The First Date

When I got dumped last year, the transition back into dating wasn’t exactly the most fun time in my life. Men would ghost me, stop responding, act flaky—and this was all before even meeting. I managed to schedule a date with a foot doctor, who even picked the place and time for our date, and then called me while I was waiting for him at the bar to tell me he wouldn’t be coming. I was pretty much ready to throw in the towel, so when I chatted with a random guy a few days later to set up another date, I was prepared for it to go terribly or for him to stand me up. It ended up being one of the best first dates of my life. We continued to date for the next 14 months. until he told me he didn’t want to see me anymore last Sunday.

Today, exactly one week to the hour that I had The Talk with my ex, I went on my first date with someone else. And it was actually kind of nice?

I did question whether I should hold off on dating, but to be honest I was ready to jump back into things pretty quickly. I’m glad I did, because there’s this huge worry that I think plagues everyone when you start dating again after things end with someone you really liked. You worry you’ll never meet someone who will make you feel the same way, that there’s no one in the whole wide world who is as attractive, charming, kind, funny, as the person you lost. Deep down you know you’re being ridiculous, but the problem with dating is that the jerky, emotion-driven side of your brain takes over and that little guy does not listen to logic.

Anyway, back to the date. I tried to go in with as little expectations as possible, because high expectations have screwed me over time and time again. We met at Central Park, and spent the next few hours walking and chatting. He was nice and funny, and we had a good time together. At the end of the date, we ended up going to Trader Joe’s because we both had to buy groceries. That part of the date was kind of awkward because we would both see each other randomly around the store while shopping, but it felt weird to acknowledge the other person. So yeah, maybe not the most romantic ending but hey, for a date in the winter during a pandemic, I’d say it was a good time overall. The most promising sign was that I didn’t think of my ex even once while I was out today.

I don’t know where things will go. I told him I would send him my phone number on the app where we met so we could text. I’m not the best at reading interest in other people, but whether or not it goes anywhere, I’m really glad I put myself back out there. This date reminded me that I can feel something for other people, and that dating in general can be fun and not this horrible, draining thing, especially when you don’t invest all your emotions in someone even before meeting them.

In the past, I’d probably stop dating other people altogether and pin all my hopes on this one guy working out. Luckily, I’m a little more experienced and wiser now, so I’ll keep putting myself out there and trying to connect with others. If this continues to go somewhere, great! If it doesn’t, all I’ll have invested is a few hours in the park.

For the first time in my life, I’m dating for the enjoyment of it, rather than the fear of being alone. It’s a great feeling, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.

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