There’s nothing better than having that guy you like ask you out for dinner. However, it’s totally humiliating if he gets cold feet literally right in the middle of it. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you think, and it’s a real killer to your self-esteem. Trust me, I know first-hand.
I met him in class and we hit it off.
Pretty soon, we were always sitting next to each other and passing notes. Childish maybe, but at the same time, the hopeless romantic in me thought they’d be an incredible keepsake if we ever ended up getting married. In those notes, we talked about places around town. He was a local but I wasn’t — I went to college out of state and was still a little unfamiliar with the area. That led to the conversation of the best Thai food in town. I didn’t know the place he had in mind, but he told me he had to take me someday.
Those plans solidified.
It wasn’t just a write-off. After class, he asked me when I was free and we booked a “date” for Friday. Cue the anxiety. As a total late bloomer, I have no shame in admitting that this was my first date ever. And since I really liked the guy, I wanted to make sure everything went well.
He picked me up at my apartment.
I remember waiting for his car to arrive. Eventually, he pulled in the lot and I cautiously got in. I dressed nicely enough — a cute skirt and sweater combination I felt good about. I admit that I was nervous, but at this point, I really hoped he knew how much I liked him. He seemed a little nervous too.
Then he dropped a bomb.
Listen — what I’m going to say is totally OK, but at the time, with the tone in his voice, I felt all flirtations drop. I’m totally cool with paying my share, but when we sat down, he literally dragged the point home that we’d each be paying our own way. I was prepared (since who doesn’t prepare for a moment like that?) but the rest of the date was just a bit awkward. We barely talked and I couldn’t find a good conversation that would last throughout our meal. The whole time, I was wondering what I did during that car ride that suddenly turned him off. Like, all of a sudden he decided that he wasn’t ready for dating.
Turns out, he wasn’t.
What was revealed later was the fact that he still wasn’t over his ex. I’m not sure what she did, but turns out the trauma was pretty deep. I’m guessing he went cold immediately after realizing he was out with another woman. It wasn’t really fair to me, but also, I’d hate to have pushed him into something he wasn’t ready for.
It did turn into an strange, friends-with-benefits situation.
We never went on another date, but we still had loose feelings for each other, especially on my side. I was really expecting the relationship to turn into something real that night, but to be honest, it was never even a relationship to begin with. It lasted longer than it should have. People linked us together and we continued taking classes together, but we both got the “are you two dating or what?” question fairly often. The answer was always no.
Eventually, we had to cut each other off for good.
After some time, it became painfully obvious that he was just using me for when he was lonely. I should have gotten that hint the night of our date-gone-wrong, but had my rose-colored glasses on the entire time. “Maybe he’ll change his mind,” I thought. “Maybe he’ll get over the ex and realize I’m his perfect match.” That never happened. Instead, I wasted time on something that never could have been. We still saw each other on occasion and said hello to each other, but just as acquaintances.
He helped me learn my worth.
I was still so new to dating when we met, and it’s probably why I let things go on for so long. But honestly, looking back, I realized that I should have cut him off exactly when he made it very clear that our “date” was more of an outing than anything else. I deserved to be with someone who actually wanted to be with me. Someone else out there would have been ecstatic to call me their girlfriend. I threw out his cute notes that I had held onto for so long, and it was almost therapeutic. Putting the memories behind me, I was able to move forward.
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