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.
I was on Facebook, catching up with “friends” when all of a sudden something caught my eye on the right side of the screen. It was a familiar picture listed under the “People You May Know” section and the name struck a chord. It was Greg, a guy I had dated pretty seriously in my mid-twenties until he disappeared off the face of the earth. Of course, by now I had gotten over Greg, the person, but what he had done to me had really hurt me and left a dating scar.
Greg and I met on JDate and spoke a few times on the phone before he took to me on an incredibly romantic first date. It was lunch at a really upscale restaurant on the water and afterwards we walked along the rocks. We made plans to see each other a few days later and soon enough we were seeing each other about twice a week except when one of us was out of town. When I hesitantly asked him if he would accompany me to a distant family member’s wedding he accepted without hesitation and was the perfect companion. We had a lot of fun together and even though we hadn’t had “the talk” there wasn’t any pressure or any doubt that we were headed in the right direction.
We had been seeing each other for two months when, for the first time, he didn’t call when he said he was going to call. I called him and, for the first time, he didn’t answer. I left a message but it was never returned. I waited a week and called again, no answer, left a message and never heard back. At this point I was beyond wary and wasn’t going to waste time stalking him but if he called me with a really good excuse I wasn’t going to give him grief either. He never did call and I never did see him again.
About a month later I ran into a mutual friend of ours and I asked her what was going on with him. She said she had recently bumped into him and his new fiancé. Speechless is not a strong enough word to describe how I felt at that moment. Chills went through my body, my heart started beating double time and I broke into a cold sweat. I don’t think I was asking too much for him to have simply called me after our last date and told me he had met someone and it was getting serious. That would have burned, yes, but at least it wouldn’t have as core-shattering as this news was.
I just don’t get why he couldn’t simply pick up the phone and break it off with me? Why would that be so difficult? I don’t care how non-confrontational someone is, it’s not like I could have slapped him through the phone (not that I would have) and he wouldn’t even have to look me in the eye. If I had started crying (which I wouldn’t have) all he’d have to do is end the conversation. It’s one thing to not call after a first date because it is, after all, just one date. But to completely disappear after two months of dating is rude and inexcusable.
Sometimes people have a hard time letting go, especially if said severance involves a bad break-up, and even more so if this break up was with a now former friend. Let’s face it, no one wants to sweat the small stuff, so when presented with the opportunity to agree to disagree and enjoy (what was thought to be) a mutual parting of the ways, you jump on it – hoping to end things on at least a somewhat civil note. Clearly, this never works though, because why would any frienemy want to make life a teeny bit easier? So because they happen to get off on arguing (it’s no surprise you often find these fiends in law school) they jump at any opportunity to rehash arguments of the past hoping to annoy the hell out of you in the future. Well, not everyone gets off from licking old wounds. So when she tries to rip out stitches from something you thought had been secured, the flesh wound will be anything but minor, and little miss-behaved I will be happy to have you back in her life, yelling in her ear. Thus, I propose this, though killing a girl with kindness is a great tactic, but ignoring them completely is even better. Since she thrives on confrontation, she’ll have to navigate herself elsewhere to get the attention she wants (and so deserves)! And while you watch her writhing in angst over your non-returned invitation, you get the added bonus of having her resort to self-socializing – and nothing is better than a silent fight. Welcome to a new kind of cold war, kids.