Q. Hi Meredith,
I need help with online dating. I have been on paid and unpaid sites and apps. I have an open mind and I am willing to meet up with men in person, but lately my positive spirit is being crushed. From seeing my married friends on Bumble (not even Tinder!), to endless texts from emotionally unavailable men, it is becoming such a downer. My friends in relationships always like to give me the “well, if I was single” chat all the time, but none of them was single when meeting people online was a thing.
I have implemented some self-imposed rules, and my friends feel I am being ridiculous. If I exchange numbers with someone and they will not commit to plans, I give them two weeks and that is it. I am not ghosting men by any means. I send a polite text saying that it’s great to keep in touch by text, but I am not looking for a pen pal. I do leave the door open and tell them that when they have time they know how to reach me, but usually I never hear from them again.
I know this may seem closed-minded, but is there ever really a good time to cut your losses and move on? I think I’m placing an expectation out there, while my friends think I am unreasonable. Thoughts?
— Two Weeks
A.I like your rule. You can tell your friends I said so.
Sometimes it’s impossible for a person to make plans within two weeks (especially during the holidays), but for many, it’s kind of easy. It only takes an hour or so to have a nice coffee. If a person doesn’t seem motivated to meet in person, you shouldn’t waste time trying to get them there.
Your coupled friends might not understand that for many people, dating apps are entertainment. Some swipe for hours because it’s something to do, not because they’re looking for a real date. I hear this complaint a lot from people in college and in their 20s. They tell me that the percentage of matches that become first dates is very, very low. Many app users just want to see who likes them back.
But you already know this, and you’ve come up with a way to ensure you don’t get stuck in a never-ending chain of messages. As long as you’re giving the person the chance to talk a little — to get to know you — I don’t see anything wrong with asking for what you want.
If your friends have any questions, send them my way.
Your two-week rule is fine. I’m a dude, and after I get a phone number, I coordinate on her availability to chat over the next week. If there are no red flags during the phone call, I ask to meet for coffee or a drink. GDCATCH
Met my wife almost 13 years ago on Match. I wrote her on a Sunday morning, we talked on the phone on Monday, and we had our first date on Wednesday. SOUTHIE777
I think it’s a good benchmark to have, but it’s all in how you use it. Like, would you cancel if the guy wanted to go for dinner on day 17? MCDIMMERSON
I had one woman who wrote in her profile, “Don’t waste my time. If we set a date don’t cancel at the last minute.” She canceled on me at the last minute. Next. JDROTTEN
Rules are for other people. LUCILLEVANPELTLove Letters celebrates its 10th anniversary on Tuesday. The column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send your letter to email@example.com.