Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Degrees of Separation

in is different than other places.  It just is.  It’s not better or worse.  It’s just different.

I haven’t dated anyone who knew any of my  in over 15 years.  And that wasn’t here in the city.  I was living in the UK then.  If I lived somewhere else, most other places, the dating pool would be smaller and there would be a much greater liklihood that the guys I dated would know each other, at least casually.

This came up last night as I was exchanging emails with a new guy on (which, btw, I’m starting to like).  He mentioned a somewhat obscure interest in his profile and said, “bonus points if you know about this” or something to that effect.  Well, I do know about it, but only because it’s something a guy I used to date is really into.  And that means that Mr. probably knows my ex because the community of people who are into this thing in NYC is really small.

So I mentioned in my email that I knew what he was talking about and that it was because I dated someone who was into it and that the relationship ended on good terms so if me and Mr. OKC hit it off it wouldn’t be too weird.  I wanted to put it all out there because for all I know the two of them are good friends (the ex and I are currently out of touch).

So, if you’re still with me (I know, I’m being really vague, even more vague than usual), here’s the thing -  I’m not really OK with this.  This new guy (Mr. OKC for now) seems really cool.  I’d like to meet him.  We will probably will meet this weekend.  But the idea of him and my ex being friends makes my skin crawl.  Because if he knows my ex then he is suddenly going to know, or think he knows, or assume all kinds of things about me which may or may not be true.  And my ex, bless him, may very well blurt out all kinds of inappropriate things that quite frankly I’d like a guy to find out for himself.

And I know I’m getting ahead of myself because me and Mr. OKC haven’t even met yet and I may not even like him.  And he may not know my ex (unlikely).  And if he does know him they may not be on friendly terms (again, unlikely, the ex is a very friendly guy).  I’m just incredibly freaked out because this is the first time I’ve been in this situation.  Which I know is weird because if I lived somewhere else this would probably be the norm.  Or, at least, not that unusual.  I’m just used to a few more degrees of separation between the men I date.


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17 to “Degrees of Separation”


  1. Veka says:

    Hmmm… Now I really want to know what this “interest” or hobby is! Sounds like a very small world! Hopefully your ex is cool enough to not say certain things to Mr. OKC. Good luck, SG, and let us know how it works out!

  2. Teifion says:

    I had a big disagreement with somebody called Bob. Bob and I shared a friend called Steve. Steve is still both our friends because he doesn’t gossip and knows that though we dislike each other, neither of us are bad people. I hope that your date is like Steve.

  3. starangel82 says:

    I grew up in a very, very, very small town where everyone knows everybody and everybody’s business. In high school, I couldn’t misbehave, because my parents would know what I had done before I got home that night (no, I’m not kidding). So this made dating in high school, college, and even now difficult. I live 45 minutes from my hometown. The place where I live now is bigger than my hometown, but still has the same vibe. There is nothing worse than going on a date with someone from where I live now and once they learn my hometown and have them run down a list of people the know/work with/see on a regular basis that I either grew up with/went to school with/dated/etc. And no one around here is like Teifion’s Steve.

  4. Hypatia says:

    Uh. Yeah. Around my area, not only does everyone know everyone else, you can pretty much bet $100 that anyone you’re dating has already dated one of your friends.

    (That’s why we all love spring! Everyone moves in the spring! Fresh blood!)

  5. starangel82 says:

    Crap. Hit post too soon. So I said all that to say, I know how you feel. I don’t know what it’s like to go on a date without a few degrees of seperation. I’d love to find a guy who just moved to the area from Timbucktoo. You’ll be okay though. I hope you’re ex is adult enough about the situtation to either say only nice things or to not say anything at all. Either way, good luck.

  6. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Veka
    Maybe, if me and Mr. OKC hit it off, I will reveal this interest. Or maybe not. It really might be too much info.
    -Teifion
    Your friend Steve sounds like a decent chap. A role model of sorts.
    -starangel82
    I am scared, very scared. The situation you describe makes me so uncomfortable. I just don’t know how I’d learn to live with it. And my ex – well I ended things because he was just SO immature. Yikes.
    -Hypatia
    OK – and I am so not joking when I ask this – so how do you deal with it.? You too starangel82? If everyone you date knows or has even dated someone you know, how do you cope. Because when I saw this thing on Mr. OKC’s profiles it made me go all sguirmy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Try finding a guy that you really like and he’s friends with at least 5 of your ex’s. The joys of dating ex-fraternity guys.

  8. starangel82 says:

    Sorry, sweetie, I didn’t mean to scare you. I guess I’m just used to it. I just know around here I’m going to end up dating someone who knows someone I know. If I was dating in NYC, I’d be scared. Terrified. I’d have no idea what to do. I don’t know how you deal with it. Take the strength you have for your regular dating life and apply to this situation. Even if your ex is an immature fool, maybe Mr. OKC is a mature fellow who will form his own opinions about you. If not, don’t treat it as ‘oh it’s because he knew my ex’, figure out why you didn’t like the guy. Treat him and think of him as the individual guy he is and not your ex’s friend or the guy who works with the girl you hung out with in high school. That’s how I do it.

  9. derek7272 says:

    Things about you which may or may not be true?? How mysterious.

    Anyway, even if they do know each other, why would your name come up between them? I hardly ever know the full name of my friends’ dates, even after they’ve been seeing each other for months.

  10. luke ethan says:

    Give it a try if you have not experience it before. it may even work out after this matter is bring out on the table and sorted out in the first date else it always be hanging there.

  11. HyperDuke says:

    I wanna take a guess at what this interest is…
    Are They Furries??? You know like when ppl get in Animal costumes and do Adult things, its called a “Fur Pile”

    Or is it beastility…? Does he want to or does he want u to have intercourse with animals such as:
    Horses, ponys, Donkies, Dogs?

    am i even close?

  12. aGirlNamedMe says:

    What about trying to find out before you meet if Mr OKCupid knows your ex. Then, at least you’ll have more information and will be able to make an informed decision about whether to proceed or not?

    But..really…unless there is something horrrrrible that your ex would reveal, it’s going to be ok.

    I’m guessing they are both in their mid-30s or even a little older. I don’t think men of this age kiss and tell so much.

    xoxo
    AGirlNamedMe

  13. Shannia says:

    Living in a big city myself this has never happened to me, I don’t know how I would react too. I think you need to just go with the flow, if he’s mature, he’ll know not to trust what an ex says about you and will get to know you, and really, if not, you’re better off.

  14. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Anonymous
    I could NEVER do that. I’m not being judgmental – whatever makes you happy is cool with me. But I’d shoot myself in the head first.
    -starangel82
    You’re right in that I have to treat him as an individual and make no assumptions. And assume he’ll do the same for me.
    -derek7272
    I’m actually not assuming my name with come up. More like I’m concerned that because of things who my ex is and things he does and has done that Mr. OKC will make blanket assumptions about who I am, etc. Whatever.
    -luke ethan
    You’re right. I just have to move forward and be open to talking about it and resolving it on my own terms.
    -HyperDuke
    Nope. Not even close. Funny as hell, but not even close.
    -AGirlNamedMe
    LOL, it hadn’t even occured to me to call the ex and just talk to him first. I’m going to think about that. And like I said to derek – it’s not the kissing and telling that would freak me out – it’s the potential assumptions made about me (ex is a character with a capital C).
    -Shannia
    So I’m not alone in thinking this is awkward? Cool. I like when I find out that my feelings are not completely bizarre. Yeah, I’m just going to have to roll with it and see how it works out :-)

  15. derek7272 says:

    I am still confused. If your name wouldn’t come up between your ex and Mr. OKC, then how would he know that you two were ever together? Unless you made a point of telling him?

  16. SINgleGIRL says:

    -derek7272
    I already mentioned to him that I was familiar with his obscure interest because of an ex. I don’t plan on bringing it up again. And if he doesn’t bring it up again then we’re cool. But I am guessing that it will come up again and then he’ll ask, what’s his name. And then…

  17. Hypatia says:

    How to deal with it…. Hmmm, this may not be helpful to you because we do what it sounds like you don’t want this guy to do… We trade tips.

    Hey, frankly, I think it cuts down on the bad dates… If Npapaya has gone out with a guy and she found him boring because all he talked about was Star Trek… Hey! That’s a bonus for me! I can debate the merits of TNG vs TOS all day long! (Yes, I’m a loser.) And vice versa… so, we’ll all go out with people that aren’t quite right for us, but we’ll keep them in mind for our friends in case it might work better for them.

    Note- this is all with casual dating… it gets a little weirder if it ends up being someone one of my friends has slept with… in which case, that’s a total no-go.