When I match with someone on Tinder, my intentions are very clear.
To me, dating apps are not friend-seeking outlets, and they never should be. Swiping is like a second job, and if I've allotted precious time out of my day to chat you up, you best believe it's because I'm in hot pursuit of something — whether that be love, sex or something in between.
I enjoy the concept of a traditional date. While I'm not opposed to a run-of-the-mill hookup situation, more often than not, I'd prefer to grab food, throw back a few margaritas and enjoy some quality conversation with a funny (but not funny-looking) guy.
Whether you're Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now is questionable, but if you show interest, I'm typically willing to invest time to find out.
But what I don't want to end up with is another friend in my life.
My friends are great — they are my second family and a major support system, and I simply couldn't imagine life right now without them. But I'm not looking to expand my close-knit circle.
If I end up clicking with my newest suitor but things slowly begin to fizzle out, that's that. It's done. We came, we saw and now it's on to the next one.
There should be no expectations for a transition from bone zone to friend zone — it's just way too weird of a situation to handle.
But I've broken my own rules before. One of the best people in my life right now is someone I used to envision as a boyfriend, and when things drifted from relationship to friendship, I didn't cut the cord. I figured it was better to have him as a confidant than to split ties altogether.
While I'm happy we've continued to grow close, the transition from lover to friend was one of the hardest things I've ever had to handle in my life.
There should be no expectations for a transition from bone zone to friend zone — it's just way too weird.
And I don't want to do it again.
That's why, when someone I'd been hooking up with for the past two months after meeting him on Tinder decided to end things — and then thought a switch to being friends would be totally fine — I was a little less than pleased.
Things with him had felt so right since our first date at a dive bar in the middle of our respective New York offices. He reminded me of someone, or something, that I've still never been able to put a finger on.
Whatever it was, it was charming and attractive. I felt comforted around him.
That is, until one day, when we met up at a local beer festival not far from my apartment.
I was genuinely excited, since it was the first time we'd actually scheduled something outside of our pre-set Wednesday night meet-ups (which, more often than not, had involved food, drinks, sex and sleep).
This date felt like a nice change of pace. But almost immediately, I could tell things were off.
The conversation department wasn't necessarily lacking, and though I was getting weird vibes, I still enjoyed his company. I actually more than enjoyed it.
But then I asked to take a photo with him. And that's when my brain began to twitch a little.
Now, I post Snapchat selfies all the time (specifically, embarrassingly horrible photos of myself), but I was eager to get one of just us two.
Despite the snap existing for no more than the allotted 10 seconds, maybe he envisioned a photograph would make us more “official” in some way, even though that dreaded "define the relationship" discussion was one we hadn't even gotten to yet (and as I would soon find out, never would).
I'm not sure if he was actually being serious, but his response was something along the lines of him "not wanting to get in the frame until I drink more" — and that's when the freaking out began.
I didn't get it. I wasn't looking to get it framed above a fireplace. It was just a stupid picture.
And yet, our lips barely touched for the rest of the day.
Though we never really divulged in the whole PDA thing before (since I'm personally not a huge fan), every time I went in for even a peck, I kept feeling like I needed to apologize afterwards.
Even when we left the beer festival and strolled our way to Long Island City's waterfront (an undeniably romantic view of the city's bridges), any signs of affection on his part were bleak and extremely underwhelming.
Weeks went by after that. One-sided texting was followed with no real urgency to make plans again. We were both busy people, but before that, we at least made an effort to hang out.
Now, that didn't seem to be the case.
Finally, after some incessant badgering on my part (because I have no shame, and frankly, was just so goddamn confused), he confessed that he had a lot on his plate, was looking to balance out time with old friends and just didn't feel like a relationship was the best idea right now — be it with me or anyone else.
I took the message in stride, and while I accepted his honesty for what it was, I still thought we'd chill, fuck around and not let much else really change.
We were just hookups afterall, and that was that.
A week later, he was at my door on Wednesday night as if we'd never had that previous text exchange. He walked me to my dance rehearsal, as per usual, kissed me goodbye, killed an hour alone and then picked me up (kind of like a boyfriend, or at the very least, someone who's interested in you, would do).
I was looking forward to picking up where we left off.
As we laid in my bed, a very bad episode of "Scream Queens" playing in the background, his lack of interest began to become really apparent.
There was a painful amount of space between us and my laptop, and he was clearly disinterested in any type of affection I tried to show during commercial breaks.
As the episode concluded and we decided to throw something else on, I wasted no time and straddled him, hoping it would stir up something in his brain (and his pants).
I got nothing.
He claimed exhaustion from a long work day and closed his eyes, barely budging as I grinded up against him.
I climbed off, discouraged and defeated, and barely made it through one scene of "RuPaul's Drag Race" before trying to make sense of what the fuck had just happened.
“So... we're not going to hook up anymore, are we?” I blurted out. His response was less than enthusiastic.
Essentially, he reiterated the text message from before, this time emphasizing the fact that his interests no longer existed. He wanted to “do him,” and needed time to be himself following a recent breakup.
He said all this while making sure to let me know he wasn't talking to anyone else (not that this "reassurance" really made a difference to my feelings).
He was essentially breaking up with me, even though we were never officially dating. I then asked what would happen if we hung out again (similar to what we were doing at that very moment).
“We'll do just that: Hang out,” he responded confidently.
THIS is what made my blood boil. What signs hinted that I wanted to be his friend? Ever?
When did I ever imply that that would be OK?
I had invested some serious time with him over the past few months, developed feelings, gushed over him to friends and even considered taking the step to making him my boyfriend. And then, without warning, he jumped ship.
Why did he think a seamless transition to friends is possible?
I've already gone from liking someone so, so much, that when they decide to cut things off, you agree to whatever they want. You hope that, soon enough, they'll rethink their decision, change their mind and come back to you.
Then they do, and it just goes back and forth, back and forth, until it's an endless cycle that just fucks with your head. And your heart.
I will never begin to comprehend how things can end up being so one-sided in someone's mind. Just because you are completely OK with pulling the plug does not mean that's the case for both parties involved. This isn't the time to be selfish.
Just because you are completely OK with pulling the plug does not mean that's the case for both parties.
It's easy to get worked up about the minor things, like having to revamp that dating profile for another go-around or not being able to enjoy the comfort and casualness of sex on a steady basis with someone, but that's not the case here.
As someone who is closed off and undoubtedly not as super confident as I've led some to believe, the minute I'm comfortable enough to open up, that's it — I'm gearing myself up for the long haul, and I'm willing to invest the time and energy. That is, if you are, too.
But don't give in for my benefit only to shut me down in the coming weeks (or months) and think being pals is an easy alternative.
Let me tell you a little secret: it's not.
I'd rather you be open and honest with me and allow for us to see eye-to-eye on good terms, than you surprise me with an outlandish request to turn regular fuck sessions into “friendly” hangouts in the blink of an eye.
For any future hookups out there, take note: If you want to be my lover, you never get to be my friend.