It’s been seven months since my return from the land of morning calm (Korea, dweebs). In that time I’ve tried to date as much as possible, if only to provide you lovely Seouls with fresh content so you can feel better about your lives as we go into the cold, winter months. I thought Itaewon was bad for guys and girls alike furiously swiping left and right while at a bar full of decent-looking, age appropriate humans with at least the common expat connection. No, no – Toronto is far worse for tinder tendinitis.
Double-Dipping for Dating
I got pretty lucky meeting the hot, young, Italian 3-minute Stallion. I met a guy who flew all the way to Jamaica for some fatherly advice after we got “too intimate too quickly” (read: we went on 3 dates that week and he met my roommate’s dog). There was a carpenter, but if you’ve been reading for a while then you know there’s only one carpenter in my heart (and no, it’s not JC). Beyond that, I’ve yet to really date the same dude twice – except I did.
Keep in mind that I had been living on the other side of the planet for 3 years when I tell you this story. I thought the pictures were kind of familiar, but I just didn’t put two and two together. It was like a bad episode of “How I Met Your Mother”. There I was sitting in a booth at The Drake Hotel (a popular West Queen West spot) and my date walked in. He wasn’t anything to write home about, but I probably wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed either. Then, he opened his mouth and it all came flooding back. After 3 years, he still told me the same stories about his 1 trip to Poland (tldr: he got drunk the whole time and saw no historical attractions). My date was still bragging about buying his condo with 0% down.
I’ve Learned Nothing
Was this a trap? Did he know that I knew who he was? Was he pretending we had never met before, too? This was the first time I had doubled-down on a dreadful date. Are there really so few single men in this city? Have I completed the circle and come back to the start?
I’m not the girl I used to be. The manic pixie dream girl you fell in love with on a moonlit night en route through sandy streets to 7-11 exists somewhere, but she’s not here. The stressed out, overworked, manic, afraid of failure girl you loved because you had to isn’t here either. I’m back in Canada where there’s no mania whatsoever. Honestly – I feel as though I must be crazy for holding onto this, but my life is so well-balanced and normal that it can’t be. I’ve either become completely boring or am walking the long line of a plateau; on the precipice of something great.
I wake up and start my day with a light workout. I go to work and count my calories. After work sometimes I’ll go to boxing and sometimes I’ll make plans with a friend. Every two weeks I pay off my credit card and put money into a tax-free savings account. I’m now 31 and this is what you do here even though the notion that I’ll ever produce anything with my measly savings is one hell of a pipe dream. Occasionally I’ll go on a blind date because its next to impossible to meet someone organically. I’ll typically never see the person again and consider it time wasted on the search to find your replacement.
Have you ever tried to replace a love which has moved you so deeply that it changed the way you approach every element of your life? The kind of love that can shake you to your core with memories of its intensity? I have. I was pretty successful too for a 4-month stint because I found someone who was even more afraid of being on his own than I.
For most of my life I was a lone wolf. I was more concerned with getting ahead in my career than finding a partner. I dated, sure, but I had never felt like a piece of myself or my heart was missing until my trip to Thailand in 2016. I was free before I met him, and now i’m scared I’ll never feel free or love/ be loved the same way ever again. It was my 29th birthday and I met the puzzle piece I never knew I was missing at a hostel on the beach in Phuket. After a week together I grit my teeth and made my way back to Korea and feeling emotional pain unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life.
When he made the leap of faith and moved to Korea to be with me, I didn’t know how to be thankful in a humble way. I didn’t know how to love him without smothering him and unintentionally pushing him away. It was such a foreign concept to me that someone like that could make such a sacrifice for me, that every day was worth celebrating. Colours were brighter. Food tasted better. Parties needed to last all night because why wouldn’t everyone want to rejoice in my newfound discovery?
It was exhausting for us both, eventually, and when he left I felt a pain even more excruciating than before. It stayed with me for another 4 months through which time I must have dyed my hair 10 times and blacked out even more.
Then at the beginning of MarchI met someone. He was still in a long-distance relationship at the time, but I had had no idea. We didn’t have that much in common, but he kept me on a schedule which improved my health and pulled me out of the darkness. He told me his mother always said he was a white knight to maidens in distress. I never imagined that my darkness would take me that low. Eventually I regained my footing and my strength. Of course that was a turn-off for him, and he sought another insecure woman. My replacement had replaced me. You told me you always thought he looked weird.
Looking back to that time in Thailand when we had just met, I remember something he said then reiterated the day he moved in with me in Korea and about a year after we broke up. He had told me about this theory that some people were built for one another. I laughed it off because he told it to me in far more graphic terms than I’m explaining here (more emphasis on the body than the soul 🍆), but feeling the need to repeat it one last time when we were both in replacement relationships something I still just can’t shake.
I often wonder: if so many of us are just replacing our missing puzzle pieces, has the other half of my heart just found a band-aid he can’t bear to rip? Are you putting a square peg in a round hole because you’re too scared to be lonely or too stubborn and afraid to admit you made a mistake?
Now that I’m back in Toronto I’m trying to assess the dating pool from the outside looking in. While I’m more focused onfinding a jobthan a date (current job ✓, new job August 20th ✓), my gal pals are on the prowl. I’ve returned from Korea to find I only have a handful of single male friends. It seems like I have more single female friends in my age-group than ever, and they are all experiencing the same problem. Is it that Toronto men are scared of commitment or scared of a confident, successful woman? Let’s take a look at some examples of my single pals and other gals dating in Toronto.
Dating in Toronto: Lisa
Lisa and I have known one another for over 10 years. She’s got a pretty dominant personality at first, but is pretty chilled out and easygoing when it comes to making plans. She finished her MBA a few years ago and has taken on a senior role at a start up. She’s passionate about her work, her dog, and her family. I haven’t seen my friend Lisa in 4 months. Why? Well, she’s been pretty heavily into the Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid scenes. For her, Dating in Toronto is a full-time job, too. She’s met a pretty attractive man who seems to take up a lot of her time, yet another commitment-phobe, plus she’s juggling a gazillion first dates. Seems like she’s collecting a variety of styles, throwing them at the wall, and just seeing what sticks. So far she hasn’t really gotten anywhere, and I haven’t really seen my friend!
Dating in Toronto: Abby
Abby is 25. She goes out every Friday to the exact same bar hoping to find a husband. I shit you not, this girl honestly thinks that the first guy who doesn’t back away when she smashes her face into his is going to make for a great provider for her 2.5 children, dog, and white picket fence in Thornhill. Abby joined ultimate frisbee because she thought it would be a great way for her to meet guys. She does it all for the ‘gram. She captions with the likes of “your vibe attracts your tribe” on a picture of a group of people who don’t actually know one another. With someone like Abby, you can’t share your interest in a particular member of the opposite sex. She will undermine any sort of connection you had by trotting over, tits out, making the game real easy for ya man over there. Why work an hour for $100 when someone’s dangling a $20 note in your face, right? She gets off on creating competition with her remaining female friends. She’s a juvenile, insecure, little girl who needs the validation of strange men more than the loyalty and support of gal pals. Don’t be an Abby, don’t take home an Abby, don’t befriend an Abby.
Dating in Toronto: Jessica
Jessica has a revolving door of men. She keeps 2 or 3 in play and has a whole bunch of guys on the bench. She climbed the corporate ladder quickly at the same company for the last 8 years. Recently, she bought a condo and furnished it exactly the way she wanted having lived in a shitty, run-down old building for most of her time in Toronto. Dating in Toronto changed a lot for Jessica when she made the move. All of a sudden the dudes who were freelancing and bartending on the side felt the need to get their shit together and move on up in the world. Jessica was finally showing the wealth she had accumulated, and these guys were not into it. The two men she’s currently dating have told her those three little words over and over again (“I love you”, for those of us who are jaded). Neither of them want to date exclusively. It’s sad, but when you’re dating in Toronto everyone is always on the look-out for something better. They could have their perfect man or woman doing naked back-flips in their front yard, but unless they put down the phone they’ll remain completely oblivious.
Dating in Toronto – Candidly Cartier
So what’s the secret to actually meeting someone in Canada’s largest city? I thought it would be easier than my experiences in Korea seeing as there are more native English speakers here and many of us grew up with similar cultural backgrounds. In reality, it’s far more difficult. Why is dating in Toronto so obnoxious? When I met Adonis, it was an instant connection. Our wifi signal was weak and I can honestly say, for me, it was love at first sight. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away, and even thousands of miles apart I still feel like we’re connected. With ex-Co-Pilot it was easy, too. I begrudgingly met him after a series of crappy first dates and it was a “right place, right time” situation. He was absolutely incapable of being alone, and I needed a band-aid. Now I’m in a situation where I have a great apartment, great job, and some great friends. I’m no longer working as a conventionally “female” gender role (as a teacher), and the intimidation factor is out of control when you’re dating in Toronto.
Dating in Toronto is Exhausting
I’m too tired to get dolled up and go out on Friday nights. I’d muuuuuch rather Netflix and Chill. Going out clothes sold here are either hoochie-mama bralets and booty shorts or totally binding triacetate-polyester blend urban professional attire. There is no in between, anymore. My feet hurt. Doing my hair and makeup, stuffing myself into spanx, then trying to get that dang zipper up by myself is exhausting – and for what? All you see at these meet markets are people trying to get the bartender’s attention or simply sitting in a corner and swiping all night.
Swipe for Your Life
Speaking of swiping, I’ve been out on my fair share of first and second dates having met through a dating app. My aforementioned friends and I get the same message each and every time we opt to keep our legs together for more then a couple of dates. “I think you’re looking to take things a little slower than me. I’m looking for something more casual.” Sir, I’ve met you twice. It’s entirely unfair to imagine that you know what I want. It’s cocky to think that you’re such a stud that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with you after seeing you in two different outfits. Also, it’s pretty pathetic that apparently I’m only good enough to be your booty-call. I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt after your horrendous first kiss because we had good banter. I’m starting to think that these morons just want their tinder date to turn up and bend over before agreeing to ever meet again.
A Girl’s Gotta Eat
These guys seem to think that I want the ring, the house, and the 2.5 kids immediately. It’s not that I want something serious, I just want something consistent. I’m starting a new job and have a pretty full schedule, but a girl’s gotta eat, right? Realistically, I’d like to have a companion with whom to do absolutely nothing on Friday nights, and maybe to go hiking with on Saturday mornings. I like breakfast in bed, too. Yeah – I’ll make it. Don’t get up. There’s still so much of the world to see, and I’m plenty happy as a solo traveler. If you’re along for the ride, great. Please don’t assume to know what I want. Don’t dismiss me simply because you’re intimidated or a Toronto man scared of the first inkling of commitment.
We all do it. Social Media makes it easier than ever to look up how our loved ones past and present are doing. Are they living their best lives? How happy are they? It seems when I’ve finally met someone new, the ghosts of lost loves past have their interests piqued. When I started dating my most recent ex, it breathed life into a few poltergeists. The man I’ll probably always consider to be the first great love of my life reached out. He said everything that I had needed and so desperately craved hearing, albeit all a little too late. I was honest about our communication with my new partner, and he was honest (well…to a point) about his. When I was living with the Adonis, he would call his ex while I was at work. What did I care if they spoke? They dated for 7 years – she was a huge part of his life and he was important to her. She was also roughly 9,000 km away. How much harm could she really do from that great a distance? I think I’d be more worried if he wasn’t interested in her well-being and didn’t want to maintain mutual respect.
Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
In a new relationship, it’s tempting to look back on your partner’s old ones. Are you part of a trend or are you different, special – an outlier? Are you far enough outside the particular set of previous patterns and failures to stand the test of time? A jealous, pissed off, or threatened woman does better research than the FBI, CIA and Secret Service combined. When in a budding relationship I was contacted by my (then new) boyfriend’s ex stating that he had cheated on the previous two. She told me I was becoming a symptom of a much bigger problem. I, of course, dismissed it at the time. He told me just enough to make it seem like we had an open and honest relationship. I was completely transparent. When his pattern reemerged several months later, you had better bet I quickly learned about RSS feeds, source, input, and the ease of info gathering online. I did it because I sensed a problem. I had an underlying insecurity about the state of our relationship. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and unfortunately got more than I bargained for.
Poking Holes in More Than Just the Story
What about the longstanding current girlfriend, fiance, or even wife, though? I mean, she’s already won. What use is it to look back on something which ended so very long ago? On one hand, I can see that she means no harm. She’s just curious about our history together. How far down the line is it normal or healthy to creep? Why does my ex boyfriend’s current love want to know about my daily activities now when he and I ceased all contact 7 months ago? I’m sure there’s a small part where the “winner” can take perverse pleasure in popping up and rubbing it in your face that she’s enjoying your old memories. Is there trouble in paradise or does she just want to lord her “success” over me without ever having to exchange words?
When you’ve finally met someone new and are enjoying learning all about him, she’s there to drudge up the past. At least when a man’s 6th sense kicks in, you might get closure. When woman’s sick sense starts tingling, everyone just ends up shaken. It’s better on both sides to leave well enough alone.
To my exes’ new girlfriends and wives: ladies, if you’re really that curious about me, reach out! I’d rather be cool with your creeping than completely unnerved. If that’s not your jam, please have the decency to use a fake account. You don’t need him to block me. You don’t need to control with whom he communicates. The women before me prepared him to love you. If your relationship is strong, it’s due in part to the fact that I made him ready to love you and that you’re a better fit together than we ever could have been. The hell he and I went through together doesn’t negate the joy you have now. It’s not in spite of it, it’s because of it. We worked through issues together that have made him a more considerate boyfriend or husband for you. They will hopefully have helped make me a better partner in my next relationship, too.
To my readers: If your man is communicative, caring, and observant, chances are there’s a mother, sister, or ex-girlfriend who helped him along the way. There’s not a single ex-boyfriend of mine with whom I’d want to get back together, but I have a genuine interest in their well-being. Don’t try to police your significant other’s communication. If he’s friendly with his ex and a better man with you than he was with her, you might even want to buy her a bottle of wine.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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, androcky 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…
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ahealthy, 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.
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, SproutSeoul, 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!
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.
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 notwant 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…
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.
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 beenand 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!
Why Do They DO That?!: Who Pays on the First Date?
This new series entitled “Why Do They DO That?!” (henceforth: “WDTDT”) is all about the things that some men do which baffle women. On wine nights the ladies have gone through it all. We’ve asked “why would he go back to her?”, “why won’t he call/ text?”, “why won’t he kiss me if he says he likes me?”, etc. The thing that baffles me the most is what they won’t do, or the sneaky and conniving things that some men do. This leads me to the age old question (for our generation, at least), “Who Pays on the First Date?”
This is a situation I’ve encountered first-hand, but have heard from other gal pals as well. I find that this is particularly prevalent with guys you meet online. Whether it be Tinder, POF, OK Cupid, or even instagram, these particular guys have a heavy rotation for a specific reason. You chat for a bit online and he suggests meeting up. He suggests a trendy new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Great! You share a couple of dishes and he either says he’s not going to drink at all or he has a cheap bottle beer. Trying to match the vibe of the date, you either have the same beer, something of the same value, or water. You don’t want to go overboard, right? You don’t want him thinking you’re some sort of alcoholic or that you’d win first prize in a pie-eating contest.
You finish up, you’re still a bit hungry, and he suggests you move on to the next spot. Awesome! He wants to spend more time with you. He likes you! What you may or may not realize is that in your effort to be polite and accommodating, he’s been in control the whole time. He grabs the cheque, you pull out your wallet, and he insists on paying. Ever so sweetly and carefully he lulls, “you can get the next one”. Why do they DO that?! I think you know why…
Your next spot is uber hip with a great atmosphere, low lights, and expensive cocktails. He’s pulled this trick before and wants you to foot the bill for his top shelf Boulevardiers. This might be the point at which you’re tuned into his ploy, it might not. Most girls I know don’t want to poke the bear, so instead of saying something we’ll go along with it and balance out his suddenly extravagant tastes with house wine or draft beer. While he’s downing two at once, you’re pacing yourself.
In this situation, you’re both paying. That said, you’re paying through the nose for his wild night out since he’s made the initial investment. This has actually happened to a friend of mine and me in Seoul with the same guy. She’s had some bad luck having also been out on a date with The Military Man(yep – Mr. Cherry Freak himself), too. This guy has the same M.O. each time: he takes the girl for Korean Barbecue, orders some soju (maybe $2 a bottle?), eagerly foots the bill, and then suggests much pricier spots in Gangnam. When the remaining cheque(s) arrive, he sits back, sneers, and gives the same line without missing a beat, “your turn”.
I think that in this day in age, especially if you’re both teachers in Korea making the same salary, it’s ideal to go Dutch. If you’re in a relationship show that you care for one another by thoughtfully bringing over his favourite beer or wine for movie night. Never arrive at someone’s place empty-handed. This is pretty much a rule whether you’re dating or not (and with men and women, alike). If you are dating, go back and forth, but don’t be a doormat (that one goes for guys and girls, too). A relationship is a partnership. If you want a sugar-daddy (or a sugar-mama!) there are plenty in and around Seoul. If you want a partnership, however, it’s a two way street, ladies and gents.
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Have you been out with someone who played you with the line, “Your turn”? Have you felt like you were completely missing your backbone in that situation? Let us know in the comments!
We have a tendency to get a little bit lonely living abroad. Expat dating can be tough! It’s not always easy to meet someone who speaks English, and if you haven’t been somewhere long then your foreign language skills might not be strong enough for the dating world. Men we’ve met while living abroad and trying to feign off loneliness haven’t all been bad. The stereotypes represented are just that, stereotypes and generalizations, so please take this all with a grain of salt and a bit of a laugh. Before you go locking up your love and throwing away the key, see if you notice any similarities herein. This is all about the very worst of the worst: The 7 Worst Guys an Expat can Date. Click on the links to expand your expat dating horizons…
This guy just wants to date someone foreign he can show off to his friends. It’ll be a fleeting romance and a shot expat dating experience. You’ll wonder what exactly you both were thinking. In Korea, they call this phenomenon “Riding the White Horse”. I’ll leave you and your imagination to that one. This isn’t always the case, of course, but as a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I’ve found more often than not this type of local’s intentions are pretty transparent, and they’re simply not for me.
This fellow might come from a country with a less than ideal passport situation and is looking to change that through expat dating. Alternatively, he might have visions of moving to a different country for fame and fortune. The Green Monster just wants you for your connection to your home and native land, land of hope and glory, or the home of the brave (most likely the latter, in my experience).
The Military Man tends to want to settle down. Being deployed over and over again means he’s a lone wolf. More often than not he’s “exclusively dating” a few lovely ladies. They really do want to have their white picket fence and 2.5 kids, but the struggle is real when living in what amount to dorm rooms. If you find a diamond in the rough, he will be the most loyal, caring gentleman in the world. The standard review of the Military Man is that he’s a dirty dawg.
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 a charming personality. Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete or fraternity brother. He’s got natural game and women everywhere swoon. He’s never settling down in one place, and for him you’ll never been enough.
Like the Eternal Expat, The Lifer doesn’t want to return home for fear he’ll just never have it as good. He’s a 6 at home, but a 10 abroad. Out every night of the week, he’s got a local girlfriend, but still crushes Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid on the regular. With expat dates across the city during the week, he’s got a locally-sourced meal every Sunday night.
The LBH or “loser back home” is a nightmare for both expats and travelers alike. This guy has no social skills, but collects friends like Pokemon cards (note: he’s got a fat stack of those back home, too). He’s likely well-educated (at least a Bachelor’s degree) and assumes that because he’s foreign (read between the lines here, ladies) he’s got something over the rest of the males in the country. He’s not picking up the cheque anytime soon (which is fine, but let’s at least go Dutch) because he’s got massive student loans in arrears. He probably has an acoustic guitar at home and has learned to play all of 3 chords. Avoid this one like the plague…his friends are way cooler than he.
This one shouldn’t be avoided altogether, but you must know upon entry that your risk of heartbreak is about 90%. Meeting in vacation mode gives you the opportunity to live without the stress of work and other responsibilities at home. You both are at your best around one another. You’re swept up in the bliss of being in a new place with new adventures at every turn. Give in to the Travel Romance, just don’t give away your heart completely while Expat Dating. It will fly away to the other side of the planet to taunt you with ransom letters every time your time-zones allow you to connect. Mine has now moved to Sweden to date a “woman” ten years his junior. I’m mortified…
Have you had an expat dating experience or travel romance which has stood the test of time? Make sure to leave a comment below! If you’re in Korea, check out this list of stellar date spots in Seoul. From the budding romance to a tale as old as time, The Toronto Seoulcialite has got you covered.