This time last year, I reactivated my online dating accounts, again.
I was done taking a second break from online dating.
I had taken a year-long break to continue healing. It was time to try online dating again.
I had forgiven myself for sleeping with – well, let’s be honest – a stranger. I thought of it as a life lesson, and really it was what I needed to stop loving ex. What’s the saying? “The best way to get over a man is to get under a new one.”
So, after a year away from online dating drama, I decided to try again.
I really did not expect too much when I reactivated my online dating accounts. But, a year ago, I got a message from a guy that was going to give me another major life lesson.
I know what red flags I ignored with this guy – trust me, I have replayed every conversation we’d ever had over and over in my head. But at the time, I over looked all of the red flags, because I really thought I was being way too jaded. Yes, I had been hurt by the guy that slept with me, asked me to be his girlfriend, and then ghosted. Why take out that anger and paranoia on the next guy?
A year ago, I received a message from “Rick.” He did not send the typical message “hey babe” or “hi sexy.” He sent a message: “Hi. How are you?”
Wow. Great grammar! It definitely caught my eye.
I over looked the fact that his profile name was a single letter, “R,” and that he only had one profile picture. He did tell me his first name, and he sent me additional pictures of himself on request.
The first weekend that we started talking was a drill weekend. He was military. He was real military – he talked just like ex. A lot of his mannerisms were so much like ex – think that was another reason I overlooked so many red flags. I might have still been in love with ex, and this guy reminded me of ex.
At first, we just chatted casually. I was looking for just someone to chat with – not to date; not to have a relationship with; just someone to chat with. I let my guard down and started opening up to this guy – again, since he reminded me so much of ex it felt right, familiar, and comfortable.
He quickly wanted to video chat. It was refreshing to have a guy that wanted to video chat and talk on the phone – not hide behind text messages. He lived in another state, but his kids and military base were in the same state as I.
We arranged to meet in person after chatting for three months. He drove 3.5 hours to come see me. I thought this is amazing! A guy willing to drive 3.5 hours – one way – to come hang out with me has to be pretty special, right?!? I mean, why would a guy waste that much time if he was just wanting sex?
The first time we met up, we only got to spend about thirty minutes together. We ended up making out – not my proudest moment, I know. But I felt comfortable with this guy. We’d been chatting – video chatting, texting, and talking on the phone – for three months. Two weeks later, we arranged to meet up again. I wanted to have sex – I hadn’t had sex in 18 months. I am the one that asked – my heart about pounded out of my chest. I was so scared, nervous, and worried that I would be turned down. He, of course, did not reject me.
We met at a hotel – I did not want anyone at my house. The sex was AMAZING! However, I ended up having a horrible anxiety attack. He did not run for the hills. He stayed. He called and made sure I made it home safely.
I felt like this guy had potential.
I still ignored the red flags, because I had convinced myself that he is making an effort. In one month, we’d met up six times. That is a lot of traveling – most of those times we didn’t even have sex. We would just hang out and talk. He was the type of guy that would hold a door open for you and then would slap your ass as you walked through the door.
I fell in love with him. I told him I loved him. I wasted seven months on him. Still ignoring the red flags.
What red flags did I ignore?
- profile had one picture (which it was a full body picture, and he was wearing a hat and sunglasses. I later found out it was a much older picture of him, too.)
- username was a single letter
- he refused to add each other on Facebook
- he would disappear for several days at a time and then reappear as if nothing had happened
- he continued to tell me that he did not have a girlfriend
- he never called me by my name
- he refused to have a relationship, or even give us any type of title – dating, bf/gf, fwb.
- he continued to repeat that he had never cheated on anyone
- he talked about other women (even after we’d just had sex, he would talk about other women!)
- He would not tell me his last name for a very long time (it was about four months of us chatting before he told me his name, which I’d already knew his last name – I’d already found him on social media. I just wanted verification from him.)
Why did I ignore all of these red flags, plus more?
- I thought he had potential.
- I was tired of online dating drama, so I was settling.
- He reminded me of ex – the man I thought was my soulmate.
- It was nice to have someone to chat with again.
- THE SEX WAS AMAZING, and he made me feel good about my performance in bed.
- He made me smile.
In May of this year, he was at AT for two weeks. We’d planned on meeting after the two weeks were up. I was going to introduce him to my daughter.
We’d planned on meeting on Sunday. On Friday, I had a feeling that something was not right. I could not ignore the feeling. This feeling was too strong. In two days, this man was going to meet the most important person in my life and I had a weird feeling about him.
I’d searched for him on social media before – his profile was extremely private. He did not have a picture of himself on his profile. He had a common name – there were SEVERAL guys with the same name. I found him after a few months of us chatting – so I knew his full name (even middle name). I did not disclose this information with him though.
This day, though, I continued to search. He had slipped up and posted something publicly. I could see it without being on his friends list. I looked at the comments and there it was – a red flag that I could not ignore:
A woman made the comment in response to a meme he’d posted. She said “lol. that’s my man! love you, babe!”
I clicked on her profile. Her profile picture was a picture of her with RICK.
It was an older picture. He had changed his hair style and facial hair. He had gained weight. But it was HIM.
I screenshot the picture. I texted him and asked him to call me when he got a chance.
A part of me still wishes I’d waited for his call. I wish I could have heard his voice and his reaction. But, I could not wait. I had to ask right then. I sent another text:
me: fuck it. I’m going to just ask right now. Are you seeing anyone else?
him: no, why?
me: you are dating or having a relationship with any other females?
him: no, why?
me: hmm… funny, because I found a picture of you with a woman.
him: I haven’t taken any pictures with any women. Are you even sure it is me?
me: it sure as hell looks like you.
him: it must be a very old picture, if it is even me.
Okay. I was getting nowhere with him. I messaged the woman.
me: hi. you don’t know me, but I have a very strange question: is that your boyfriend in your profile picture?
her: who are you? why do you want to know?
me: is his name Rick?
her: how long have you been sleeping together?
Our conversation continued for several minutes. I told her how long I’d been seeing him. She told me they had been together for three years. They were engaged. I was not the first chick he had cheated on her with. I apologized to her; I did not know he was with anyone. She said no hard feelings towards me.
I sent her screenshots of my conversation with him to prove it was Rick I was chatting with – I had his picture and his phone number. I showed her screenshots of him telling me he did not have a girlfriend and he was not seeing anyone else.
Then, I sent him screenshots of conversation between her and I. I told him “look I made a friend.”
I did not he hear from him after that.
I did continue to hear from her for the next several hours. She told me he was ignoring her; she was also trying to text and call him.
About six hours later, I receive a message from her. She said that he apologized to her for cheating. He said he wasn’t going to do it again. Said that he had told me that he did not want a relationship, or to even see me. Said he was not interested in me, but he was afraid that I would kill myself if he rejected me.
WHAT?!? THAT ASSHOLE LED ME ON AND THEN SPUN THE SITUATION AROUND TO MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A CHARITY CASE!
Made him look like the hero – yes, he had cheated, but he was keeping some poor, depressed chick from hurting herself because she couldn’t have him. HA! What an ass…
I was so mad. I was more mad at myself than at him. I had ignored red flags. I had let myself fall in love with this guy.
I still think about him. I still think about the red flags that I did ignore – I want to learn from my mistakes.
I find myself wondering if he ever felt any remorse for what he did to me. I find myself wondering if he really did stay faithful, or if he found another victim. I blocked both of them on social media, apps, and on my phone.
I worry that one day I am going to come across his profile on the dating sites again. What would my reaction be? Would I be able to bring myself to just block him without saying anything? Would he try to contact me?
I miss the conversations and the attention from a guy, but what I really miss is the sex.
He made me more jaded. He made me have even less trust in guys. He made me hate myself again.