Happier Solo

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I twelve long hours yesterday with a man I have been quasi dating.
We’ve watched each go through divorces, have many mutual friends,
and are in a broad social circle of people our age, class, immigrants
from NYC, etc. We started going out for a movie/dinner/drinks without
being explicit that it was dating. I told my gal pals we were “sniffing
each other out.” This weekend was a big annual festival: art, music,
food, fun shopping. I had a terrible time. He walks very slowly, didn’t
want to see the same entertainment, complained a lot about what
things cost, and was generally an anchor around my neck. He also
didn’t pay me back for the ticket, but I would have gladly paid the
$15 not to have him with me. I thought we both knew it wasn’t
working out. Now he’s asked me to go to a similar event a few hours
away. I don’t want to keep dating let alone spend that much time
Happier Solo

Dear Happier Solo:
What a bargain! You learned a lot. And $15 is pretty cheap for how
much time you saved figuring out he’s not the guy for you. Because
you travel in the same local circles you’ll need to back away slowly, in
a way that won’t make it uncomfortable when you’re in future social
situations. You might consider this was one bad day. But you make a
convincing case that he’s no one I’d want to spend that much time
with, let alone be locked in a car for a day together.

For future reference, it’s important to recognize people travel at
different speeds and have different tastes and preferences. It’s also
good to learn tolerance, especially if you invited him without setting
good ground rules or expectations. Those are, of course, frequently
misinterpreted or jettisoned, but always worth putting out before a full
day together, even with friends.  Politely decline the invitation and say
you already have plans. If it’s an event you want to go to on your own
you can say you’d planned to go with a different friend. Next time he
asks you to do something else, just blush politely and say: Actually, I
have a date. A few of those and he should get the message you’re                                  dating someone who’s not him. I doubt he’ll probe further. All in all,
you got off cheap.