people anytime soon so you can take breaks as needed.

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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:20 pm

Caffeinated wrote:I think you're mistaken in reading that DNL article as meaning you can only find casual relationships by cold approaching at bars and clubs. You're not the only person who is extremely uncomfortable in those kinds of places. Lots of people hate that scene, both men and women.

Using online dating sites is a totally fine way to look for people for something casual. And from what you said in your first paragraph, you're actually doing fine. You got a match on Tinder, you got a couple replies to messages, those are good signs. Online dating is hit or miss, but the majority of it is miss. Getting a couple nibbles of interest is a good thing. It means you're doing something right. Could be you need to work on followup messaging, or could be you just need to keep rolling the dice and sooner or later you'll roll lucky.

Alright, I admit I was exaggerating when I made that post (was in a bad place emotionally then). I have been to bars and clubs with coworkers, and those times were actually pretty fun (drunk dancing especially). It's just that I pretty much never go by myself.

On the other hand...I'm not sure what the fresh hell has come over me, but I am now planning to ask one of my lady coworkers out on a date. She's really attractive, and while I was thinking about my whole cold approach problem, the idea of asking her out occurred to me...and I WASN'T terrified of it. I mean, I'm still pretty nervous about it, but not enough that I feel I can't do it. She's a salesperson and I'm a porter, so there shouldn't be any conflicts of interest where my job is concerned either.

The part that I really concerned about, if she says yes, is nailing down my exact desires if we go on a date and decide to get together. I would say that I'm leaning far more toward a casual dating relationship, but I'm not opposed to an emotional component either, in fact I might welcome it. Essentially, I'd like to keep things fun and low-intensity even if there is an emotional bond, but I'm not sure how to convey that, since it doesn't quite sound like either strictly casual dating or a bona fide relationship.
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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:30 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:The part that I really concerned about, if she says yes, is nailing down my exact desires if we go on a date and decide to get together. I would say that I'm leaning far more toward a casual dating relationship, but I'm not opposed to an emotional component either, in fact I might welcome it. Essentially, I'd like to keep things fun and low-intensity even if there is an emotional bond, but I'm not sure how to convey that, since it doesn't quite sound like either strictly casual dating or a bona fide relationship.

I think the phrase you want here might be "Let's just see where things go." You don't have to have it planned out in advance.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:40 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:The part that I really concerned about, if she says yes, is nailing down my exact desires if we go on a date and decide to get together. I would say that I'm leaning far more toward a casual dating relationship, but I'm not opposed to an emotional component either, in fact I might welcome it. Essentially, I'd like to keep things fun and low-intensity even if there is an emotional bond, but I'm not sure how to convey that, since it doesn't quite sound like either strictly casual dating or a bona fide relationship.

I think the phrase you want here might be "Let's just see where things go." You don't have to have it planned out in advance.
Okay, sounds good. I guess all that's left to do now is get cleaned up and ask the question.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm

Definitely go with the "let's see where things go" vibe. Regardless of your goals for the relationship, a good approach for first dates is to keep the immediate objectives focused on "have a good time" and "see if I would be interested in going on a second date."
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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:32 pm

*sigh* Ahhh...well shit. She already has a boyfriend.

...Well, I'm still glad that I asked. The adrenaline really ramped up when I began the approach, but I made it nice and straightforward. "Hey <person's name>, I know this is kinda sudden, but I think you're really attractive, and I'd like to know if you'd be interested in going on a date with me." On the plus said, she said that was really sweet, and thanked me for it.

I hope I'll have better luck next time.
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Post by eselle28 on Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:51 pm

Sorry to hear that!
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Post by BobTheNinja on Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:17 pm

eselle28 wrote:Sorry to hear that!
The important part is that I didn't feel the sense of hopeless and self-doubting fear that I did when I was alone at home and dwelling on the issue, so that's really encouraging. Now I'm thinking about finding an environment where I can feel comfortable propositioning to strangers.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Sun Sep 06, 2015 2:14 pm

There's another problem though. Lately my efforts to find a casual partner have also been bringing up a lot of ugly, ongoing emotions that I've had for a while regarding my virginity, regret that I wasn't more socially active in college, jealousy of other people who have had sexual experiences, resentment (not at women, but I suppose life in general) that I haven't had the opportunity to do what most other people have, and feelings of  inadequacy because of my utter lack of dating experience, along with shame at myself for not making greater efforts to put myself out there.

I'm worried that if I do somehow find someone interested in dating me, and eventually get the opportunity to have sex for the first time, these emotions will somehow resurface and cause huge problems. I don't know what to do about them, but I know that I don't want to give up on dating on account of my emotional baggage. Any ides on what I can do to resolve this problem?

EDIT: It occurs to me that I get most upset about this stuff when I'm thinking about it a lot internally, or when I'm at my computer. I almost certainly spend too much of my free time shut away in my room, and I wonder if that's contributing to my emotional spiralling problem. If I start getting out more and spend time around other people, do you think that would help?
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Post by Enail on Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:38 pm

I'd say it sounds pretty likely that it would, since it seems like you tend to dwell. Give it a try!
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