The ‘Previous Relationship’ Interrogation

17 Jul

Last week I had  the most interesting first date I’ve had in bloody ages. Interesting enough for me to stay out past midnight on a weeknight. Interesting enough to feature a few kisses (and THAT’s something that hasn’t happened since last summer with Older Guy) and interesting enough for me to be going out with him again.

Who Is He?
I spotted East End Boy on Plenty of Fish (not that I’m keeping score, but that’s eHarmony 0 – 2 Plenty of Fish) and after a couple of messages were exchanged he asked how I’d feel about having a “proper chat, because it’d make for better conversation”. I was a little surprised. He was asking to speak to me on the phone, and not asking for my email, BBM or MSN deets? What kinda madness was this? Of course I actually loved the old school-ness of it all and once I got over my initial shock, I gave him my number.

Interesting late night phone conversation, FTW!

Turns out that not only did I find his voice attractive, but he was actually nice and easy to talk to. Nice and easy enough for us to be on the phone for three (yes, THREE) hours.

The Positives
– The fact that we stayed on the phone for so long was pretty damn impressive. Conversation definitely flowed easily.

– We had a crazy amount of things in common – he too has family in Barbados (although he’s half Indian/half Iranian), he too has taken many trips to New York and Toronto and to top it off, he too has a love of 90’s hip hop and R&B.

The Negatives
– The only negative thing pre-date was during the phone call I noticed he was a name-dropper.  Why during our first ever convo was I told that he knew certain music artists, DJ, club promoters etc? How is that important? He obviously thought it would impress me, but it really didn’t. I work in PR for chrissakes! Do I go around bragging about everybody I’ve worked or partied with? No, because it is LAME.

The Date
Other than the fact I felt taller than him in heels when we first met (I’ve resigned myself to the fact that men lie about their height on dating sites), it was a good first date. I really enjoyed his company. I thought he was funny, we related to a lot of a the same things and I was even comfortable enough (with the help of a few cocktails) to call him out on the wanky name-dropping behaviour which, weirdly enough, he really seemed to appreciate it. So yep, the conversation was good.

Under interrogation: how I feel when guys ask me the 'previous relationship' questions

Or at least, the conversation WAS good until he got around to ‘the previous relationship interrogation’ part of the date. Oh, how I always dread the previous relationship interrogation. “So, how long ago was your last relationship?”, “How long did it last for?” Blah blah blah. I totally understand why guys want to know this stuff but the problem is, I haven’t quite figured out how to explain that I’m a 34 yr old woman who has never had a long term relationship before, without sounding like a right weirdo, saddo, loser FREAK.

I’ve feel that being honest about this puts me at a disadvantage from the very start. At the same time, I wouldn’t want to lie either. When he asked how long ago my last relationship was I said, two years ago. Actually I was referring to “The One I Thought Could Be The One“, but little did East End Boy know that this was only a whirlwind  ‘relationship’ that only lasted three months – hardly anything substantial to write home about.

He seemed really surprised that my last “relationship” was two years ago, like he couldn’t believe I’d been alone for TWO YEARS. He asked “Don’t you miss it? Don’t you miss having someone to spend time with, hug, snuggle with etc?”. I told him I can’t miss what I never had. When it got to the “how long was your longest relationship question”, I completely changed the subject. Explaining always makes me feel hot and uncomfortable. I myself don’t know how I’ve gotten to this age and not had a ‘proper boyfriend’, so how do I explain it to someone else who will obviously judge me before they get to know me?

Overall it was a good date and we’re hanging out again this weekend, but back to the issue at hand – how the hell do I deal with ‘the previous relationship interrogation” in an honest way, without scaring men off? Any suggestions?

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14 Responses to “The ‘Previous Relationship’ Interrogation”

  1. Judy July 17, 2011 at 12:22 PM #

    Great post, and glad you met someone who actually picks up a phone for something other than Facebook!

    I’m always a bit too honest for my own good so would always just come out with it (and then laugh it off with a Chandler Bing style awkward joke). I went on a date last week for the first time in 2 years, and when we had ‘the interrogation’ I had to say how long I’d been single for and he was a little surprised, but fine about it!

    Also, I hate when they say ‘but why are you single?’ or ‘don’t you miss having a boyfriend?’ – erm, it’s not like you just go and buy one!

    • TheSingleFilez July 18, 2011 at 9:24 PM #

      I know, right? I was so surprised he wanted to speak on the phone, that I was actually a little suspicious. How bad is that?!

      I hate the ‘why are you single’ line of questioning… pisses me off so much, that now I just reel off my stock response “I obviously haven’t met the right one yet”. Grrrr.

  2. Peter July 17, 2011 at 1:19 PM #

    I’m around your age and in a similar situation. I’ve had the same conversations and at times have had to resist the urge to respond to those who have given me a litany of their myriad of failed relationships with the line “I’ve had no broken relationships so *I’m* not the one who has to justify themselves”.

    The really fun bit is when all her friends do the ‘Star Chamber’ interrogation and ask the same question. While I can understand their concerns about their friend and this guy she might like it does annoy me. Now there’s a blog post I’d love to see from you; how you question the guy your friend is interested in and how do you ask your friends to do the interrogation when you’re involved? Also, does this change over time?

  3. The Garter Brides July 17, 2011 at 5:48 PM #

    This is one of those situations that can be kind of sticky. (Why does he need to do the previous relationship interrogation so soon anyway? Can’t that wait?)

    This is a situation you just can’t win. If you’ve just broken up with someone, then you’re on the rebound. If it’s been a while, he may question why.

    You should just continue to be honest. And respond the way you have. And if the guy is turned off–that’s a good sign that he wasn’t worthy in the first place!

    -The Garter Brides

    • TheSingleFilez July 18, 2011 at 10:29 PM #

      I’ve always found that the subject of past relationships come up quite early these days. Maybe because I meet lots of guys from dating sites, so it’s ‘the thing’ to find out why someone is single and what brought them to be on a dating site?

      That’s just a wild guess, mind you.

  4. IceQueen July 17, 2011 at 6:49 PM #

    Hey, I am in the same boat as you and I think how would I deal with this question…dodge it or be honest.
    Not sure why it is a big deal….surely it is more worrying people who jump from relationship to relationship and cannot stand to be single for more than 2 minutes..

    • TheSingleFilez July 18, 2011 at 11:24 PM #

      You’re so right. I always think the very same thing when I see Katie Price, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Lopez go from man to man to man, without even a breather. It’s not great at all, I feel sorry for them in a way.

      Still, doesn’t stop me from feeling like a huge dork when I have to say I’ve never been able to keep a man interested in me for longer than a few months at a time 😦

  5. Dazediva July 17, 2011 at 7:45 PM #

    The interrogation sucks.
    My last real relationship was 4 years ago (despite it not having a tag) and when I’m asked that now – it makes me feel a bit awkward. I’ve had boyfriends (short term – 2/3 month relationships which some might not even regard as boyf/girlf status) but maybe only 1 or 2 ‘serious’ relationships (but then what is serious according to folks ?)

  6. my honest answer July 19, 2011 at 1:20 PM #

    I think I’d do the same as you and not really mention it. If this is going to go somewhere (fingers crossed!) you’ll eventually find it all comes spilling out anyway, when you’re both too into each other to care about the past, because, wow, you met each other! (cue puppy eyes and ‘aw’s).

    I’m interested though – did you ask him the same things back? And if so, did you judge him on his answers? I’m asking because sometimes I think people judge me for things, and then, when I look at it in the cold light of day, I realise I don’t judge them for the same things, so why would they me, you know?

    • TheSingleFilez July 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM #

      Liking the ‘puppy eyes and aw’s’ 🙂

      Oh don’t worry, I was asking away too… he was completely open about his relationship history. He told me all about his daughter etc. But I guess the story of a failed relationship and a child is more likely to be ‘the norm’ for someone in their mid 30’s. Whereas, the story of someone in their mid 30’s who has never had a long term relationship before is a little less ‘normal’.

  7. Jackie Summers July 19, 2011 at 1:25 PM #

    My real question is: would a guy with no relationship history be a turn-off to you?

    Curious…
    JFB

    • TheSingleFilez July 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM #

      I don’t think it would be a turn-off if we got along well, if the chemistry was there and if I could see real potential in him.

      There maybe a suspicious nagging at the back of my mind, wondering if something was wrong with him, but no it wouldn’t be a complete immediate turn-off.

      But that’s just me!

  8. David Jones July 19, 2011 at 10:43 PM #

    Some ladies find a guy who has not had many relationships a turn on.

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