Post-First Date Reflections

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.

He will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine.

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.

Featured Image by Hendro on DeviantArt

  • Rachel Casey

    yey LOVED THIS!! just as much as I love the “great first date” rush or the smitten kitten tummy butterflies. Legs, fingers, toes and arms crossed you get to see him again soon xx

    • Marianna Tabares

      Gosh I hope that works. I’d love to see him again :) My fingers have been crossed for a while now.

  • Jessica Day

    Excellent article! Bonus points for the batman pic at the end :)

  • Cassie Bergman

    True!!! You said it all so perfectly!!!

  • Faye Louise Godwin

    Love this and so nice to hear someone that respects themselves. I need to get back into dating, only been on two in the last 18 months, am divorced and have a child so my priorities are many other things at the moment. For me also its about being happy with who i am and my life. I always think of life as a cake, i build the base and all that goes in and if a man comes along and becomes the cherry on top then yay but if the cherry rolls off (or i flick it off!) it does not matter, its my cake, i built it and it does not require any decoration of the cherry kind to taste good. :) x

    • Marianna Tabares

      YES! You’ve got the right idea. When I was younger I used to think I wasn’t complete without someone to be my “other half.” Then I learned that another person should only enhance the quality of life, but not be a major necessity or component. Maybe that’s where some of us go wrong, when we think our lives are so incomplete without someone there beside us.

  • Misty Simms

    Love it! So very true and refreshing!

  • Audrey Labarthe

    I could not agree more! I am from Paris (partly italian too) and I would say that all this is definetly an international women post date reflection! We do not date same as you guys but the outcome remains the same and all the questioning that follows up as well. I found a lot of my personal experience in your story. I recently came to the same conclusion.. just open the door and let’s see. Maybe not today’s date or tomorrow’s but it takes what it takes.. it’s human nature after all! Saluti from Paris

    • Marianna Tabares

      You absolutely have to tell me more about dating in Paris. I want to know where you go and what you do!

  • Vanessa Maria Loaiza

    Thanks for this :) Very timely for me!

  • Myrna Valadez

    You left out the part when you jumped in your car and followed him home then watched him sleep through his window. Hahaha, I’m kidding! Great article dahhhling!

    • Marianna Tabares

      I left out the part about Del Taco!

  • Heather Favro Binuya

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I have also been out of the true dating pool for about three years post-breakup, and this gives me hope that there are still some decent dudes out there.

    • Marianna Tabares

      After a really bad breakup, there’s like, zero emotional availability. It took some healing and some lousy dates though, and I feel like now I can go out and have a really good time without my head being crowded with negative thoughts and expectations. I think we deserve it, especially after a breakup :)

  • Cristina Alonso

    wise words! hello from mexico, where dating is as hard, confusing and fascinating as it is anywhere else

  • Bethany Vose

    “Going on a good date produces a feeling that none of my antidepressants ever could.”

    I’m looking forward to a first date that can bring actual excitement and happiness. And reading this rekindled the last bit of hope I have for those moments. And thank you for suggested that I could just suck it up and ask for a second date. I all too often try to play the high and mighty independent woman role and from what I’ve heard in response…it can be a bit intimidating.

    • Marianna Tabares

      Without a doubt, it’s super tough. And asking for that second date is a risk worth taking because it will answer questions like, “If he likes me, he’ll say yes.” Also, “If he doesn’t like me, he’ll say no, and this will give me the freedom to move on to someone new.”
      The idea is to always look at bad dates as opportunities for better dates, never as indications that there’s something wrong with us. I mean, unless there IS something wrong with us, but I doubt it. :)

  • Jillian Salaga

    i totally agree! and i’m always doing “the bronx tale”

    • Marianna Tabares

      I think it will help me get a husband someday!

  • Lauren Nespoli

    I liked reading this! I think I recently realized that if the first date goes well, yet he doesn’t call you again afterwards that doesn’t mean you’re a failure or anything. And I definitely agree with the last paragraph too!

  • Crystal Mendez

    I’m glad I came across this! I too feel the same way. I recently went out on a date and felt just as you describe. Love this piece!

  • Anna E Rosas

    I think that first dates, all dates, crappy dates with jester hats, have the potential to teach us something. Because if you take a moment to reflect you learn something about yourself (what you attracted to, what you non negotiable are, etc). This in turn makes a crapy date a tad less crapy!

  • Anna E Rosas

    Thanks for sharing with us your reflections! It was a great essay.

  • Shann Sison

    Read this because I went on an equally awesome first date not so long ago. The thing is, he’s gone out of town now and I’m caught between trying to keep in touch and just moving on. Part of me wishes that first date didn’t happen. Is that wrong? Am I being too neurotic about this?

    • Marianna Tabares

      It’s okay to feel a little bugged by it, but you don’t want to give too much energy and time to the part of it that makes you feel bad. If he returns to town soon, you should feel comfortable maybe asking him out again once he gets settled in. But also, if you’re free to date right now, definitely keep perspective by going on a few new dates. I personally think it’s a mistake to take the route of, “Screw this, I’m deleting his number!” I’ve done that in the past and it doesn’t really solve anything. Plus the guy never even knows I deleted his number (nor does he care). You are the queen in the kingdom that is your life, and you must rule with a steady mind and a strong heart.

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