Guest Post Wednesday: Is This Real Life? Alex Ripley

This is long overdue. So long that I’ve gotten used to the weekly emails from Chloe begging for a love life update, but I’m finally coming through on my promise to deliver. Admittedly, I’ve been nearly 100% AWOL from tweeting my exploits over @AlexRipleyDates. Here’s why: About the same time I became single, I also took a special assignment for work. A pretty lightweight assignment that afforded me tons of free time to start Chloe-Cline-ing my exploits as a single dude in the city. Right around the time things were getting hot and heavy with the cardiologist I got back into my normal routine of being, you know…busy and stuff. So while I haven’t been live-tweeting my inner-dating-monologue there have been some interesting developments in my love life. The Cardiologist

Almost as quickly as things heated up with the cardiologist, they fizzled out. She was always referring to she and her co-workers as “scientist-types” and I always brushed it off. However, a few weeks in, I started to realize that I get along a little better with women who are slightly more emotionally intelligent than my sweet cardiologist. I loved her intellect, her passion for her work, and her nerdy, nervous sense of humor, but I knew in my heart (and after a very clinical HJ one evening) that it just wasn’t going to work out. NYC
After my NYC Tinder friend visited me in Chicago, I got a little trigger shy with starting a long-distance thing. She also had too many tendencies that reminded me of my Jewish mother. When I mentioned to her over the phone that I could tell my feelings were changing, she made a reference to my Instagram photos. She had gone ahead and interpreted some things about my last relationship from MY EFFING INSTAGRAM FEED and chalked up any trepidation I was feeling to the all-telling photo of my ex and I dressed as Mexican banditos from last Halloween. Nice try, Sherlock. Its not her, it’s you. NYC #2
A little more than a month ago, there was a convention that brings many out-of-towners from my firm into Chicago for a long weekend. I have several friends from different work outposts across the U.S. that use that weekend as an excuse to let me be their Chicago tour guide for three days. One of those co-workers and I have had a three-year friendship that has bordered on a professional crush. We met for dinner the first night she was in town, and it moved quickly from professional crush to full on making out at the bar at Au Cheval. What followed was a lost weekend in Chicago. We were inseparable for three days, started calling each other “baby.” I was spiraling into some weird relationshipy vortex with this girl. The day she went back to New York City, I booked a flight out to see her for a few weekends later. To be continued… IRL
In. Real. Life. Or, IRL as people in the world of dating commentary call it means meeting someone off the grid of online dating. I’d been so engrossed with the world of OkCupid and Tinder that I forgot how great it was to meet someone IRL. The same weekend that NYC #2 was in Chicago, I was the guest of a high-end vendor at classy gala event for AIDS research. As cocktail hour wound down, I made my way to my assigned table. I chose a random seat and started chatting with a girl seated to my right. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone take the seat to my left. At a break in the conversation, I turned to politely introduce myself to my new seat-mate. There are a million superlatives I could use to describe the first time I met IRL but I don’t know if they would do her justice. After introducing myself, we entered into a bubble for the rest of the evening, completely losing track of space, time, and the guy spilling his guts to the room about his work with AIDS patients. (Sorry!) We had an instant chemistry that I haven’t felt… um, ever? It was alarming for both of us. By the end of the night, we were in deep “like” with each other. We made plans to go out later that week and by the end of the evening we were already furiously texting each other with witty abandon. The Conclusion (not a nickname for someone I slept with)
In the interim between my booked trip to visit NYC #2 I fell hard for IRL. In fact, it was a mutual feeling. We kept telling each other we wanted to take things slow with each other, seemingly only so we could laugh about how stupid-bad we wanted to spend all our time together. By the time my trip to NYC was upon us, I was head over heels for this woman. Problem: I had booked this trip to New York to have a love rendezvous with a co-worker. Uh. Oh. I took the trip to New York to visit my “friend” and decided that I would be honest with my co-worker. While I was staying with her, I told her that I wasn’t looking for a relationship and definitely not another one with a co-worker. She was somewhat understanding, but slightly unnerved because there was legitimate chemistry between the two of us, just not anything close to what I have with IRL.  Here’s where I’m going with all this (I think). When I met IRL, everyone, and almost everything fell by the wayside. We instantly clicked and it felt right. All these other girls I was seeing or had been seeing were lovely people but no one that made me pause and say, “There is no one else I want but you.” Throughout the last five months of dating, there were moments where I felt bad about seeing more than a few people at once – but what else is there to do if you aren’t emotionally or physically committed to just one person? Could I have been happy with any of the nicknamed females above? Yes. Would I have ultimately been settling? Yes. This entire time I was on a search for a person who gave me hope that I could find that loving feeling again. It’s too early to tell where things with IRL will lead but I’m getting all tingly thinking about the possibilities. When you delete all the online dating apps from your phone. You know it’s real.

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