I always thought I’d be married by 30.
But I’m 30 now, and single. My parents like to remind me that they got married when they were 25. My younger sister was recently married. Not only was I a bridesmaid instead of a bride, I didn’t even have a date for the wedding!
My last relationship lasted 5 years. I thought I’d marry my ex, but then I saw some text messages and learned he’d been cheating. I tried to forgive him and make it work. We got engaged, but more sexy text messages showed up, and I knew I couldn’t trust him.
Casual dating isn’t for me. I feel betrayed if a guy I’m dating is also seeing someone else. Some people might think it’s boring, but the security of a committed relationship is all I want. The little inside jokes, nights cuddling in front of the TV, and always knowing you’ll have a wedding date? Now that’s bliss.
In my dating app profile, I tried to convey what I want without scaring men off. I wrote that I like to have fun and would love to have a family some day. I added, “If you’re looking for a hookup, I’m not for you.” Most of my photos showed me surrounded by family members at family events, like Christmas, 4th of July, and my sister’s wedding.
First, I matched with a guy whose bio said he wants to connect emotionally with someone and is open to wherever it might lead. But then, in his second message to me, he asked if I’d come over to his apartment wearing a trench coat with nothing under it.
I almost deleted the app right then, but my friends told me to keep searching for “the one.” After a few more matches with guys who clearly wanted sex more than love, I matched with Jack.
Jack’s profile seemed perfect. His bio said he’s “a mama’s boy,” and he couldn’t love any woman who didn’t love his family. Like mine, most of his photos were at family events, including one of him in a tux as the best man at his (younger!) brother’s wedding.
Jack never messaged about anything sexual. Instead, he talked about how he really looks up to his father and wants to marry a woman like his mother. My parents are great too, so it seemed like we were on the same page. I felt as excited as a teenager when he finally asked me out for dinner.
We met at a romantic Italian restaurant. They kept the lights low, and a candle in the center of each table. Frank Sinatra played. The waiters wore tuxedos. I mean, it was like an old movie.
When I started to order a glass of wine, Jack told our waiter we wouldn’t be drinking. At the time, I thought that he was showing me he wanted to really know me, not muddle conversation with a few drinks. I’m not a big drinker, and don’t really know anything about wine anyway, so I didn’t think much of it.
Jack told stories of his childhood and asked about mine. His family spent each summer in a cabin on a lake. When he asked if I’d be interested in keeping up that tradition, my heart melted. I knew it was early for us to talk like that, but I felt smitten.
At one point, I noticed a woman in her 50s or 60s sitting alone looking at us from across the room. Both Jack and I were beaming, so I figured she noticed and was enjoying what was clearly a young couple falling in love.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
Jack abruptly interrupted our conversation to say he had to go to the bathroom. I thought I saw him look at the woman, who’d stood and was walking toward the bathrooms herself. They came back at the same time as well.
My heart sank. Who was she? What were they up to? When you’ve been cheated on, it’s easy to see things that aren’t there. I decided to forget it (or try to) and enjoy our night.
Jack kept being sweet, soI let my hand brush his. He quickly pulled his hands to his lap. After glancing at the woman across the room, he said, “It’s too early for that.”
I felt rejected, and tried to focus on eating. But when I saw Jack and the woman stand and walk toward the bathrooms at the same time again, I found myself feeling paranoid once again. I decided to investigate.
When I turned the corner to the bathroom area, I saw Jack and the woman standing next to each other, whispering. “What’s going on?” I demanded.
“Unbecoming tone,” the woman said, raising her eyebrow and looking at Jack.
I looked at Jack and repeated, “What’s going on?”
“I was hoping this wouldn’t happen again,” he said. “Sorry. You’re not a good fit for our family.”
Their family? All sorts of weird thoughts raced through my head, but they weren’t weirder than what was actually happening.
The woman put her arm around Jack. “You heard my son,” she said. “You aren’t good enough for him.” The woman stared at me smugly.
“You brought your mom on our date?!” I asked, but Jack just looked at the floor. I walked out. Jack’s mom could pay our bill. That’s the last time I used an app to find love.
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