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I Am Not a Placeholder

Hasan decided we were “dating” after two dates. I felt like kind of a hot shot when Hasan messaged me - he was 26, and was interested in a woman ten years his senior. Man, I’ve still got it. I wondered if he was going to be adult enough for me - he hadn’t been out of college very long - how was he handling life post-college? Turns out he was living with his parents (it was just a transition - you know, until he moved into an apartment with three of his other friends), he had a job (but he really wanted to work for himself, because, like, then he can work whatever hours he wants to), and he loves to play video games in his free time. Hmm...not as mature as I originally thought. Hasan asked me for coffee, and I agreed - we met on Saturday afternoon, and I could tell he was nervous. He doesn’t seem like he dates much. We got our coffee (I had to pay for my own coffee, boo) and chatted as we walked along the beach. He talked a lot about himself - I asked him my typical interview questions. I was fascinated by his responses, but as time went on I realized he talked only about himself, and didn’t ask anything about me. He didn’t seem interested in getting to know me as a person - just in having someone hear him speak. We decided after coffee to extend the date, so he took me to dinner. The place was pretty romantic, and even at dinner he continued on and on as I asked him questions. I began to test my theory - I would ask him a question, he would answer it, and then when he stopped talking, I would wait to see if he asked me anything. Inevitably, there would be a long, awkward silence until I once again asked him a question -no reciprocation of questioning. He said he was looking for a girlfriend, and that he wanted to get married - eventually - in like 5-10 years. Hmph. That’s not exactly where my timeline is at. But, he was very nice and very respectful, so I thought I would give it a second date - perhaps it was first date nervousness that caused him to not ask me any questions.

He asked me out at the end of our first date for a second date - the very next evening. I said, yes, and that since I did all the interviewing today, he better prepare his interview questions for me tomorrow night. He laughed, agreed, and then kissed me. It was a desperate kiss - I could feel it in his body language, in his lips. He was nervous and wanted me so badly, but was timidly also holding back. I felt guarded in the kiss - I wasn’t ready to give him my all, nor did I feel the desperation and longing that he felt. Eventually I pulled away, and said I would see him tomorrow night, and I’d be ready for an interview. He smiled and said he was excited. The next day, he texted to ask my opinion regarding dinner. I appreciated that he wanted to take my input into consideration. He finally sent me the address of a Mexican food spot in Long Beach. It didn’t look very romantic on Yelp, and as I walked in I realized my hunch was correct. Sticky plastic table cloths covered the tables, and a child screaming behind me. “So, did you prepare the interview questions?” I smiled, looking forward to sharing about myself and feeling hopeful that he wanted to get to know me. “Oh! I thought you were joking! No, I didn’t,” he replied. Yuck, so he just wants to talk about himself again, eh? Great. As we ate dinner, he talked about himself. I stayed mostly silent. We took a walk after dinner. “So, what’s it like to date a 26 year old?” he asked me. I replied that it was fine, except that he seemed to be on a different time line than me - I wanted to be married within the next few years. I didn’t want to wait ten years for someone to decide they love me. I’m not necessarily trying to expedite the process, but I don’t want to spend years waiting around. I came to the realization on this date that it didn’t matter to Hasan who he was dating - he just wanted to date someone. I was a placeholder - if it wasn’t me, it would have been some other woman. He didn’t want to date me, necessarily, he just wanted to date. I thought it was clear from the conversation we had about where we each were on our life path that this whole thing was over, but he when we got back to our cars he went in for the kiss again. I pushed him away and told him I needed to go home. He asked if we would go out again. I said I would have to think about it. He really was so kind, and it had been a while since I had been with someone that respectful and sweet. Maybe another date would be okay

? It’d been so long since I’d been on a good date. He texted me when he got home to tell me what a nice time he’d had. He then asked me to let him know when I had made up my mind about a third date. I told him I would. I thought about it for the rest of the evening, and the whole next day. In the end, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to just be with a nice guy, just because he’s nice. I thanked him for our time together, but stated that we were on different paths in our lives. His response? ”Ok cool.” I never heard from him again.

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