2020: I Dated More During a Global Pandemic Than I Did the Last 2 Years

Toronto Dating Stories

I’m 33 and a half and am still single. I know – shocker! As we wind down the year, I tend to be reflective. All year I’ve been telling people that 2020 wasn’t as bad as 2019, because 2019 really and truly was a shit year for me and plenty of people I know. The end of 2020 is really giving me a run for my money, however.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’d say it takes at least 2 years to really ground yourself in new surroundings. Even though I’m a Torontonian born and raised (yes, real Toronto, not GTA) every time I’ve returned it’s been like I’m brand new and all kinds of lost. 2018 and 2019 I met a lot of people, and in 2020 it appears I’ve tried a few on for size at boyfriend auditions.

Toronto Dating Stories

I’ve met some really shitty people here. I’m sad to say my hometown is full of ’em. Hell – I’ve been a pretty shitty person on plenty of occasions. Perhaps that’s why I was recently the target of a catfishing affair. I think I know who it was. This person will feel very vindicated for the aforementioned declaration that I was a shitty person, but in that scenario I was only the villain because they adore playing the victim. They are selfish and toxic and though I’m sad to have had to create a boundary with them, I really don’t miss their energy and how it effected me. Scroll down to the end for more on that *fun* story time.

Toronto Dating Stories

Since February 2020 I’ve lived alone. My home office from which I’ve worked for the past 9 months is 5 feet away from my bed. My “home gym” consisting of two pathetic free weights, a kettle bell, and a stationary bike I had the foresight to buy the first week of the pandemic are tucked away kiddie-corner ten feet from my bed. It’s close quarters here and hard to feel lonely because imagining more than one person’s stuff in this space makes my muscles tense and my heart beat faster than I’d like. Still, this year I’ve dated more than the last two.

Toronto Dating Stories

2020 has been a busy year for finding out exactly who and what I don’t want. Maybe I’ll feel possessed to make this a series down the line, so let’s make a link-able list:

  • Before I moved, I gave the newly-minted lawyer with mommy issues another try. Once was enough this year.
  • My self-proclaimed “Crazy Rich Asian” made appearances up until May, but after two and a half years it just wasn’t going to go anywhere.
  • There was the guy who showed up drunk and heckled the headliner at a comedy bar designed for stoners (genuinely – the quietest comedy bar in existence) pre-covid.
  • Virtual dates never amounted to anything, but made me feel like I was doing something new and cool during a time where the entire world was on pause.
  • One virtual date escalated to a socially distant walk. He talked about toilet paper brands for at least 4 blocks.
  • There was the Hollywood Director who came back to Toronto to finish his feature film. He had ghosted me in November 2019 and by June 2020 was ready to make amends. Candidly – his movie sounds corny with overdone themes. He was so comfortable to be around and I really did like him. Alas, if it could have turned out any other way it would have.
  • The psychiatrist who just wanted to make out on TikTok (I wish this one was a joke, but he’s up there).
  • Mac – the one who ruined Thanksgiving had me commit to exclusivity because of covid while he was putting his dick in whatever would let him up at Yonge & Eglinton. Not giving it up has done me no favours.
  • The date who drove to a coffee shop a 5 minute walk from his place only for me to cut things short after 3 blocks of our “distance date”.
  • A personal trainer who wanted to appear “woke”, but really, really enjoyed his male/ white privilege. Tons of Daddy issues with this one.
  • Kiwi, who I’m pretty sure had the best of intentions, but thought Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and leaving me on read for 3 weeks were pretty cool. Granted, I was in Vancouver for a weekend and didn’t reach out either, but I had kind of assumed things were over.
  • A dude whose entire personality was board games.
  • The one who brought red wine from the freezer and wanted to make-out in a TTC roundabout 15 minutes after meeting.
  • 13 year itch. When I lived in Vancouver this dude took up all the real estate in my heart and mind. He found out I was visiting and asked me out, but bailed the day of, only to attempt a 1:30 AM booty call. Nah, b.
  • A commodities trader who walked with me at a safe distance, then took me somewhere with Christmas lights, Frank Sinatra, and bad dance moves. He claimed there was no spark and he didn’t want to see me the next day. It’s cool – I don’t what what doesn’t want me.
  • The worst texter on the planet. We’re still kind of seeing one another, but I figured if he didn’t text me “Merry Christmas” I’d release the ghost. He did reach out. Santa was good to him. We’ll see if he decides to reach out in 2021.
  • The Catfish. I didn’t send him (her?) any naughty pictures or incriminating information, so sorry if you thought this would be juicier! Just disappointing to have been targeted – especially during the holidays.
@thatgirlcartierStory time/ ##tiktokdoyourmagicplease ##tiktokdoyourthing ##catfished ##catfishedandghosted ##catfishedchallenge ##toronto ##yyz ##dating♬ Whoopty – CJ

Toronto Dating Stories

So there you have it. I may have forgotten some other really boring distance dates (or pre-covid dates – I can barely remember a world without masks and eau de sanitizer), but you have the gist of it all. I have certainly learned what I absolutely do not want, as well as what I do. First and foremost, the vaccine. Baby, I want it. If it was on Tinder I’d swipe right in a heartbeat. Hit me with that love shot, ASAP. Secondly, I’d like an adult man with a kind heart, good communication skills, ambition, and who can make me laugh. My inner child is in a state of perpetual panic these days, so I’m looking for that twin-flame energy that can put my heart, mind, and body at ease. Pretty eyes and nice arms wouldn’t be the worst either.

Cocktails, Highballs, Drinks, Toronto

While most of my closest friends are already happily married and quite established, one of my dearest friends is newly single. Normally, I’d have taken her out to shamelessly flirt with cute boys we’ll never, ever see again. I’d have told her to hold off on downloading the hell-on-Earth apps until absolutely necessary. Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, let’s do this dance – preferably on a table at 2Cats vibrating at just the right frequency so that next year I’m only dating the one.

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

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.