I have to admit, it’s been really tough getting back into a mindset of dating. My last serious relationship was more than three years ago, and it ended around the same time that I went through a major and unexpected career change. Needless to say, with the grand mix of fear, anxiety, and heartbreak, I was in no place to successfully participate in any first dates without having an emotional breakdown in front some poor, unsuspecting male.
This year, however, I’ve been able to go on a few rather pleasant dates with some really upstanding gentleman. In fact, one date in particular stands out because though we hardly knew much about each other, we talked so much that I started to feel like we were long lost friends.
It was a pretty textbook date: dinner, drinks, and lots of “getting to know you” conversation. After dinner we walked back to his car to head home. I loved that he opened the door for me, and as he walked around to his side of the car, I quickly leaned over to open his door because I watched “A Bronx Tale” last year and I love how excited the boy gets when his date leans over to unlock his door. Of course, with technology and all, the door to his car was already unlocked, but I popped it open anyway just in case he’d seen that movie.
When we got back to my place, he didn’t just ask me to “tuck and roll” like other dudes I’ve dated. He actually pulled over and got out to give me a hug. I quickly warned, “Okay, I’m gonna kiss you on the cheek.” When I did, he kissed mine as well and gave me the best hug ever.
Going on a good date produces a feeling that none of my antidepressants ever could. I was elated once I got inside my house and I couldn’t wipe a stupid grin off my face. This guy was genuine during conversation and a gentleman the whole time.
Whether it leads to anything or not, it updated the standards I have to set for what I should expect when spending time with men. Dating is tough and most of us know this first hand because a lot of the time, the experiences are hit or miss. You never know for sure if you’re going to come home pleased or disappointed.
One thing is for sure, I’ve taught myself to enjoy the rush of happiness and then put myself back into a realistic state of mind. I’ve listened to friends who share stories about great first dates but then suffer the sting of disappointment when they aren’t asked out for a second date. Then this disappointment transfers over so it taints all new possibilities for first dates. I loved the time I spent with the person I described, but if it never happens again, it wasn’t in vain and it won’t mean that I’m in some way deficient.
Unfortunately, too many women will feel as though the absence of a second date makes them somehow not good enough to compel men to ask them out again. It is wrong to feel this way because we can’t know what is happening in that person’s life. Sometimes men are fully aware of their own bad timing and they know things won’t progress with every woman they date, no matter how amazing she is. Sometimes, we are the woman who came in at just the wrong moment, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the enjoyment of a decent first date. It should stand to be valued on its own regardless of a follow up date.
In the past, my relationships with men were always fast-paced and passionate. It was fun, but now I’ve learned that there doesn’t need to be an immediate spark, nor do I need to see the person as soon as the next night. Sometimes it is weeks before I see someone again, maybe months. It’s what I do with the time in between that teaches me a lot about what I’m doing with my life. This includes how much attention I am directing to activities that are going to help make me a better, stronger, more intelligent woman.
Am I dying to see him again? Not literally, but yes, I would totally be up for performing some kind of pagan rite and luring him into my web of seduction. I’d love to get to the part where I spend Saturday nights with a cool guy, watching movies at his place instead of being bored to tears on some weekends.
But if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean that it never will. Dating really requires a lot of flexibility in one’s personality. You have to be okay with the fact that even an awesome first date doesn’t guarantee you’ve found “The One.” Sometimes it’s even okay to ask him out for the second date so that any qualms he had about whether you like him are eased. And if it takes a hundred great first dates before an amazing second (even third) date comes out of one of them, so be it.