Dater X: The Men Of 2014 And What They’ve Taught Me

When I tried to recall all the men who’ve come and gone in my love life over the last year, I wasn’t surprised to find myself staring at a list of names and anxiously tapping my pen, knowing there were a couple I’d forgotten. 2014 was most certainly The Year Of The Dudes. With almost one man for every month of the year, despite the fact that some relationships (and I use that term loosely) lasted longer than others, there was no shortage of testosterone in my dating life — or bed — in 2014. It’s not always easy to look back and reflect on failure, but I’m choosing to see those “failures” as learning opportunities, and one-by-one, share with you what I’ve taken away from each man.

Officer Handsoming (The Cop Who Wouldn’t Commit—Or Go Down On Me): My relationship with Officer Handsoming was comfortable, but not the most thrilling. He was sweet, courteous, attractive and caring, but our entire relationship was built on waiting; waiting for feelings to come that weren’t there, waiting for a spark, waiting for him to tell me I was worth fighting for, and yes, even waiting for him to go down on me. (What? It’s important!) I stuck it out in this relationship for a while because I thought there was promise there, without realizing that my time spent waiting could have actually been time spent with someone I was enthusiastic about, and who was enthusiastic about me. When this relationship ended, I wasn’t terribly upset, which told me something in itself. In hindsight, the chemistry between us was lackluster at best. Just because you care for someone, doesn’t mean it’s right. I will move on in 2015 knowing that love isn’t a waiting game, and settling for “nice” doesn’t get you to the finish line any faster.

GQ (The Too-Good-To-Be True Guy Who Ghosted): This guy was a Grade-A dickwad. I can finally look back and laugh about how this asshole led me on before ghosting and never returning my favorite pair of yoga pants. From the get-go, I was shocked at how “perfect” GQ seemed. He had a great job, was handsome as fuck and seemed to be very into me (if you remember, he took himself off of OKCupid after just a couple of dates and told me he was “eager to take me off the market,” too). This one can be summed up pretty easily: people are not always as they appear. Underneath that perfect hair, Banana Republic blazer, professional athlete’s body and chiseled jawline are a whole lot of layers of shitty. I do think it’s important to find someone who I find physically attractive, but from now on, I will keep in mind the fact that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Guard is officially up.

Andrew (My Surprisingly Pleasant OKCupid Run-In): Andrew was the best breakup I ever had. To this day, every once in a while, he’ll shoot me a text message saying a friendly hello and seeing how I am, and he even wished me a Happy Birthday on my birthday. When I first met him, I was shocked at how amazing our chemistry was, despite the fact that I had to overcome some qualms about his height. Everything about our relationship was unexpected, from the way we met, to the civil, totally mature decision to go our separate ways that made me realize not all relationships end terribly and with resentment. Andrew taught me that sometimes it’s worth taking a chance on someone, even if you’re not sold from the get-go. Sometimes “dealbreakers” are meant to be broken.

Don (My Resurfaced College Love): I never stop learning from Don. This year, our relationship came to a halt when he put our friendship on hold to “get over me,” despite the fact that we’d been broken up for years. When he resurfaced, our respect and appreciation for each other reached a new level, proving how love can evolve into friendship so beautifully over the years. Instead of backpedaling and longing for what we once had, we learned how to change the course of our relationship and move forward from where we are now. In a nutshell, he is a constant reminder that love lost doesn’t mean it’s gone entirely.

Ken (The Creepy Stage-Five Clinger): My experience with this guy can be summed up in four words: go with your gut. If he looks like a stage-five clinger and sounds like a stage-five clinger, he most likely IS a stage-five clinger. Do not give him the benefit of the doubt. Just run.

Jack (My First Younger Man): In case you don’t remember Jack, he was the just-out-of-college babychild who, at the end of our “date,” insinuated I was a slut for asking him out. I was already skeptical to date someone younger since I feel like I’m fairly mature and accomplished for my age, but Jack put the nail in the coffin. I’m not saying I will never date a man who’s younger than me, but I will certainly err on the side of caution when it comes to dating anyone who isn’t old enough to know the Power Rangers theme song.

Scar Twin (The Guy I Really Liked): Of all of my relationships that went sour this year, Scar Twin was probably the most disappointing. We’d only dated for two months, but it’s never easy to be rejected by someone you really, really like. He told me, “On paper, you’re perfect for me, but I’m not feeling the sparks anymore.” I was hurt, mainly because he told me it was simply a chemistry issue — I didn’t “do” anything in particular to incite the breakup, which would have been easier to swallow. But looking back, I’ve come to accept the fact that sometimes “it” is just not there. I’m always critical of myself and of my actions, always wondering if I’ve done something wrong, but the whole concept of “he’s just not that into you” is common. And it’s okay. Sometimes you simply won’t come out on top. Understanding this has encouraged me to not be so hard on myself, because, whether I like it or not, some things are out of my control. The best way to recover is to just pick up the pieces and move on.

Do Me Eyes (The Could-Have-Been Fuck Buddy): Ultimately, I chose not to sleep with my could-be fuck buddy, Do Me Eyes. I was concerned that I would get attached to him and want a relationship that wouldn’t be reciprocated. After toying with the idea of giving it a good old college try, I decided to follow my heart instead of my libido. I didn’t learn a whole lot from this, aside from the fact that if I ever need a good screw, there’s an NYPD officer ready to lay the pipe.

Baby Face (The One Who Couldn’t Make It Work): Timing is really important, and this was especially true with Baby Face. It was hard to let go of him, because we both still care for each other very much, but he truly made me realize how imperative timing is in making a relationship work. Even if both parties are personally invested in a relationship, if short-term and long-term goals and willingness are misaligned, things will always be off-kilter. Baby Face has helped me to understand just how crucial it is to find someone who is willing to give, sacrifice and offer as much as I do.

Tim (The Old Flame Who Wants Me Back): Remember my ex who I ran into at our friends’ wedding and turned down because I was seeing where things went with Baby Face? Well, I’m no longer seeing Baby Face, and I will say this: That whole timing thing? It might be right … for now at least. Story developing.