Q: I went out with this guy on a few dates and things went pretty well. I was really happy to have met him. Recently, a common friend told me that this guy is married and has kids. He hid the fact from me and was having fun at my expense. I am shattered. How do I deal with this?
Ans: Disappointment is normal and unavoidable in the world of dating. We have many unspoken expectations and we feel betrayed when they are not met. We want to meet the perfect partner by magic. We want everything to be free flowing, just like in the movies. We meet, we are attracted and we have a good time. We want to feel a special connection that does not require thinking and questions. It has to be spontaneous. But these are all expectations, a high-risk playground.
Did you ask if he was married? And why would you ask if someone is on date? Because you are assuming that married people cannot date, should not date. Reality is, married people date, sometimes by telling their partners, sometimes cheating on them. Your responsibility is to ask and his responsibility is to tell. You both just went with the flow instead of having the unromantic conversation.
You feel used but even he could be disappointed with you for not asking. Did you expect to have a relationship with him? Those were your expectations not his. Did you ask him what he was looking for or tell him what you wanted from the experience? If not, you willingly entered the disappointment playground. You can still be happy you had a good time.
Good times are to be cherished. You can also be a little disappointed with him for not revealing it to you. People decide to conceal that they are married for a number of reasons, mostly not to harm others. He probably wanted to have fun with you, not at your expense. Take responsibility for the questions you concealed first.
Secondly, for the fact that you followed a naïve romantic dating narrative that does not often work in real life. Often feeling accountable for your dating decisions is more empowering than feeling like a victim.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)