There was this guy I met up with recently — we’ll call him “Ted” — whom I right-swiped because (duh) he was cute, and also because he was a newspaper reporter, which I used to be too. We texted a lot for one night and decided to meet for coffee the next day.
When I get there, Ted is cute in person too, but clearly kind of socially awkward. Anyway, we started talking and I got to thinking wow, we have a lot in common. It was one of those great conversations where everything just flows super easily and you have a billion things you’re interested in about the other person and vice versa.
But near the end of the date, he kind of clears his throat and the vibe changes abruptly to seriousness and he goes you know I’m really new to this Tinder thing, and I want to know if you think this situation is weird after I tell you about it, and of course I’m all BRING IT ON, number one because I’m a therapist and I love people’s random confessions and also because literally nothing shocks me.
So Ted goes on to inform me that this past week, before he started texting me, he went on three consecutive dates with this other girl (he even told me her name — “Alissa”), whom he described as well, you know, she’s only 26, and she’s interesting to talk to, but I’m not really that attracted to her… so do you think it’s weird that I want to keep seeing you after I’ve been on so many dates with her and I just wanted to let you know have plans to see her this week… but just as a friend…and I’ll probably tell her we’re going to stop hanging out… etc. etc.
So I’m kind of LOL in my head and said something to the extent of no big deal, people have friends of the opposite sex all the time, it’s only weird if you’re getting physical with both and neither one knows about the other one. But the whole time I’m saying this I feel like it’s probably pretty strange and remedial that I have to explain all this to a 32-year-old man, am I right?
Obviously it’s not at all an uncommon situation to be casually dating someone on Tinder and then find someone way better but still be kind of dipping back into the first as your back-burner/Plan B. (As a matter of fact, I’ve even had a Plan C and Plan D… maybe even E. It’s like taking out multiple insurance policies — nothing personal, just strategic and pragmatic.) But come on, Ted… do you really lay it all out there… on a first date, no less… for your new Plan A to validate and even provide a supportive ear for processing your grave inner conflict?
In spite of his angst and my the second date. (I know, I know… should have stopped and re-evaluated, but he was hot and I’m superficial. As it turns out, Ted really was good at his job — digging for information. Before I knew it I had divulged the fact of my divorce, including the reasons for the split.
[Here I’ll pause and emphasize: never, NEVER, EVER, discuss your first, second, or even third divorce on a Tinder date, or on a Tinder text, or basically ANY situation in which your intention is to get laid or merely start the awkward process of building a genuine relationship. And yes, that’s even if the conversation leads directly to that topic and you’re totally comfortable and self-aware and well beyond the six-month post-split shame spiral, and also even if your date is similarly divorced. Nothing kills a hard-on like divorce talk! And that’s even when his eyes are kind and he’s asking thoughtful follow-up questions. Your Tinder date can never be your therapist and your bedmate.]
So you see where this is going, I’m sure. Poor Tinder Virgin Ted became scared shitless of Scary Baggage-Laden Divorced Woman, and we never crossed paths again. But it’s just as well, since SERIOUSLY GUYS I really have Soft-Scrubbed my mental bathroom of any post-divorce shit stains and am feeling totally groovy and self-aware and emotionally stable, and in no need of professional therapy myself… no indeed…. LOLOLOLOL
VERDICT: Ted is no therapist, and you couldn’t pay me to be his.