Three months after a breakup, my bestie set me up on a blind date and the guy was a total catch. He made me laugh and he shared my passions, which was a good start. He also asked about my ex and got more than he bargained for when I wouldn’t shut up about the topic.
He asked and Iunleashed the demons. About 10 minutes into our coffee date, he asked me about my ex. I told him I’d had a rough time and he asked me what happened. This was enough for me to open the floodgates about how my ex had treated me badly and cheated on me. Once I started talking, I just couldn’t stop!
I talked about my ex through our whole date. I know it sounds weird, but the guy really seemed interested in the story. He gave me his undivided attention while I ranted and raved… so I just never shut up. Seriously, it was like the guy was giving me a free psychologist’s session or something. I spoke the whole time—even the waiter kept giving us worried looks when he came to refill our coffee cups. I was probably giving my date the biggest headache of his life.
What’s worse, I didn’t realize I was doing it! I know it sounds crazy but I didn’t even notice how much I was dominating the date. I lost myself to my stories in the way people who are traumatized by something want to talk about it all the time and don’t really edit their words before launching them into the world.
I was clearly bitter as hell. Not only was I ranting about my ex but I sounded jaded about dating. I had been burned by love and I was ready to shout that to the world. My poor date! He just sat there nodding and smiling as any decent person would but I’m sure he was ready to bolt the second I gave him a chance to sneak a word into the conversation.
I saw the change in his demeanor. When I finally stopped talking about my ex and realized that I was going overboard, I apologized to him and tried to talk about other things but I could see that he was completely over the date. He spoke a bit about his life but didn’t go into details. From being such an open, interesting person, now he was being reserved. He was closing his doors and locking them nice and tight.
I tried to backtrack. I tried to restore the conversation to its previous lightness so I could show him that I wasn’t such a miserable person but it was impossible. I could’ve done anything I wanted, but I could see he’d already made his decision. I messed up big time.
I kicked myself. I left the date with half-hearted promises from him that we’d chat soon and I wanted to cry. In fact, I did feel a little wobble of tears forming in my throat. I couldn’t believe I’d messed things up with such a cool guy. I could’ve been walking away from that first date feeling on top of the world but I was so sad.
I made one last attempt to make things right. I didn’t want to have any further regrets so I texted him and told him I was really sorry for dominating the conversation with talk about my ex. He replied with two words: “no worries.” Clearly he didn’t want to talk about it again— he’d heard enough about my ex, he could’ve written a book about him. I can’t say I blame him for wanting to move on and forget about me.
I couldn’t believe I let my ex take over. What hurt me the most was that I’d allowed previous relationship pain to block my present and future opportunities. Instead of leaving all that hurt in the past, I was allowing it to keep me trapped. It was changing me into a bitter, angry woman who I really didn’t want to be.
I heard from him a short while later. When I saw his name pop up on my phone a few hours later, I had a moment of excitement that he wanted to see me again. Unfortunately, he said that he thought it was best for us not to see each other anymore. He thought that I had issues I should be talking to someone about and added that I clearly wasn’t ready to date again.
I couldn’t deny that he was right. At first, his words hurt me, but then I realized that he was totally right. I had to deal with my issues before I could get back into the dating scene. I had to throw my baggage overboard and stop letting it weigh me down. Maybe this date had crashed and burned for a reason: I had to break up with my emotional baggage before dating anyone again. So that’s what I did. I took a dating sabbatical for six months and it was the best decision I could’ve made. I guess I have that date to thank for it.
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