I’m always scrutinizing men on first dates for any hint that they’re bad news, so it really came as a surprise to me when I realized the great guy I was on a coffee date with would be warning his friends about me. WTF?
I went overboard on enthusiasm and came off as needy. I’d been single for a few months after a traumatic breakup that involved the guy cheating on me. I wanted to get back on the dating horse, so when a seemingly cool guy sent me a Facebook message out of the blue, I thought, “Why not accept his offer?” We went on a date a few days after chatting online and I was excited—maybe a little too excited. I laughed a little too much at his jokes and gave him too many compliments. It was just such so refreshing to be on a date with someone who seemed like a good, genuine person that I didn’t hold back when I probably should have.
I played defense when he hadn’t even done anything wrong. Although I was excited to meet him and we laughed a lot at the start of the date, I knew that underneath my excitement I was pretty jaded because of what my ex put me through. I thought I’d dealt with my breakup but it was coming out without me even realizing I had issues. Oops.
He mentioned he was seeing what’s out there and I acted like a child. I asked him why he was on dating apps and social media and he said he wanted to see who was out there that he might click with. It was a standard response, but I thought, “Oh great, here’s another guy who doesn’t know what he wants and who’s going to cheat on me with his co-worker.” Irrational, I know, but I was tired of getting hurt. I pressed him for further details and it came across as super bitter.
I started talking about my ex. I guess my date wanted to know why I was being so difficult, so he asked me about my last relationship. I ended up talking about my ex for over half an hour even though a simple explanation would have worked (and probably made me look a whole lot less crazy).
I was totally oblivious to my own behavior. I’d been here before, with guys who were so smitten with and hurt by their exes that they went on and on about them and acted like jerks in general. Now I’d become just like those men. My poor date just nodded and tried to smile through my rants. It was so embarrassing, but I didn’t realize I was putting my foot in it until he went to the bathroom.
I was such a mess that he said he had to run mid-date. I told myself that I had to pull it together and be a little lighter for the rest of the date, but there was no rest of the date. The guy came back from the bathroom and told me that he’d just had an urgent work call and had to run back to the office. I knew in my gut he was lying. He just wanted to get the hell away from me and I can’t even blame him.
I totally killed his interest in me and it sucked. I couldn’t help but feel really crappy about myself for many days after that horror date. I’d seen real interest in his eyes when we’d first met and I’d been the one to kill it with my ridiculous behavior. I’d totally screwed up something that could’ve had real potential.
I was angry at myself for not putting my best foot forward. What further rubbed salt into my wounds was that I hadn’t been myself on that date by a long shot. The person who’d been bitter, angry, and moaning about her ex really wasn’t me. I’d let my horrible dating past cloud my dating present and suck the joy out of any future it could’ve had and I really hated myself for it.
I texted him to explain but it was too late. It was probably a stupid thing to do, but I texted the guy and thanked him for meeting me. I told him that it was simply bad timing and I shouldn’t have gone on a date with him or anyone because I was in a bad place, and it’s a pity he never got to know the real me. He thanked me for the date but didn’t mention anything about giving things another go. That was fine—at least I’d tried. I didn’t want him to think I was a psycho.
He saved me from a toxic relationship. I’m so grateful to that guy for not getting into a relationship with me. If he had, it would’ve been a total disaster. He brought my attention to what I’d done wrong on the date while making me realize that I needed a dating sabbatical ASAP. It was important that I focus on myself before I even tried being with someone else.
I’m a better dater now. Thanks to that experience, I’m definitely a better dater. I’ve learned the hard way what not to do on a first date, like bring up all my dating hurts and bitterness. But I’m also much more aware of what I’m feeling and thinking before meeting someone new. If I’ve got more issues than Vogue, I take a step back so that I don’t end up being the toxic one in a new relationship.
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