Going out on a first date is easy. You can go out on 20 first dates and pretend, “OK, I’m putting myself out there,” and never fully commit to opening yourself up. First date, smirst date. It’s the third and fourth and fifth dates that are most impressive; it takes moxy to show you’re brave enough to find true love. You have to take a risk to put yourself out there, knowing that you may very well get rejected by someone. Otherwise, don’t complain that you’re the serial dater who never gets a meaningful relationship but goes out on a bunch of first dates until you’re 50 and you’ve never been married. There’s nothing that brave about a first date. Talk to me after the third. That’s when things start getting interesting.
Commitment-phobes and control freaks, hear me now. You MUST come to peace with showing a little vulnerability at some point or you WILL NOT find true love. Sorry, folks, there’s no way around it, even if you think you are clever enough to pull it off. Believe me, I’ve tried. I know how uncomfortably terrifying it is to open yourself up to someone and not be in control of whether that person might hurt you. It’s a chance all of us have to take, but my message is clear: we can still accomplish this, without handing over our full hearts and risking our self-esteem to someone we just met. You’ve got to have a strong enough self-esteem before you start dating. From there, it’s all about setting the pace, trusting yourself, and enjoying the possibilities that are in front of you. Then you are in control. So stop trying to control everything else. You can’t, and in the end, who the hell wants to? Is that any fun? So some of you are nodding and probably at the same time baffled as to why I would have been so insecure during my salsa date with Lewis as to bring up his not being in touch with me after our first date. I wasn’t exactly clear-headed, and I needed “Matchmaker Amy” by my side, since this time it was MY heart involved. Regardless, I am pretty proud of myself for being able to recover and move past it with Lewis, which led to a great night. In fact, it led to two great kisses by the end of the date!
When I got home, for the first time I realized that if I want a chance to be happy, I cannot freak out. I have to remain calm, secure, and open to the possibility of something with Lewis in order not to screw it up again. I obviously got a second chance with him, so I was determined to change my attitude and go into our third date looking forward to our finally getting a chance to be ourselves. Instead, I was completely blindsided.
My heart was sinking. It became evident in the first five minutes that he was planning on a confrontation, to pick at my faults and criticize everything I had done wrong at salsa. What happened to the guy who walked me to my door, spun me around for one last twirl, and kissed me good night before I walked upstairs? Is this really happening?
The moment I finally mustered up the courage to admit when I’m wrong and open my heart up to this guy is when he decides to completely shut me down? I can’t tell you how painful it was sitting at the table with him. The knots I had in my stomach. Lewis certainly didn’t seem like he was planning to let up. It just felt cruel and not the same guy who had danced the night away with me the date before, who had been so forgivingly sweet for my stupid remark. I don’t know who that person was, but it hurt me in a way I have not felt in a long time. I had to just leave, I couldn’t take sitting there in front of him. I felt belittled, embarrassed, and hurt, and I just didn’t know what else to do at that moment. It was one of the worst nights I’ve had in a long time. I couldn’t have in my wildest dreams guessed my third date with Lewis would end up like this.However, I’m starting to realize the same advice I give clients is exactly how I need to coach myself -- especially in this instance. Somehow I have to be able to transfer what I know to myself, to heed the advice I give to others. It’s unfamiliar territory, looking at my own dating life rather than my clients’. It’s not as easy to maneuver as I had originally expected.
Like hell I’m going to let Lewis or this pain stop me now! I must get back up on my feet, and show my clients I can do the very same thing I would force them to do. I have to dust myself off and somehow get back up -- even though there is a deep pain, and a part of me that wants to say, “Screw this,” go back to working non-stop, and ditch this dating thing all together.
The temptation to do that is terribly strong right now. But I know in my heart, I can’t give up. I’m NOT a quitter. I tell my clients constantly that they deserve true love, but that they’re going to have to work to find it. I’m learning the hard way that the same is true for me.