Expat Dating Diaries: My Best First Date in Seoul

Best First Date in Seoul JimJilBang Korea First Date ThatGirlCartier Dragon Hill Spa

My Best First Date in Seoul

Over a year ago I wrote an article about the best summer date spots in Seoul.  My most enjoyable first date in Seoul, however, was pretty unconventional.  Our romance was short-lived and never got very serious.  It was before I ever fell in love.  It was before I ever truly had my heart broken, too.  There were disappointments down the line, of course, but he and I actually still talk to this day.  Maybe it has something to do with my best (and longest) first date in Seoul!

Where Do I Begin?

A friend and I had planned on going to the Doosan Bears game at Jamsil Stadium.  She had come up from Dongtan and had no intention of joining me on a first date in Seoul.  This military man and I had been chatting on and off on tinder for a few weeks.  This was before having written about the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  I was avoiding seriously dating at the time.  Since boys were already on their way to the game, so we figured we could all hang out.  While sitting in the stands some overly aggressive foreigners started waving at us and one of them even shouted out, “Kate!”  We still can’t figure out who they were, but they didn’t end up being the guys from Tinder.  Because of that encounter, we almost bailed on the meet up.  I’m so glad we didn’t!

First Date in Seoul Key # 1: Common Interests

I love going to watch live sports, so meeting up at a baseball game was perfect for me.  At a baseball game you’ve got the hoopla of the game, the crowds, and the walk up songs.  At a baseball game first date in Seoul you’ve got the bonus of cheerleaders, and announcer, and BYOB.  If conversation gets boring, get well into the game.  If the conversation is riveting, it’s just the Korean league.  The field is smaller, the players are slower, and unless watching pop-fly after pop-fly being caught is your thing – it’s pretty repetitive.  Not a ball fan?  Find something else with an element of distraction or an easy out.  If you’re meeting someone for the first time you don’t want to get sucked into a massive time commitment (read: waste of time).  If you’re having a good time, however, laissez les bon temps rouler!

First Date in Seoul Key # 2: Perfect Sunset

Could the sunset pictured above be any more perfect for your first date in Seoul?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite as extraordinary since!  We got to canoodle for a bit as the game wrapped up and the sun went to sleep.  Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, right?  Well our weather the next day was pretty darn perfect as we strolled hand in hand along the stream, but that comes later…

First Date in Seoul JimJilBang Seoul First Date ThatGirlCartier Dragon Hill Spa

First Date in Seoul Key # 3: Multiple Dates in One

Did you think my perfect first date in Seoul would lead you to a bathhouse crossed with Korean Dave & Buster’s?  Well, we’re here!  We had been out in Itaewon for dinner and needed somewhere to go before curfew hit.  My date was actually with his boss who was totally down to check out Dragon Hill Spa.  If you’ve never been to a Korean bath house/ sauna/ jimjilbang, read up on the most luxurious one in Busan! (Privilege check: this probably is best suited to cisgender straight couples.  Being on a first date in the actual baths together could prove risky!  I’ll let you use your imagination…)  Here are my reasons why a jimjilbang is an awesome first date in Seoul.

JimJilBang Seoul First Date ThatGirlCartier Dragon Hill Spa

First Date in Seoul Key # 4: Clean up Your Act!

With 9 different baths in the female sauna area, you’ll be super fresh, clean, and relaxed for the rest of your date.  We separated for about 30 minutes and reacquainted fresh-faced, squeaky clean, and in pajamas!  If a guy can’t handle me without makeup then I know it’s not going to last, but PJ’s is a whole ‘nother…ballgame!

First Date in Seoul Key # 5: Plenty to Explore

After a quick scrub and some relaxing in the tub, we all met up in the lobby.  I used to live in Jamsil (south of the Han River in Seoul), so sometimes we’d crash at Dragon Hill if it was tough getting a taxi home.  Since it’s open 24 hours, it’s also the perfect hideout if you want to socialize past curfew.  Since the boys were new to Korea, we explored the many different saunas in the huge building.  Are you a hot or cold sauna kind of person?

First Date in Seoul

There is a restaurant and a snack bar.  Grab a snack of some ramyeon (cup noodles), bingsu – a Korean dessert which is like flavoured “snow” (shaved ice), or a beer to keep you going!

I love getting a little competitive on first dates.  Playing plenty of arcade games was a great way to get to know how my date handled victory and defeat!  We shared a sneaky little first kiss in the singing room where he sang me his absolute favorite song (and where we screamed Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know”).

First Date in Seoul

Ready to catch some Zzz’s?  Head into the indoor (or outdoor if you’re keen on being mosquito breakfast) cinema or any of the sleeping rooms around the jimjilbang.  Sleeping together on the first date in Seoul means something a little different here!  The best part?  In the morning, we got to soak one more time before heading to breakfast in Itaewon.

Dongdaemun!

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You know you’re on a good date when you don’t stop to check your phone or take pictures along the way.  Back in the winter of 2016 I took this snap of Chonggyecheon – a stream in Seoul.  It was nice ticking this one off my Seoul bucket list.  You can walk from Dongdaemun through Namdaemun and up to the palace by following the stream.  Who knew just a few months later we’d be walking and talking hand in hand under a noticeably warmer, blue summer sky?

Have you ever been on a truly unconventional first date in Seoul or anywhere else? 

Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Love Bombs: Cuffing Season is Year-Round

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man smoke bomb orange building outside
Photographer: Ezra Jeffrey

Cuffing Season is Year-Round for Love Bombs

The notions of “ghosting” (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or “bread-crumbing” (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend.  “8 signs you’re being “love bombed” – it might be the most toxic dating trend yet“.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people couple holding hands watch
Photographer: Ryan Franco

The concept of love bombs is one I’ve seen particularly frequently in Korea.  The gist is that you meet a partner and it’s an explosion of feelings, but also commitments one or both parties have no intention of keeping.  You have what you think are open and honest conversations about your emotions, about your goals, about the future.  You travel together, meet your partner’s family, buy one another lavish gifts.  In the blink of an eye, it’s over and done.  Love Bombs.  And what’s cuffing season? “Cuffing season is that period of time between fall and the dead of winter when people start looking for someone they can spend those long, frigid months with,” -Sameera Sullivan.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman couple dating walking smile happy love sweater ripped jeans
Photographer: Brodie Vissers

Expat Love Bombs

I can’t speak for expats in other countries, but I would venture to guess our issues of loneliness are all pretty similar.  We leave our families and (for most of us) our friends and support systems back home.  While social groups in Korea form quickly, they’re often made up of people with whom we’d probably never be friends back home.  Romantic relationships are different.  Expats often have “light-hearted” trysts, but once a connection is made, exclusive relationships are locked down very quickly.  Everything is intensified when you feel instantly loved and cared for.  I think most of us crave that adrenaline rush of passion.  Unfortunately you can’t call a house a home without a little work, time, and attention.  Most of us are only contributing one of the three in a new relationship while living abroad.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman fashion beauty swimsuit bikini beach ocean sea travel couple adventure vacation rocks love
Photographer: Christopher Campbell

My Last Love Bombs

My last two serious (albeit short-lived) relationships were definitely love bombs.  I knew right from the start that these should be enjoyable little flings and that I shouldn’t invest my time or emotions too much.  In Thailand, H dropped everything, flew with me from Phuket to Chiang Mai, and started making comments about ring shopping and spending the remainder of our vacation pretending we were engaged.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people man woman couple happy love date amusement park ride ferris wheel street alley store shop summer
Photographer: Tim Gouw

Ex-Co-P was quick to start calling me his “Seoulmate”.  He would call my apartment “Our City House” and his room on base “Our Country Home”.  He shared what was his eagerly by bringing me goodie bags of things he thought I wouldn’t be able to buy (off post) in Korea.  I was still getting over my last love bomb where the ye-olde-Adonis, H, actually gave up Bali to move into my shitty little studio apartment in Sincheon.  I could see through Ex-Co-P’s bullshit immediately, but I chose to ignore it because he did all the things that H stubbornly refused to do.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries black and white people couple happy smile bokeh ring hairstyle love sweet outdoor man woman girl lady
Photographer: William Stitt

Blind Beyond the Art of Seduction

On our 3rd date (coincidentally the 3rd day after we finally met in person), he snapped a selfie of us to post on Facebook calling me his KECH (a play on my initials).  He asked me to be exclusive about an hour later.  FINALLY!  Finally I had someone who wasn’t afraid to show off to the world that he liked me.  I didn’t need any of the expensive gifts he had brought me on our first few dates.  All I needed was someone who wanted to be close to me.  That was my version of having a guy jump up and down on a couch on Oprah.  Finally someone wasn’t ashamed was proud to be with me.  Everything seemed different.  He even put together an outfit to accompany me to Seoul Fashion Week.  He invited his family and friends into our life together.  Sparks flew.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people woman man couple blur sparkling light sparkler party celebration
Photographer: Priscilla Westra

Within weeks he was asking me my plans for the future (immediately by piggy-backing onto my Taipei and Tokyo trips), telling me his goals and dreams, and asking how we could fit into one another’s lives moving forward.  He used to joke about me moving in with him on the base, but there was an underlying truth and neediness to it all.  He made me actually want to have an easy life in the boonies running track on Sunday mornings, meal-prepping for the week in the afternoon, and cozying up with a movie Sunday nights.  It seemed so simple.  I couldn’t hear the tick-tock of the bomb because it had already detonated.  Our simple, little, careless, time-sensitive relationship had immediately broken its contract and gone off the rails the moment I said “yes” to being his girlfriend.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people hands distance reach out away sad love black and white monochrome
Photographer: Mitchell Hollander

Man-ipulation & Subconscious Un-Coupling

I can’t pinpoint the moment it all changed.  In hindsight I think he continued to slowly chip away at my confidence by maintaining past drama.  Ex-Co-P loved to drudge up his past relationships.  He continuously brought up the issues he created for me in the workplace.  He would perpetuate drama by inserting himself in issues I had had to rectify on his behalf that were having an effect on my life.  I felt inadequate at work and at home.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries love locks hearts romance romantic
Photographer: Snufkin

After our one, and only, major argument, I coughed all night.  The next day he demanded we run 6 km (round-trip) up and down Namsan Tower.  He knew full well that I was a sprinter working on endurance and had a bad cough.  He was testing me and patronizing me.  It was clear that he was looking for a fight.  When we got to the base of Namsan Tower, he asked me was if I wanted to go find his “Pont-des-Arts”-style love lock from two girlfriends ago.  This was the girlfriend who was still friends with some of my friends. She even lived in the area of town I desperately missed.  Had I not been dating this loser, we’d probably be friends.

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries snow winter white cold weather ice nature people hand heart love scarf
Photographer: Tohm Brigitte

“Cuffing Season” is Bullshit

I wrote the 7 Worst Guys an Expat can Date nearly a year ago.  Hundreds of comments came pouring in.  Many said I sounded like a jaded woman scorned.  I think most of those qualities identified in the article still hold true.  Elements of each character can be found in both men and women.  As a cisgendered, straight woman, I write about my own personal experiences.  The list is not comprehensive.  Let’s say I wrote about the “7 Treasures Every Expat Woman Should Seek Out”.  You better bet your bottom dollar there would be no more use for this site at all.  You see, if I was any good at taking my own advice, ThatGirlCartier would cease to exist.  My Grandmother was RAF and my Grandfather was RCAF.  It’s like I walk around with a giant AF magnet on my heart and “US AIR FORCE” tattooed across my forehead.  Am I supposed to avoid every Military Man I meet?  Who knows – you already know I can’t follow my own advice!

The notions of "ghosting" (going out with someone then dropping off the face of the Earth completely) or "bread-crumbing" (dropping short messages here and there to keep the other person around, but not a priority) are common, especially for expats.  In the interest of keeping current on the trends explaining outside elements of my tormented love life, I read an article about a toxic dating trend: Love Bombs - ThatGirlCartier.com That Girl Cartier Expat Dating Diaries people couple man woman love romance piggyback ride

Right now I’m talking to several men.  I’m actually just dating and getting to know them on a personal, platonic level.  No more intense situations right off the bat.  No more instances of watching him pull the pin, drop the grenade and run away.  Certainly no more “fuckboys in sheep’s clothing” (as so aptly a fellow Seoul Blogger described Ex-Co-P).  I met H in August and Ex-Co-P at the beginning of March.  Cuffing season is clearly not limited to the dark, cold, lonely, winter months…especially when it comes to sociopaths “love-bombs”.  When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them the first time.  Don’t let love bombs’ smoke get in your eyes.

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Photo by Fredrick Kearney Jr on Unsplash

Saturn Return-ing 30 in Korea

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Saturn Return

This week, I prepare to bid farewell to my roaries twenties and celebrate entry into the dirty thirty club.  This year in particular (29) has been pretty magnificent, but it hasn’t been without heartache and disappointment.  People keep bringing up this idea of Saturn Return .  “The longer, more elaborate version: This is the astrological period of our life when the planet Saturn completes its orbit around the Sun, coinciding with the time of our birth. It happens every 29.5 years, so if you have skated by in your late 20s, this period could get you in your late 50s.”  Is this where the No Doubt album name originated?  Gwen Stefani was 30 or 31 when it was released.  I was obsessed with these tracks.  I was 13 when Return of Saturn was released, but the lyrics seem more relevant now than ever!

I don’t hold steadfast and true to astrology, but one can find poetry and life lessons in just about anything.  The idea that I should learn something from the craziness of my twenties is certainly not lost on me.  While I’ve been a teacher in Korea, life in Seoul in Busan has thrown me some curveballs.  I’d like to share what teaching and living in Korea has taught me in an elementary kind of way.  Here are a few Dr. Seuss memes to, pardon the pun, bring it all full circle.

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I’ve Learned to Love My Body

Being naked isn’t a crime.  Ajummas (the old gals) at jimjilbangs (bath houses/ spas) strut around, full bush and fupas out with pride.  They don’t give a rat’s ass about my curvy stomach and hips or my prickly legs.  I’ve worked hard to drop the weight I gained after joining the workforce and quitting my varsity days.  Now I’m in the maintenance stage which means I really have to dedicate quite a bit of time and energy to not balloon again.  I have to nourish my body even if that means being a hunter for protein and veggies at my own grocery store.  Now that I’m mere days away from 30, I know I’m never going to be perfect.  Getting a luxurious facial or massage is allowed and should damn well be in the budget.  If I want to get botox or lip injections then that’s my own personal choice.  Through fitness, nutrition, a Korean skin care regime, and time to treat myself I aim to strike a balance.  I strive to be a better me than yesterday.

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What the Fuck is this Shit?

Sometimes you’re just not going to have a damn clue what’s on your plate, written on a kid’s test, or walking down a runway.  Just learn to roll with it.  There’s no point in getting up in arms over something you don’t understand.  Culturally – take some time to do some research if you’re even feigning an interest.  If you’re living in or even just visiting another country, their customs will likely be foreign to you.  Try to figure ’em out.  If it’s just some other expat prick leaving you scratching your head – dealbreaker.  Move the fuck along.

 

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Tough Memories

Is dating shitty guys all part of Saturn Return?  Looking back on Taipei and Tokyo suuuuuucks.  I remember the amazing moments we shared and the distances we traveled together.  I try to see the silver lining in it all, but it’s not easy especially when I’m pinpointing the exact moments in Tokyo when he was texting his…less than reputable woman.  The best I can do is reflect on the good times and, instead of looking for negatives, think of learning opportunities for the future.  I got to feel the bliss of romance in Taiwan and Japan.  That’s pretty rad.

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Ghosting

A decent person will respond when txted, messaged, or called.  Don’t give out your phone number if you have no intention of ever seeing the person again.  If you’ve had interactions you don’t want to continue, find a nice way to tell the person.  It’s one thing to have a friendship or dating situation fizzle out, but hiding behind technology is so cowardly.

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No Fucks Left

Guys, I’m 30.  I’m exhausted.  This isn’t my first rodeo.  If you’re a flakey friend or a douchey date I’m over it.  I have zero fucks (red, blue or otherwise) left to give.  Sorry if that offends you, but I’m just outta chances to hand out.

  • If he’s not giving me what I need, I should just move on.
  • I’m not going to change him.  If he wants to become a better version of himself he will.  If I can help…great!
  • Change yourself for yourself.  Never change for him.

 

 

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On the Subject of Impact

Sometimes it’s hard to be a lifestyle blogger with a major focus on dating.  The impact of constantly trying to put myself out there has definitely taken a toll.  Of course I believe in love and want to find the right companion…for me.  The whole idea that I have to work on myself by myself is a little ridiculous, in my opinion.  My gal pals keep telling me to stay single and work on myself.  I think that’s a load of hooey.  I’m definitely a more organized and productive person when in a relationship.  I’m a busy person and I really have to carve out time to spend it with the people I like.  “Love yourself first” is an over-used phrase.  I love myself just fine, thank-you very much.  Why is it that the last three men who have tossed those three little words my way suddenly run in the opposite direction when I finally return their affection and say them back?  I say “I love you” to my friends constantly.  There are plenty of poetic ways to speak and show your affection.  By the time I return home I’ll have no partner and no job.  Will I have prospects?  Who knows…but it’s terrifying to look into the unknown.  Hopefully “terrifying” will be spun as “exhilirating” sometime soon.

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Most People Are Cunts

This, ladies and gentlemen, is truer than true.  While there are some great, salt of the Earth human beings out there, most people are only looking out for #1.  I’ve seen countless men and women be treated like absolute shit because they’re just an option and not a priority.  So much time is wasted because people are shitty to people.  We like to hurt one-another.  Plus, let’s talk bloggers.  I’ve encountered some amazing, supportive women in Korea.  Most people think that expat/ travel/ beauty/ foodie bloggers are all in competition.  That’s not true at all.  If you look through any of my posts here or on The Toronto Seoulcialite you’ll find I try to take any opportunity to link to the supporters in the community.  That said, there are some real assholes around.  I don’t know how I’ve been unable to identify the patterns.  I want to give everyone a fair chance, but it’s exhausting when people want a piece of you for a free hotel stay or meal.  Boys and girls, there’s no such thing as a free meal.  If I’m working in contra with a brand there’s a multi-faceted marketing plan to go along with a post.  You don’t just get to share 1 sly pic on instagram and live a life of luxury.  There’s plenty of work to share around.  Stop being cunts and just support one-another, dammit.

 

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The Internet

Can people on the internet just stop and realise that bloggers are people too?  The number of degrading comments and threats I’ve received for discussing fluffed up dating scenarios is insane.  You can’t take anything some angry troll with a firewall security blanket says seriously.  This one is still something with which I struggle, as these people know exactly who I am (and often where to find me), but they’re safely behind fake profiles with stolen profile pictures (or none at all).  I love to get helpful suggestions from readers.  They’re few and far between, so if you’ve got something then please go ahead and e-mail me or leave it in the comments.  Recently a faceless Korean instagrammer told me to start YouTube as my lengthy posts aren’t always the easiest to understand.  That was a great suggestion!  Telling me to go back to Canada because I’m clearly someone who couldn’t get a job back home?  Not so helpful.  Ps. I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a group of companies back in Toronto.  I took a major pay cut to come to Korea and don’t regret it for a second.

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Stand Out

In the Apgujeong area of Seoul, Korea, there are so many versions of the same face it’s scary.  I don’t want to look like anyone else.  I want to feel authentic.  I don’t, however, need to have my natural hair colour or bags under my eyes to feel authentic.  If someone is telling me I look tired and should ‘take a rest’, maybe I am tired and should slow down.  Having blonde hair in Korea constantly means I stand out.  Will I keep it back in Canada?  Who knows!  I definitely feel more like myself as a blonde (having gone back to the dark side earlier this year).  I enjoy the liberties Koreans take with style.  Some of the conventions are a little weird (the shortest skirts, most conservative tops, and most heinous shoes).  I hope I can feel free enough to stand out with my own personal style when I go back to Toronto.

 

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Those Who Matter Don’t Mind

I don’t think in 30 years I’ve had a birthday as amazing as this one.  The most important people showed up and completely showered me with love (and food – the true way to my heart and Seoul).  Having all of those people in one room was overwhelming, hysterical, and incredibly fun.  I’m amazed and humbled that I can be the brassy, unapologetically honest, wild, and sensitive person I am with the people I have met in Korea.  We’re never gunna survive unless we get a little crazy, but I know mine can be a lot to handle.  Thank you for showing me all kinds of crazy love.  My Saturn Return feels like a positive renaissance.  Here’s to the next 30.  Peace out, Saturn.

Expat Dating Diaries – A PSA to Grown Men: Stop Ghosting

Everything ends, but some things don’t even get a chance at a proper start.  Grown men need to learn to communicate rather than “ghosting”.  This is the story of my devilishly handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people man guy black and white body tattoo art bracelet
Photographer: Jake Davies

My Most Recent Ghosting Experience

I recently went out with a man who I thought was interested in dating casually.  As I was fresh out of a relationship, I figured he planned on getting to know me over time.  It’s also fair to assume that he was seeing other women throughout the first month of what I’ll call our “courtship”.  Tinder is like window shopping, and I had a brand new account.  We saw eachother 4 times that first week, which was a little intense for me.  It was also pretty similar to my last relationship.  Co-P was in a new Facebook relationship a mere 11 days after he and I split.  That’s such a shady look.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have cheated if he knew he’d get so butthurt about our break-up.  I wasn’t in a place where I felt I needed to “win” the break-up.  I want to wait until I actually know someone before determining I’ll be spending my valuable time with him alone.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people man woman body tattoo art couple back black and white

So, rebound and I had some really nice dates.  We went to some of my favourite spots in Itaewon as he was new to the city.  A friend of mine came along on date #1 (what I call an “audition”), and his boss met up with us later that day.  He joined me for a restaurant review and asked that we spend the next night “just us”.  He held my hand in public and let other males around us know through physical cues that he was the alpha and I wasn’t going to entertain their advances.  By date #3 he told me he didn’t want this to just be a fling.  After that, I started to get the silent treatment.  He’d go incommunicado for days, then blow up my phone with cute selfies and videos.  We both left Seoul for the long weekend, but were in touch the whole time.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people male hand arm shoulder body tattoo art
Photographer: Matheus Ferrero

When he got back home, he called me via video chat.  He cracked a joke at one point, so I laughed.  He told me that’s all he ever wanted.  All he wanted was just to make me laugh and smile.  The line was delivered with such innocence and fluidity I almost believed it.  I rolled my eyes and that’s when he said the one thing that surprised me.

“You’re so cool.  You play it so cool.”

“What?”

“Yeah, you act like you don’t care.  I care.”

“I’m confused.  You’re the cool one in this situation.  I’m just trying to keep up.”

My bullshit-o-dometer was whizzing out of control.  That’s when he told me he had the next 10 years of his life planned out.  Where was I going to fit in?  It’s nice to have a casual, physical relationship, but what were we and what happens next?  What about the “dot…dot…dot…”?  After I told him it was a little early to be having this conversation, I suggested getting together on the weekend.  He agreed, with the caveat that now (after nearly a month of knowing one-another) was the perfect time for this serious discussion.  After that?  Radio silence…was he seriously ghosting me after trying to lock it down on freaking FaceTime?

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people girl man coffee relax chill restaurant coffeehouse bar shop mobile phone texting browsing
Photographer: Jacob Ufkes

Gentlemen, you know exactly what kind of shitty human being you are when you consciously decide not to pick up calls or respond to messages.  Nobody is too busy to make plans with someone they like.  When a man is interested in a woman, he’ll move Heaven, Earth, a board meeting or a boys night to see her.  When you’re ghosting, you’re avoiding responsibility because you’re too chicken shit to have an actual adult conversation.  Everyone gets anxious when it comes to potential confrontation.  You owe it to the other person to provide a proper conclusion.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to get what you want you have to communicate.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people woman girl sitting waiting alone blonde hair mobile phone

Ladies, here are some of the reasons why he’s ghosting you:

He’s Not Looking For Commitment

This guy will flip his shit at the simplest “how was your day?” text.  It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a serious relationship or casual tail.  He wants no strings attached and assumes you’re hunting for a ring.  Drop the dud and play the field.  He’s not worth your time.

There’s Another Woman

I always say that Tinder is like window shopping.   Men can certainly make the most of a shitty situation.  In fact, a lot of guys I know actually exclusively Tind while on the can.  If you’re dating someone actively perusing your replacement, he’s a turd.  Don’t let yourself circle the drain with this one.

You’re the Other Woman

I met this wonderful man last year who really wanted to take things slow and get to know me.  We went on some fantastic dates and I felt like we really started to make a connection.  Then, he started acting weird and before I knew it – he was ghosting.  It turns out his ex fiance was getting married and he just wasn’t quite over it all.  It didn’t matter that their relationship was over.  He wasn’t ready to make an emotional investment that might end with similar feelings.  This one actually came back and we were able to talk it out.  Eventually, we even became friends.

He’s Just Not That Into You

It sucks to hear, but the old Sex and the City adage is real.  He doesn’t see this going anywhere and doesn’t wanted to get sucked into an emotional conversation where he’ll have to explain why.  He doesn’t even respect you enough to have the common decency to tell you he doesn’t want to see you.  Start swiping.

You’re an Option, Not a Priority

He wants to keep you around in case he needs an emotional relationship or a late night booty call down the line.  Unfriend.  Unfollow.  Block if you must.  Move the hell along.

Ghosting: Everything ends, but some things don't even get a chance at a proper start. The story of my handsome, mysterious, and insanely cowardly rebound. That Girl Cartier people girl female lady woman travel outdoor alone beach seashore sea ocean waves water summer mobile phone texting

Dating is tough.  Expat dating is often tougher.  When it comes down to it, we all want to feel important and cared for.  Nobody wants to feel tossed aside.  Ladies and gentlemen, don’t willfully neglect another human.  Be kind, be gentle, and stop ghosting.  I can guarantee that a reasonable person will respond much better (and likely stop responding altogether) if you tell him or her in a nice way that you don’t want to proceed.  The calling, the texting, the passive aggressive social media posts (and lurks) will all vanish – and you won’t have to.  If you want to alleviate guilt and avoid confrontational/ emotional conversations be clear.  Stop ghosting.

Break-Up Don'ts and Dating Do's - Expat Dating Diaries That Girl Cartier

Break-Up Do’s and Dating Don’ts – Expat Dating Diaries

Expat Dating Don’ts and Break-Up Do’s

Co-P and I started having the inevitable (inevitable because he’s leaving Korea, not because he’s a cheater) break-up talk.  It would have been fine had it not been in Haneda airport 6 hours before our flight.  A few days later our fast, serious, fleeting, expat dating romance was over.  Little did I know then, he was already seeing (and sleeping with) someone else.  The confidence I had in our direct, communicative relationship was an absolute lie, and I feel pretty stupid having trusted him.  Because of the exciting, dramatic, and rocky way our relationship began, I felt like most of the time we were playing relationship chicken.  I had several trips lined up before meeting him.  He said he wanted to come, and without too many jokes or dares he booked flights.  I should have taken my own advice…

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! girl woman barbell weights muscles strength training athlete crossfit health fitness exercise working out people
Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

Looking back on our relationship (as shortlived as it was) I have a number of thoughts and feelings.  We are completely different people with a few key common interests (fitness, food, and expat dating, it seems).  Ultimately, we weren’t compatible romantically or with our timing.  He tried to limit me to 2 tourist attractions per day on our travels.  He wanted a 10 PM bedtime.  I wanted to soak up everything (including the nightlife) in a new city.  He followed the rules.  I wanted to renegotiate them.  There were so many times when I felt I couldn’t be as wild and outlandish as I wanted to be.  In some respects, that’s a really good thing.  Co-P pushed me to be the healthiest and strongest person physically I could be.  I was well-rested, too.  Ultimately, I got bored.  I think he did, too.

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! airplane travel adventure plane people vacation trip transportation vehicle helicopter
Photographer: Inge Wallumrod

As much as I’m content with my life without him as my boyfriend, there are still moments that give me pause.  I miss having him as the friend I thought he was.  There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from every relationship, and expat dating is no different.  Take a look and see what you can extrapolate from every interaction.  Here’s what I’ve learned…

 

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people man woman couple dating talking romance candle lighting lights bokeh
Photographer: Austin Call

Expat Dating Don’ts

  • Don’t have your first few dates at favourite spots in your neighbourhood.  You’ll hate yourself going back to a memory you made together there every time you pass them.
  • Don’t invest yourself too much in the beginning…or really ever.  It’s important to keep a balance and your own social life.  Don’t be one of those people who gives up on your single friends when you’re coupled up.
  • Don’t ignore the majority of your friends saying bad things about him.  Especially don’t alienate them in favour of the ones who speak kindly.
  • Don’t ignore his ex gfs if they reach out to you.  There’s a reason they sound crazy.  That reason is probably that he hurt them something fierce.
  • Don’t let things move too quickly.  If he’s asking you to be exclusive on the third day you’ve met, maybe there’s another issue.  Pump the breaks if things are heating up a little faster than anticipated.  It might be exciting to jump into a new relationship, but you also might be left with the feeling that you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.  He might have self-esteem issues, be self-indulgent, or just want to stir up drama.  Co-P posted about his new girlfriend the day before a trip we planned together.  (Super nice way to let me know you cheated, by the way…).  Expat dating is tough!
  • Don’t get hung up on past heartaches.  There’s a reason he’s not the one with you on this date!  Focus on this new person who wants to spend time getting to know you!
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people girl woman couple clothing hand touch
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

Expat Dating: Break-Up Do’s

  • Do let yourself have a mourning period.  Maybe you haven’t lost the love of your life, but you’re losing out on someone who has made an impact on it.  You’ll be ready when you’re ready.
  • Do:  It doesn’t matter if your mourning period is short.  If you are ready to get back out there then do it!
  • Do: Say YES.  If you get an interesting invitation then say yes!  Surprise yourself with new hobbies and activities.
  • Do: Meet new people!  It doesn’t matter if you want to get out on the dating scene right away or not, new people = new perspectives.  Isn’t learning what we’re born to do?
  • Do: Widen your net.  Meet people (new friends and prospects) you might not normally go for.  Everyone thinks they have a “type”.  If yours hasn’t been working for you, try something else!  Whether you’re an expat dating or just meeting new pals, there are plenty of us in a concentrated environment.  Go forth an experience new things!
  • Do: Look out for #1.  Take care of yourself first.  Don’t overextend yourself for someone who won’t go out of his or her way for you.
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! sea ocean water waves nature horizon sky sunset sunlight sunrise sunshine people couple love man woman hug smile happy
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

I’m not looking for the stars and the moon in another human.  I’m looking for a travel companion, good conversationalist, work-out buddy, party pal, and all around life partner.  I’m looking for someone who won’t deliberately hurt me (or put me at risk) because he’s started to stray.  Neptune has 13 moons.  Uranus has 27 (and they’re outta this world, girlfriend).  Our very own galaxy is full of stars and moons.  If you’re an expat in Korea like me, you’ve likely circled the globe at least once or twice.  He (or she) is out there, but you’ve gotta make it through the Star Wars first.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Britney in my Seoul – Oops, I did it again…

Britney Spears in Seoul, South Korea

Saturday June 10th Britney Spears played a show in Korea.  She was actually in Tokyo when I went with Co-P, but we didn’t go to the show.  We actually began the break up process at Haneda Airport, but that’s a story for another time.  Oops…I did it again.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see her live, and I certainly didn’t think it’d be in Korea of all places!  Even cooler?  With G Dragon playing a show and Ultra Music Festival this weekend we got our KRW 99,000 tickets (just over $100 Canadian) upgraded TWICE.  I was sent to 3 different windows and had to wait a long time while they got their act together, but I walked away with VVIP tickets which had a value closer to $400 Canadian…each!  I got all gussied up with fabulous fellow blogger “A Fat Girl’s Food Guide“.  We had all kinds of laughs I really needed outside the venue, and went inside just before the show.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea

Circus

There was no opening act.  Britney got straight into it and didn’t stop for an hour and a half.  She was strictly business, purely professional, and an enchanting entertainer.  The fan favourites were all a blur, fading into one another in a medley that got me in the zone!  Last night was a reminder that if Britney can make it through 2007, I can make it through the day, too.  When you breakdown you can go further into the madness or take the opportunity to rebuild.  There’s a blessing and a beauty in the breakdown.  Others may have torn you down, but only you can truly rebuild from the wreckage.

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Toxic

The past year has not exactly been my easiest.  I came to Korea to give myself a break from a stressful job and a toxic work environment.  After a healthy, comfortable, calm year in Busan, I decided to take on the capital city: Seoul.  I was right back in a difficult work environment with longer hours and less time to dedicate to fitness and finding friends.  Sprinkle in a couple of dating disasters and Itaewon drama, and voila!  You’ve got yourself a pretty shit sundae.  It’s getting tougher and tougher to pick myself up.  I truly believe that you should take as many lessons as you can from a negative situation.  Reflecting on our actions, reactions, and the ones from the people around us is crucial to personal development.  While I often feel like I take one step forward and 3 steps back, I want to move forward and enter my 30’s with joy and energy.

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea

Work, B*tch

On Mondays I aim to ease into the week.  I get to work with the youngest kids on Mondays.  While conversation is tougher, the cuddles tend to be plentiful.  My gym doesn’t open until 8 AM on Mondays, so I take it easy.  I talk to my parents on Skype every Monday and always look forward to our weekly ritual.  I’ve partnered with Sprout Seoul (Natural Healthy Whole Food Service in Korea), so I skipped out on my weekly meal prep in favour of flavour.  I’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or dessert free of over-processed ingredients, chemicals and additives.  I’ll be sharing pictures and honest thoughts on the menu here daily, too.  Last time I ordered from Sprout I was down 3 kg within days.  I’m thrilled to be on the 5 day plan.  If you order from Sprout Seoul, make sure to mention The Toronto Seoulcialite or That Girl Cartier to get a free snack!

…One More Time

I’ve read that we should start now rather than waiting for a special occasions. I say, take what you can get.  New Year’s Eve, a birthday, a new job, a break-up or even a Monday is an opportunity.  I’ve got a recent break-up, a birthday on the horizon (August 6th if you’re keeping track), and the Monday trap tomorrow.  I want to take these opportunities as spring boards to a better me.  As cheesy as it all sounds, a fresh start is exactly what I think I need.  With a new gym membership, Sprout Seoul, a little Restylane c/o Eunogo, some rad new friends, the love of more than a couple drag queens, and Britney in my Seoul, I’m Stronger.  Now get to work, b*tch!

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Expat Dating Diaries: The Eternal Expat

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Frank McKenna

The Eternal Expat

The Eternal Expat is one of the most likely men you’ll meet from my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  Flitting from city to city and country to country “sampling the local fare”, this guy has found a good life.  Probably considered to be generically attractive from a North American perspective, he’s got an even more charming personality.  Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete, fraternity brother, or both.  He’s got natural game and women everywhere seem to swoon.  He’s never settling down in one place, and for him you’ll never been enough.  He might make a grand gesture.  He might make it seem like he’d have you join his nomadic lifestyle and travel the world together (#travelcouple, #instaromance, the whole nine yards).  When it comes down to the actual plan, he’s a lone wolf and you’re just dead weight.

Expat Dating Diaries The Eternal Expat That Girl Cartier feet legs couple people girl guy tattoo bed sheet blanket black and white bedroom bed pillow
Photographer: Denis Gavrilenco

New Notches

The main goal of the Eternal Expat is to carve as many notches on his bedpost as is humanly possible.  He loves to have the girlfriend experience.  He loves it so much that he’s collecting as many as he can manage and in as many countries as his passport will allow.  Let’s be clear: this guy does not want a girlfriend.  He wants adventure between the sheets and on the open road.  He has 1 priority, and darling as lovely as you are, it’s never going to be you alone.  Tucked between expensive dinners out, museum trips, and spa experiences, the eternal expat must be a master scheduler.  He can juggle multiple languages and even more women.  Remember marinated cherries? He was juggling THREE of my friends all at once and one more he brought on vacation!  I wonder just how many other rolodex members he had on rotation…

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Photographer: Leeroy

Red Flags

The Eternal Expat won’t ever let you see his phone because he’s sending the same messages to you and half a dozen other girls.  He will make it seem like he wants to date you exclusively right off the bat.  He will tell you how amazing and beautiful you are.  Far too early for heartwarming discussion, he’ll tell you straight up how much he likes you.  He’ll tell you exactly what he thinks you want to hear in an effort to avoid having “the talk.  Try to see through the bullshit.  He probably does like you a lot.  I bet you are beautiful and amazing, too.  Just take it all with a grain of salt since all these lovely things roll off his tongue easily.

Expat Dating Diaries The Eternal Expat That Girl Cartier wood plank water ocean sea
Photographer: Samuel Zeller

Long Gone Silver: Emotional Pirate and Booty Chaser

If you encounter someone you think might be an “eternal expat” communicate your expectations and desires immediately.  Don’t let yourself get surprised or hurt down the line thinking you’re in an exclusive relationship when he’s on a completely different page.  If he’s not where you are, move on.  You won’t change him.  Why would you want to waste your time trying?  It’s unlikely he’ll wake up one morning and realize what an idiot he’s been and what a loss you are.  If he does, it won’t happen until he’s Long Gone Silver and you’ve moved the eff on.  If all you want is a good time then that’s totally fine, too.  Be adults and talk about the kind of relationship you want to have.  He’s got plenty of experience and you’ll hopefully be more than satisfied.  If you want emotional satisfaction, however, don’t walk that plank.

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Have you encountered any Eternal Expats throughout your travels?  Leave me your story in the comments!

 

Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea

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Photographer: Elijah Hail

The Term:

Riding the White Horse in Korea

I read every Korean blog Google populated in the first few pages and happened upon the concept of “riding the white horse in Korea”.  What this meant was that there were certain locals in Korea who preferred socializing with foreigners, but only as a novelty.  In less politically correct terms, this typically referred to a Korean man wanting to have sex with an All-American-looking woman.  There are many Koreans (male and female) who do not subscribe to the homogeneous ideologies of this small nation.  There are many Koreans who don’t make fetishes of particular races.  I have several North American friends who are dating or who are married to wonderful Korean men.  This article is part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date, and is not about those people.

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier horse animal snout farm plants fence monochrome black and white
Photographer: Trevor Paterson

A Horseless Carriage

In my year in Busan, I met and socialized with a ton of Koreans in our little neighbourhood of Hwamyeong.  On Friday nights we played guitar, a friend from a more central location brought a cajon, and we sang outside the local convenience store while eating instant ramyeon and drinking soju and/or beer.  There was never a time I felt like I was singled out as a caucasian North-American.  We were friends who enjoyed playing music together.  On the other hand, there were plenty of caucasian males who would mess around with anyone they could, but would exclusively date Korean women.  This is the North-American equivalent/opposite of what we’ll call “the local” from this point on.  Seoul was a different dating story…

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier people men women friends crowd walking city signage bar korea mall shopping
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

The Local

“The local” is chasing the white horse in Korea.  He just wants to screw date someone foreign he can show off to his friends.  As a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found that, more often than not, this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent.  I don’t believe a significant other should be a status symbol.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier people men woman wet market basket meat fish utensil refrigrator signage pail lamp light korea
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

Where (not) to meet The Local

Korean men frequently try to pick up at events called “language exchanges”.  This goes both ways, but I often hear about foreign women who want to improve their Korean skills and are instead propositioned.  Most people who have been here longer than a couple of months will scoff, roll their eyes, and dive into their own personal anecdote about a language exchange situation gone wrong.  They often involve the suggestion they “practice” Korean and English in a DVD Bang (a room with a tv, dvd player, couch, and a box o’ tissues), a love motel, or her apartment (as many Koreans in their 20’s still live with parents).  This is definitely a consideration when thinking about why many foreigners give up on learning Hangeul.  Language exchanges are great places to meet women who are new to Korea.  Guys chasing the white horse in Korea tend to lurk here.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier guy fitness athlete health boy people court black and white asian
Photographer: Poodar Chu

Western Status Symbol

You shouldn’t date someone or even befriend someone because you think she’ll impress your friends (or teach them English).  My old school asked me to help a young CEO of a Private Equity firm.  I think he wanted to introduce his employees to someone who looked different to the women with whom they would typically interact.  Meeting these men who couldn’t look me in the eye for the first two meetings was insightful.  I wasn’t introduced for my teaching abilities, but for the way that I looked.  Fortunately, these guys realized that I could discuss the Financial Times and other such publications.  Within a few meetings I was taken more seriously and some of my suggestions for their business were put into place.  I stopped wearing makeup or particularly fashionable attire.  I definitely don’t think I was brought in as a white horse in Korea, but it was pretty close.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier architecture building infrastructure room wooden bench people man guy thinking alone sad male asian
Photographer: Can Anh Khai

Dating Korean Men

I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I haven’t dated a Korean man while living here.  I’ve been asked out on dates, but the way the question was posed didn’t really feel like it was a date.  Dating conventions tend to be quite different from back home, and I just haven’t had the time for the runaround.  I find Korean men to be quite beautiful.  They often dress very well and have their own style.  The #1 sales of cosmetics for men come out of Korea.  While I enjoy getting dolled up, I don’t spend too much time on it.  If my man takes longer to get ready than I do I’ll get antsy and peace out.  Men in Korea tend to be more in touch with what we call their “feminine side”.  I think I’m a bit aggressive and outspoken for them (and the aforementioned North-American counterparts).

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier horse animal stem grass bokeh trees sunlight sunshine nature plants branches fog
Photographer: Annie Spratt

A friend of mine went on one date with a local Korean guy.  After that one date they were exclusive (from his perspective).  She went along with it even though she was still dating other men.  This is why communication is important.  He would bring her around his friends and show her off, but there was no way he was introducing her to any family members, including his cousin who was his best friend.  He wanted to meet more of her caucasian (only) friends.  This “white horse in Korea” is a woman with some serious sexual prowess.  No matter how she tried to entice him, he couldn’t keep up.  Their relationship ended when she popped into the shower with him to spice things up.  Things didn’t perk up – she never saw an erection from him again.  Guess the white horse in Korea isn’t for everyone.

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Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier letter box mail
Photographer: danist soh
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex both incredibly gratifying and infuriating.  It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend.  It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you.  The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’.  Is this man’s 6th sense?  Has Google created a new alert?  Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier dark night box light letter signage neon
Photographer: Adam Birkett
He Hurt You

In this letter, he finally takes responsibility for all the things he did wrong.  All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen.  How did he come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all?  Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses?  How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier facebook social media smartphone mobile technology letters
Photographer: Wilfred Iven
Creep…Creep…Creepin’

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”.  What about the other times, though?  My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event.  This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip.  How do these people know that you’re off the market?  Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media.  Even if they are able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship.  It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear.  These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - flower pink petal bloom garden plant nature autumn fall tulip violet love passion intimate lettering
Photographer: Brigitte Tohm
Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog.  He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story.  He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both.  We lived pretty close to one another already.  When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall.  I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula.  The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all.  He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job.  We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times.  He owed me nothing.  Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Letters from the Ex: Man's 6th Sense stone wall letters symbols
Photographer: Matthew Wheeler
Hieroglyphics

What does it all mean?  Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot.  It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back.  Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle.  He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone.  The best part?  By this point you really should no longer care.

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier clipboards papers text quotes letters wood grain magic
Photographer: Chelsea Francis
Get Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases.  When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine.  Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend - Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - card board letter paper slogan hand green tree plant nature
Photographer: Corinne Kutz
It is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong.  It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your own f*ck ups.  I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience.  Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past.  The notion that I’ll ever see a travel romance again is ridiculous.  We didn’t work out.  I’ve released your ghost.  It is well.

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Seoul Dating: How to Get Him to Commit

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. sky clouds grass outdoor people couple love smile happy man guy girl woman dating holding hands
Photographer: Jena Postma

How to Get Him to Commit

I’ve been seeing tons of click-bait headlines making their way through the travel, expat, and lifestyle communities.  Figured I’d give this one a shot, too.  So sue me, right?  Not quite – read on to see how you too can get him to commit with this one amazing tool.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. bokeh people couple happy kiss man woman smile christmas lights love heart
Photographer: Freestocks.org

Breaking the Rules

I’ve already gone back on my word by entering into a relationship with a) someone I met through Tinder, and b) on my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date.  If you’ve read Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man you’ll know that there are some dirty dawgs out there especially in and around Itaewon.  I met my new Co-Pilot at Souva, which has quickly become the latest hot spot for my coupled-up pals.  In our first week and a half we had been to at least 7 restaurants together, watched 4 movies, made dinner twice, and climbed a freaking mountain.  He mentioned me to his parents and mine got the Skype update 2 weeks in.  I know you’re still wondering how to get him to commit, but I’m sure you’re also wondering if good ol’ Cartier’s going to get boring with a boyfriend.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people girl beauty mobile phone talking communication gadget technology city blur
Photographer: Matthew Kane

No More Drama

It wouldn’t be the Seoul expat dating community without a little bit of drama (I know this is what you came for :P).  This wouldn’t be the Expat Dating Diaries without unnecessary drama, right?  Well, shocker!  My new beau went out on dates before he met me!  There are a few women with whom he’s been out who are friends of friends of mine.  One in particular was pretty pissed when he let her down easy (via text – party foul, I know).  After she screamed at me, I told him straight out that if we were going to do this we wouldn’t be with anyone else.  If either of us change our minds down the line that’s fine.  That said, a certain conversation needs to happen if either of us want to start seeing other people.  This leads me to the most important tool you can have in your arsenal if you want to know how to get him to commit.  Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else.  How do you get him on the same page?  This one’s simple…

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. still items things puzzle painting fine art gustav klimt the kiss bokeh
Photographer: Freestocks.org

The One Amazing Tool

What’s this one elusive tool to use when wanting to know how to get him to commit to you?  COMMUNICATION.  There’s no big secret.  He’s not a f*cking mind-reader.  TALK with your Seoulmate!  Communication is a tool we all have within our big ol’ bag o’ tricks, but when it comes down to it we rarely feel confident enough to share our feelings effectively.  The biggest flaw in my last relationship is that I felt powerless what it came to expressing my wants and needs.  When I tried to initiate a conversation about things which bothered me, he “was bored” and didn’t want to hear it.  In my mind, my last relationship was just a silly little travel romance in the beginning.  Never in a million years did I think he’d skip out on an epic SEA adventure to come live with me in South Korea.  I didn’t tell him what I needed and wanted right from the start.  When he started weaving dreams of a real future beyond Asia, somewhere we might settle down, I scoffed and moved on.  When I started to believe the fantasy, he pulled away.  We weren’t on the same page at all.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people write notebook diary pages sheet work office pen polaroid pictures photography black book plate coffee tea mug cup novel laptop macbook apple keyboard technology
Photographer: Thought Catalog

Fake News

For someone who “hated social media” as much as he did, he sure checked his instagram likes regularly.  It blew my mind that he thought I was demanding he give up the “opportunity of a lifetime” to come live with me.  It drove me mental that he wrote his younger female travel companion a love letter on Facebook when he took off from Cambodia to come to Korea.  When he left Korea to head home, he shared: “too many people to name.  It’s been emotional.”  I was proud to be with him, yet he tried to hide me.  He was always pleased to be tagged in cool hipster photos at the palace or beachy pics with the lads.  Unfortunately, he refused to acknowledge our life together publicly.  Looking back that should have been a HUGE red flag.  I wanted to shout from the top of every mountain in Korea that I was happy with him, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his own network he had a girlfriend.  It’s such a night and day difference to have an intelligent, accomplished, handsome gent tell me he’s happy to be with me at the top of a mountain we climbed together.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people man woman couple lovers sweet nature trees grass forest trunks
Photographer: Emma Frances Logan Barker

Looking Forward

Maybe this relationship will crash and burn tomorrow.  Maybe it’ll withstand the tests of all the small town (ahem HBC) murmurings.  If you don’t have the exclusivity conversation with your desired partner, then you can’t be angry with him (or her) for continuing to date.  If this person meets someone else with whom they have more in common, you can’t fault them for wanting to pursue a relationship.  You didn’t communicate your desires.  If you’re not getting the answer for which you’ve been searching, then move along.  He’s not going to fall in love with you just because you’ve been hanging around.  It doesn’t matter if you have beer-flavoured nipples.  No matter how much you pretend to love Star Wars, if he doesn’t love what you’re actually into then what kind of foundation are you building?

How to get him to commit?  

Talk to him (or her) for f*cks’ sake!

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