Buckle in, this is long, but I have some vetting tips learned along the way. Over a month ago, I turned FB dating off to focus on training for the Camino, knowing I'd be working out nearly every day, and also to finish up some projects before I left. I didn't want the distraction of men; I wanted to focus on myself, my projects and as always, family and friends.
And yet... suddenly I got a notice from FB dating. Wait, what? I thought I turned that off! Turns out some man had matched with me... from a like I had sent out at least several weeks before, if not a month or more. So right from the start, that was very sketch, very sus.
Mistake number one: correcting him when he greeted me with "hello beautiful". Familiarities are my blood in the water test; I honestly cannot stand that from any stranger. Presumptuous as hell. Right then and there I should have just unmatched and deleted the convo, but I was curious which is my downfall every time. Already I wasn't feeling it just from him not using my name.
Mistake number two: he introduced himself as "widowed dad with kid". Again, I was more curious than anything, and laid out clearly that I wasn't going to marry a third time, would never cohabitate with anyone again, had no kids by choice and didn't want anyone else's, but wanted a living apart together situation for life: monogamous, devoted, long-term, fun companionship. He neither agreed nor disagreed. Vetting strategy: men (people in general) use this as a tactic for when they don't want what you're offering, and think they can get you to change later. Saying something non-committal then changing the subject means that fuckery is afoot.
He also identified early on as a Christian, which is to me a light red flag, but a red flag nonetheless. Down here in the American Deep South, that quite often means a man who is deeply patriarchal, conservative, traditional, rigid, and can be un- or under-educated. However, I liked what he said overall about his ethics, and I could tell he had thought that through, so although that didn't get fleshed out, I was okay with him saying he was a Christian since he didn't sound dogmatic or too terribly traditional. Had we talked more, this would have need to have been vetted more, and I guarantee you this is one of the first things that makes me walk away: any sign of using religion as a means of controlling others.
Then he mentioned his job, which was a contractor working in and out of the USA. Red flag here, too: who cares for his kid when he's out of his own state, much less out of the country? I'm always leery of this, and always suspect men like this of looking for, as usual, an intelligent pack mule who wouldn't mind having a step-kid, so he can cheap out and stop paying for childcare. That would have needed to have been talked out more had we progressed. If any man unmatches after I tell him I'm absolutely unwilling to be free childcare, then the trash has taken itself out, bullet dodged, hallelujah let's celebrate.
I told him plainly that I wanted to date someone who lived close, within an hour outside of where I lived at most, and told him about wanting companionship, no marriage, no cohabitation, and asked if that was okay. He said hmm, so again, red flag. That not agreeing or disagreeing is a polite way of side-stepping and avoiding the whole issue. Geography matters. Wanting to have a specific type of relationship matters, and to my way of thinking, you absolutely need to agree on that as a good start to create a solid foundation. He said, "Love is what matters. Love conquers all," so yuckkkkkkk. Not acceptable. Saying something boilerplate that's also abstract and idealistic? Big no thanks.
We talked for just a few more lines, then he got busy for a few days, and it occurred to me that I didn't think about him or miss him. I was running through the things I need to do to get ready to go overseas for a few months, and I realized I needed to tell him how long I would be away, and ask how he wanted to handle it. I wasn't impressed. I said, you can add me on FB and we can chat on Messenger (which looking back, not good, too much info on me as a real person, so not going to offer that again going forward). He then asked for Whatsapp or Google Chat and again, inconvenient to me. I would have considered Google Voice, which lets you text for free, but again, another app to download and check while I'm doing serious miles and serious internal work? Nope. Just nope.
I said, "I'm making an executive decision here to say thanks for the chat but we need to call it off. You have a kid anyway and you don't live local so I don't think we are a match. You are attractive and I appreciate your being polite and kind. But I'm going totally off the grid for months, so thanks, and bye." Not totally; I'll have my phone with me, and I'm available for family and close friends; everywhere along the Camino has wifi. I told him, "I want to walk, eat, sleep, and think deeply about life for a few months without outside distractions."
FDS queens, I think I did the right thing, but my feelings haven't yet caught up to my intellect. I'd appreciate some reassurance. He was very handsome, but overall, too many meh and downright yuck signals that could not be ignored. Thanks.
P. S. Another guy matched with me during the time M and I were getting to know each other. Again, though, super sus because I had sent a like over a month ago. I'm thinking breadcrumber whose previous dating choices didn't work out, so I was at least #2 if not lower, so no thanks. I generally give men 2-3 days to send the first hi, and if they don't, then I don't allow them to stay in the scrotation. There's clearly only mild attraction there, or they're too busy, so best to delete, ie toss them back into the pond. Sure enough, three days go by (at least, I lost count), he said nothing, so I was not about to chase. Delete and move on.
I can level up by not being led so much by curiosity, listening to my first gut instinct more simply by slowing down a little and listening to myself first, rather than responding immediately. Glad I figured that out. Stopping, listening to that internal gut check, taking stock of intial feelings and first impressions, THEN deciding what to do makes a big difference.