Love Hurts: A Story About Online Dating

Strangers podcast host Lea Thau is a single mom. Emphasis on the single. She’s been dating for years but nothing ever seems to work out.  That was until she met Robert. She really connected with Robert and was thrilled. But two dates later he told her he couldn’t keep seeing her. Thau was understandable shaken up but tried her best to get over it. Months later she decided to find out what happened. She called him up and interviewed him for this episode called “Love Hurts.”

"I wanted to do it because many of us have been in that situation where someone doesn't ask us out again or writes to say, 'thanks, but no thanks. It leaves all sorts of room to stew in our own shortcomings,'" Thau opens the podcast by explaining. I, for one, have been there so I was very excited to see how this High Fidelity-esqe experiment would turn out.

So she calls Robert and asks what went wrong.

"Nothing went wrong. I think you're awesome, and I was attracted to you. The couple of times we went out, we had great conversation. But I had already started dating the person I'm currently dating now. I met her first, and things were starting to get serious with her. I'm not somebody who wants to be casually dating a lot of people," Robert says.

I’m strangely comforted by this. I think back to all the elaborate stories I made up when someone didn’t want to see me again. Things like "he didn’t like me because I had an annoying laugh or was a bad kisser." "He liked her but was just at a more advanced point in relationship with another woman."

But the doubt seeps back in for Thau just like it would for me. She wonders if Robert is just trying to protect her feelings. Thau points out that if Robert had been in love with her, he would have chosen her over the other woman despite their not having been dating as long. Robert says that’s true, but for him it really does come down to timing.

Bonus info: Lea Thau turned this into a four-part series in which she interviews another man who turned her down, receives some expert dating advice, and speaks with a man that she herself turned down.