As a single woman re-entering the dating scene after a long hiatus, the idea of dating again is, in equal parts, exciting and nerve-wracking. While I won’t spill all the precious details about my dating life, this is a big step for me. Here, I’ll share my hopes, expectations, and fears of first-date scenarios.
History won’t hold me back…
With only one serious relationship under my belt, I once thought I was on track to settle down. However, my relationship history hasn’t been as successful as those high school sweetheart couples’, who are still going strong.
Despite my desire to fall in love, my expectations about being married by a certain age have left me feeling a little unlucky.
Like many women, when you hit the two-year mark of singlehood, questions like “Will I ever find the right person?” and “Am I destined to be alone forever?” start to surface. It might sound a bit dramatic, but these thoughts are valid – especially when you’ve lived through the trauma of facing rejection, ghosting and the repetitive experience of unrequited feelings.
That trauma is enough to send me into dating hibernation, indefinitely.
Up until recently, I’ve been closed off to the idea of dating, driven by insecurities and the fear of heartbreak. That said, I’m starting to entertain the thought of dipping my toes in the dating pool again. While I’m warming up to the idea, I won’t force myself into it – I’m in a good space in life, and the thought of dating throwing a spanner in the works frightens me, just a tad.
From first-date nerves, getting dolled-up, and navigating the talking stage to getting to know one another – there’s a lot to acclimate to after a long dry spell in the dating world.
The plus side? I know what I want in a future partner. When going on a first date, I know which green flags to look out for:
The atmosphere needs to be calm
The environment where you choose to have your first date plays a crucial role in setting the tone. If my date opts for a location that’s comfortable, neutral, and conducive to conversation – the green flags are waving. A coffee shop, a casual restaurant, a scenic park for a picnic, or even a walk near the ocean are choices I would feel comfortable with. Bonus points if he avoids overly loud, crowded places that might hinder communication. A relaxed atmosphere will allow me to open up in conversation, which is important.
Deep, meaningful conversation
On a first date, I would like to get to know them a little better. If they’re open to asking and answering deeper, open-ended questions and actively listening, then I’m halfway wooed. Share your thoughts, experiences, and aspirations and we’ll connect easily. I’m not one for small talk on a first date. Thoughtful communication builds a foundation for a potential future relationship.
Authenticity, for me, is key on a first date. I’m going to be myself, and I encourage my date to do the same. Pretending to be someone you’re not is a road that leads to disappointment. Being comfortable enough to share your true interests, values, and personality quirks is a must. Showing vulnerability and honesty helps establish trust and a genuine connection. Plus, authenticity is attractive.
If you don’t feel a connection with who I am, communicating that to me will be appreciated. That’s authentic, too.
Mind your manners
Good manners go a long way in leaving a positive impression on me. Show respect and consideration by being punctual, holding doors, and using polite language. I mean, you don’t have to open the car door for me, but it’s a big bonus.
I’m looking for someone who will be accommodating to my comfort levels and mindful of my personal boundaries. These small gestures show thoughtfulness and contribute to a good vibe. First impressions last, and displaying good manners sets the stage for another date.
Plan for flexibility
While having a plan for the first date is essential, it’s equally important to be open to spontaneity and flexibility. Unexpected situations could arise, and being willing to adapt can turn a potentially awkward moment into a shared laugh or an impromptu adventure.
Flexibility also extends to the duration of a good date. If things are going well and we’re enjoying each other’s company, it would only make sense to be comfortable with extending the date or making plans for a follow-up meeting.
For me, it might be time to dip into the dating pool but am I ready? I won’t be going for the online dating route (there’s a sea of red flags there). As a career-driven girlie who is either working or at home, I’m counting on serendipity to work its magic. Perhaps I will meet someone organically through a work event, via social media (that’s not exactly online dating, right?), or via mutual friends…you never know until you know!
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