Dating isn’t always great. You don’t really know if the person is being honest, or at least not being totally honest. It can be an awkward and somewhat artificial situation loaded with the potential for disaster…or love. On a first date, you sit there listening to what they’re saying, thinking “please say something so wonderful that I will consider it remotely, remotely possible that I could spend the rest of my life on this earth eating sushi and riding bikes and watching HBO and traveling through Tuscany with you; please.” You wonder if they’re smart enough and funny enough. You hope they’re not secretly rude to bank tellers or a hater of kittens. You want them to be reliable, yet adventurous; sophisticated, but not elitist; loving but not smothering-you know, perfect. You want them to be like you. You ask yourself, “Can I really look into these eyes until my eyes cease to see?” “Is this the face of the man/woman I will love until the day that I die?” “Will this person be able to weather the coming storms of life along with me, as well as rejoice in the pleasures of it?” “Are they good in, well, you know…?”
If you’re meeting for dinner, there’s always a nagging concern that perhaps your date won’t show. You want to get there a few minutes early, just to be safe. You imagine that everyone around you can sense you are on a first date-waiting for that person, and that your vulnerability couldn’t be more obvious if you were wearing a sign that read, “LOVE ME.” If your date is running late, it’s agony. Why won’t that waiter stop asking you if you want a glass of water?! Do you sit and act like you’re calm and carefree, willing yourself with every breath to resist the urge to text your tardy potential soul mate? Or, does your inner dialogue degenerate into something like…”You should never have tried that dating website. It’s too soon. What were you thinking? You’re not ready. They were probably talking to five other people on that website anyway, and they’ve found someone they like better. This is a disaster. I should just leave. Everyone knows I’ve been stood up.” Then, just when all hope is lost, the server shows your date to your table.
You smile hello. This is the crucial moment. When they came walking up to you, did you think “yes,” and breathe a sigh of relief? Are you encouraged because they are well groomed, politely apologetic and compliment you on your smile right away? Or, heaven forbid, do they disregard you and your feelings and immediately launch into an angry rant about traffic and parking difficulties? Are you glad you stayed, or do you secretly wish you had left when you first considered it? Perhaps, you should just relax and go with it. If you’re going to be an active participant in creating the life you want, risks like this are inherent. There’s no point in giving up before you even get started. So…
You spend the entire time trying to gauge whether or not you’re wasting two hours of your life that you’ll never get back; or maybe, just maybe, this could be the beginning of something big. You tell the short version of your life story-the version that seems as if you’re the hero/heroine of a “choose your own adventure” novel. They tell theirs. Sometimes there are awkward silences, sometimes not. You order food that shows that “you’re not afraid to try new things,” as well as food that proves you’re a “sensible eater.” You occasionally look around the restaurant and wonder if people there would think you make a good couple. Then you remind yourself that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, all the while nodding and smiling at your date. You discuss travel and leisure activities. You tell funny stories about your youth. You start to think “this isn’t so bad after all,” and, “I am a great date.” Your date seems to think so, too. Then he/she tells you an amusing anecdote about a date they were on that went horribly wrong, and you make a mental note to never do the thing that caused that other date to be anecdote worthy, ever. Your date proposes a toast to “possibilities,” and you gulp the wine like you’re performing a sacrament.
Finally, it’s time for coffee, no dessert, and goodbyes. Each of you provides a congenial synopsis of your time spent together and thanks the other for an enchanted evening. This part somehow seems most awkward. What do you do or say after that? You exit the restaurant together, only to discover when you get outside that it’s raining, which turns out to be a good thing as you now have a legitimate reason for parting. You smile at each other and briefly reiterate your thank yous-with or without the proffering of “I’ll call you.” Then it’s off you go in opposite directions to the comfort and safety of your own cars. Well, you’ve survived the first date and it was pretty good. Or, perhaps you feel the opposite is true, and you’re thinking that at least you survived and it could have been worse. Your date could have been a loud talker or had a horsey laugh. Either way it’s not so easy putting yourself out there. Especially, when you’ve gotten your hopes up and your date turns out to be an incessant texter or an utter bore.
Dating comes with many risks and rewards. If you need help finding your way through the Orlando dating world, or maybe you just need a push to get started, call us. We know how hard it can be to get back into the flow of life after being in a committed relationship for a number of years, and it has ended due to divorce, death, cheating or just growing apart. It can be a really frightening prospect, if you’ve suddenly found yourself in the position of trying to find the next great love of your life. But don’t worry. You can do it. We’ll guide you through the process. Check out our Life Skills Resource Group Home page and choose a counselor to work with you.
To Contact: TherapistKimMurphy@gmail.com