I Don’t Want to Date You, Either

What are you hoping for?

I’m on my way back from the West Virginia mountains, sitting in the back of a mini-van with about 6 hours of road ahead when I read an article a girl I recently decided not to date wrote. It’s always weird to read something about yourself, outside of yourself. Personal details aside, I’ve gone on a lot of first dates, rarely is there a second. I’ve found that people gravitate towards other people they view as “put together” because they crave a stability to their own instability. To most 20-something year old girls, I’m that guy. I’ve got a puppy, my own apartment, I travel, I’m an insta-famous photographer, a nuclear scientist… On paper: I’ve got it made. But what happens on these dates? Well, 9 times out of 10 I discover that most of them aren’t all that interested in me, they are interested in what they can do to become me. They’d never say it out loud, but after awhile, I’ve seen a trend. I’ve walked away from every single date realizing that 1) I know alot about the other person and 2) they never bothered to try to get to know me at all. Why? Because they don’t ask questions to get to know me, they ask questions to try to fix themselves. Sure, they ask about how I became a photographer, they ask about how I got thousands of Instagram followers, about how I get to travel so much…but no question is for me. Every question posed is to try to get an answer that they compile into a list to create a “how to guide” to become “put together” as they see it. They don’t want a date, they want an interview. I crave a question like, “What do you enjoy doing?” or “Why do you do what you do?” I crave a question that is genuine, not analytical.

So let’s be honest…did you go on a date with me to get to know me or did you go on a date to figure out how to fix yourself? Did you go on a date with me to find love or did you go on a date hoping I would fix you? Did you go on a date with me because you liked my photography or was it because you hoped for a spotlight?

I value honesty above everything. It’s the reason I am so blunt with everyone and why most girls (and people in general) hate my guts. I’m tough on pretty much everyone, because pretty much everyone is hiding something or values other’s opinions of themselves over their own values. Most people don’t want straight answers, they want answers they want to hear…and because of the culture we live in, 99% of the time, they get those answers from people claiming to be their friends. So no, I don’t want to date you. It’s not a “timing issue” and it’s not because “I still have feelings for my ex” or any other lame-ass excuse guys create to get out of relationships or dates. No, I just don’t want to date you. You aren’t someone I want to spend my time with. That doesn’t mean you are a bad person or worthless…I just don’t want to date you. I have reasons, but those aren’t for me to voice.  Is it really helpful to list your faults as reasons to leave? I don’t think so. We are hurting people and we know our own faults, we don’t need a second opinion to voice our internal demons. So instead I just say, “I don’t want to date you,” and although it sucks to hear and its confusing for a short time, it’s also easily forgotten. Personally, I’ve never forgotten the moments in my life when someone has ripped my heart to shreds by recounting my many faults for no other reason than to justify their own opinions. I won’t do that. You know your faults, you don’t need me to tell you those. So no, I don’t want to date you, but I wish you nothing but the best and nothing but all the hope and joy this world can offer. Only you can fix you. Only you can mend the hurt you carry. He’s out there, or maybe he’s not… but he’s just not me. Best of luck.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Matt Van SwolExplorer

Matt Van Swol is a self-taught landscape photographer, writer, and nuclear scientist for the US Department of Energy. After personally struggling with depression for many years, he is passionate about showing others t...