I have been on my share a few gals’ shares of bad dates. Not all necessarily horrific, but enough disappointment and shock and awkwardness for me to think something good had better be coming my way with all the dues I’ve been paying. At the end of 2009, I had one of the most disappointing dating experiences, not because the person was such a monster, but because we were clicking on the phone, via email, over texts, and then in person, it wasn’t there. Even after awkward post-dinner conversation and weird signs that pointed it still wasn’t there, I was willing to try another date to see if there was something there.
Unfortunately, said person chose to start blowing up my phone and inbox with extremely long, needy, slightly crazy messages (I didn’t know my text messages could scroll so far). After being pissed, disappointed, and firmly ending communication with that person, I decided it was time to take a break from dating, go on vacation, and focus elsewhere.
After coming back from vacation, settling back into work, and finally acknowledging my unanswered messages and still active online dating profiles, I decided to casually peek at what’s new, keep my eyes open, and at the very least, keep my message inbox clean. In this process, I came across someone intriguing, who made me laugh, and kept my interest. Email chains got longer, all topics covered seemed simpatico, and phone conversations carried on easily for hours. All was good, but then comes the “first date.”
Looking back to about a year ago, I honestly think I would have been more excited than anything else for a first date following all of these promising signs. But after wanting to swear off dating for months after a person and unhappy experience, I was less excited and more worried. It wasn’t just about how I may come across, what to wear, if he was actually crazy and I didn’t yet know, or anything in the “normal” realm of first date nervousness. My concern was that after all of the good signs, it would just bomb in comparison to the expected greatness. I know that what happens, happens. I felt it couldn’t be all that bad even if there was no chemistry or we found some fundamental disagreement. But I was so much thinking of my last experience, fresh in my head, and all the disappointment I didn’t want to feel. Again. I could still feel the burn and wasn’t up to feeling that again.
All worries aside, I went on the date. I thought of postponing or using some legit excuse as to why not to go at all, but instead took a few deep breaths and went. As hard as it was for me to really separate things in my head, I was able to see my fear was from the past and I got to deal with something new in the present. I really, truly did not want any sort of repeat version of the last letdown. But smacking my present with my past wasn’t fair to me or anyone else involved.
As I sat on my date this week, during after-dinner drinks and still wanting to spend time together, I thought for a moment how I inspired myself by just being there. As much as I am aware that it is silly to have these fears and to make any move based on not wanting to be disappointed, the feelings and reactions within me were so real and distracting. They could have stopped me. I would have justified stopping there to myself. But I chose outside of those feelings and worries triggered from the past. And I’m fine. In fact, the date was better than fine.
Here’s to choosing new in each of our present moments. Cheers!
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