I was talking to this guy on a dating app but then he started to creep me out so I blocked him and thought that was the end of our interaction forever. I was wrong—we ended up meeting in person and it was super weird… in a good way.
I thought blocking was a guarantee that I’d never have to deal with him again. I love the blocking feature that’s available on social media and dating apps. I’ve always seen it as a way to terminate an interaction with someone forever, but I learned it’s a false comfort zone after this experience. That door you shut? It can swing open again, sometimes when you least expect it.
I unexpectedly ran into him in real life—go figure. It would’ve been bad enough if I’d recognized him from afar. I would’ve spotted him and run in the other direction to get away as fast as my legs could carry me. Unfortunately, he looked a bit different from his online dating profile picture so I didn’t recognize him right away and couldn’t make a hasty exit.
He told we’d met before even though I had no idea who he was. Halfway into our interaction, which was going well, he told me that he knew me from the past. My brain immediately pulled up possible reasons for this because I couldn’t place him at all. Were we in the same class at college? Were we Facebook acquaintances?
He broke it to me. He then told me who he was and how we’d chatted on a dating app recently. He even mentioned that I blocked him, which was pretty awkward, but by that point, I’d realized who he was. I wanted to run for the exit but I was cornered at the party where we’d met. The way he mentioned my blocking him sounded so harsh.
I had to think fast for an explanation. What was I supposed to say to this guy? “Sorry, but you creeped me out because you were asking me tons of questions and then hounding me on the site, so I blocked you and bolted?” That wasn’t going to happen. Not only that, but he seemed pretty normal in person so that reasoning now sounded really stupid.
It was so much easier from behind a screen. Damnit. I was encountering one of the worst truths about dating apps: it was so much easier to feel confident and make bold moves from behind the comfort and safety of a phone screen. When I was actually face to face with this guy, I didn’t know how to tell him what I’d felt.
I settled for saying that I didn’t see a future for us. I focused on one part of the truth: I didn’t see relationship potential for us so I blocked him. It still wasn’t right and it made him shake his head at me. He asked, “Why didn’t you just tell me you didn’t want to talk anymore?” I felt like a total bitch.
Good point, to be fair. Here’s why, dude: because it’s hard and uncomfortable, OK? I’d taken the easy way out. It felt like such a relief at the time, to be honest, but at that moment, I felt pathetic for my behavior.
We were getting a second chance. It was weird. Yes, the guy had come across creepy and clingy online, but in real life, it was a different story. He seemed really cool and sweet, plus he was handsome. I started to hate that I’d been so picky with him on the dating app. Who knew what other romantic options I’d totally obliterated by using the blocking feature?
He asked me out. He wasn’t one to hold grudges and he could obviously see I was genuinely sorry for having blocked him so he asked me out on a real date. I said yes because it felt right. If only dating was always this easy!
I would’ve feared him being clingy again, but… He explained that he’d been going through a tough time when we’d met on the dating app. He’d been cheated on by a long-term girlfriend who’d made him become suspicious of every woman he met. I felt sorry for him and could totally relate. It was good to understand him better now. Pity this truth didn’t come out when we were getting to know each other online, but it was just so much easier to do this in person.
We ended up dating exclusively. After a fantastic first date, we were crazy about each other. The strange way we’d met and my rejection of him became a story we laughed about together and even shared with our friends, who lapped it up. How strange is life? It just goes to show that you never know who’s really on the other side of that dating app profile…
Our relationship didn’t last but it changed me. We split up after a few months of dating because he moved overseas. (You thought I was going to say he became clingy, didn’t you?) Even though we hadn’t been meant to last, the whole experience taught me to be a bit more open when meeting people, especially when I meet them online. After that experience, I felt much more positive about the possibilities that are out there, instead of allowing myself to get jaded and judge people too fast.
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