First Impressions Last

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

How do I look past a bad first impression? I’m a divorced mom and I met a divorced dad on JDate. We’ve been dating 6 weeks, but I can’t forget what happened on our first date – while on our date at a restaurant, he touched me in an inappropriate way which made me feel very uncomfortable. I’ve continued to date him and even like him. He’s met my family and they thinks we’re a great match, but I still can’t forget the embarrassment nor can I understand why he would do such a thing as to be so awkwardly intimate with me so soon. He hasn’t done anything weird since and I really want to get over it but I can’t forget it. How can I move on so we can get more serious.?

Dear First Impressions Last,

Unfortunately for your date, you can only make a first impression once but, fortunately for him, (and unbeknownst to him) you’ve conceded by seeing him for the past 6 weeks. My advice is to tell him, in a joking tone, that he should never do said act again and let him know in a teasing way that he should know how lucky he is that you gave him a second chance. Allow him to respond and then drop the topic, forget about it and start making new memories to replace that one awful one. If you really want something with this guy you need to confront the situation head-on.

Remember that people are often extremely nervous on first dates, want desperately to make a good impression and therefore can make complete fools out of themselves instead. If you want to make this work then chalk his behavior up to first date jitters and excuse the act. When you’re not the nervous one it’s easy to forget that the other person might be. Ultimately you have to weigh your pros and cons when deciding if you’re going to continue seeing the other person – is the awkward act bad enough to stop seeing the guy? Aren’t people allowed to make mistakes?

In your case, it wasn’t bad enough behavior to stop accepting his dates, so what are you afraid of? Do you think he’s going to continue doing whatever it was he did or possibly do something else that embarrasses you in public? Are you thinking that he has tried this on other first dates? Are you afraid that was his true self? Or are you just looking for some kind of fault in him so you can put up your guard and stop yourself from possibly getting hurt? None of these questions can be answered without first casually confronting him and then next looking towards yourself to see why you might be intentionally ruining a good thing.

When you find yourself in doubt wondering if there is a fault you can overlook there are two things you can do. First, listen to your instincts and second, try to look at your situation from a different perspective and see if it’s really as awful as it is from the inside because it’s probably not.