So you have been sloughing through those endless profiles on your Internet dating site and have come up with someone who interests you. There has been an exchange of emails. He sounds fun and witty and you’re beginning to look forward to his messages.
You find yourself getting up earlier in the morning just to log on while you drink your coffee to see if he has sent a response to your latest remarks. During the day you find yourself compiling witty replies in your head and suggestive lines to throw his way. This has gone on for a couple of weeks and he suddenly asks if he can call you. Your chest expands; you are really excited and arrange for a time to talk.
Now you are curled up in your favorite chair waiting for the call. He calls and guess what? It goes well! On the phone, there is that same light banter he has in his emails, although his voice is not what you expect. But that’s OK. You talk for an hour. This becomes a daily ritual for which you begin to plan your time around. And then he invites you to dinner…
It has been a while since someone invited you out to dinner (you may be just starting to date again after your divorce or having ended a significant relationship). Your immediate thoughts are about what to wear, if you need to get your hair done, etc. In fact, you spend the better part of a week running around and thinking “I must get this right.” In fact, here’s the blueprint for having a great first date.
Don’t Pretend to Be Someone Else
You seem to have disappeared and you feel that you need to invent a new person to go on this date. In order to be that person, you have to package yourself in some particular way. There must be some key that you can find, a certain dress, new haircut, etc. You believe that you need to make yourself more appealing.
The evening has arrived and you meet at the arranged restaurant (good step, as all the dating advice recommends that you meet in a public place). You are especially nervous and excited but also slightly uncomfortable because your shoes are new and you feel a bit wobbly in them. It is strange that you recognize that this is you, but at the same time, it’s not.
When you finally meet him in person, you know his voice but he does not look like the person in the photograph. Perhaps he’s taller, shorter, a bit heavier, or gangly – some things are not as you imagined. He, however, seems quite at ease – maybe that is just in contrast to how you are feeling. Initially, the conversation is going well as there are points of contact from your previous conversations, although they aren’t really going anywhere.
By the main course you are starting to drink a little too much to fill in the uncomfortable silences. Your feet really hurt now and you are taking surreptitious glances at your watch – only 9 o’clock! No dessert thanks, and by the way, don’t you have to get an early start in the office tomorrow? Maybe we should go. Can’t think of anything but getting out of the shoes. Yes it was lovely; do call me…
The next day or later in the week, the emails and calls are still coming and you continue to respond. But it’s weird…it’s as though you never met the other night and you just go on with the easy-going repartee that has become almost a habit.
Who You Want Him to Be and Who He Really Is May Not Be the Same Thing
In your mind he is once again something you want him to be, although not really – but you can allow yourself to believe that he is while you exchange messages and late night calls. You are starting to develop a whole life in your head around this person. You imagine where you can live with him, what you will do, holidays together…in fact – everything you’ve ever wanted with someone!
This is taking up a lot of head space but that is enjoyable in itself. You feel connected to someone if only in your mind.
A week or so more goes by but now you are becoming slightly irritated by the emails and are choosing not to respond so readily. But then he asks if you would like to come out for another evening and your heart leaps to your throat again.
You agree, even though there is that vague nagging memory of discomfort from the first date. Oh well you say and you remind yourself that all the dating advice says that it’s all about getting to know someone. After all, you think to yourself, I can’t expect to feel comfortable about everything immediately, can I?.
He suggests dinner again. You don’t really want to relive that uncomfortable evening again, but you’re not sure what you want to do, so you go along with it. You had previously arranged to see a girl-friend that night but you tell her you can’t make it. She seems a bit put-out but you put that thought aside for the time being.