I have gone back and forth….and back and forth…about whether being on these dating apps is a good idea or not. The other day, someone asked me why I was on them anyway. I thought about it for a second and then I realized the one thing that DIDN’T come out of my mouth was, “to find my husband,” although that thought is always lurking in the background. Maybe deep down, I don’t believe my future husband is on a dating app. Then why AM I on them? To tell you the truth, I am not totally sure. But I answered my questioner with, “it gives me company on the weekends.”
While it is true that I am an introvert and I DO need my weekends to recharge again for the next week, having a date just mixes it up a bit. It gives me something to look forward to, something to get ready for. Because if not, I might spend the entire weekend in my PJs with greasy hair and no make-up. It’s happened before, embarrassingly more than once. And you wonder why I am still not married?
So can you blame me for wanting a reason to put on a cute outfit and curl my hair every once and awhile? But is that a good reason to go out on dates? I am not sure and therefore I really thought long and hard about deleting the apps and going back to my make-up-less weekends. I began to count how many dates I have been on since turning 31; and I am up to 18! Some of them are starting to run together now and while I would still like to blog about these dating adventures, I have to admit, my dating life resembles more of a broken record than an actual adventure. So I then entered into a new debate of whether or not to keep blogging about them. And that is when “31 after 31” entered. It’s not like I hadn’t thought about that before, I think I joked about it in another post actually. What if it was something that I actually did? Go on 31 dates at the age of 31. I think it would help me with the whole idea of not worrying about if one date would turn into another one. It would just let me enjoy the date at that moment in time. I wouldn’t have to sit at dinner and analyze if I was going to make my interest clear or just end it with the usual, “thanks for dinner, I enjoyed meeting you” comment. I didn’t have to sit on a date and worry if I was doing a great job impressing my date with my curled hair and exciting hobbies (cough cough).
I have actually found myself not worrying if my date likes me or not and I do believe I am doing a good job of being myself (maybe that’s why many of my first dates have not turned into a second one…). But what I HAVE found is that within the first fifteen minutes or so of being with my date, I have already decided that this man in front of me is not my husband. That is what I want to change.
If I did this “31 after 31” thing, I would have 13 more dates to go on by the end of March. Then maybe after that I would give up the dating apps altogether. Will I change my mind before then? Possibly. But that’s okay. I usually make up the rules as I go anyway. I kinda doubt that my “31 after 31” dates will beat my “30 before 30” dates, especially because the last ten or so were with Mr. KJWTS, but maybe God will surprise me 🙂
So recapping a bit – my dates 2 and 3 were both with Bubba at the beginning of June, which I already wrote about a few posts back. Thinking back to him, I wonder how he is doing? My goodness, he deserves to get a special woman one day. I hope he is well on his way to finding her.
My actual first date as a 31 year old, was a double date. I’ll back up a bit.
At the end of May, I posted this picture on Instagram.
With a caption stating this, “Even though I’ve been single most of my life, I’m almost three months newly “single again.” And as much as I love her, I think I’m ready to start spending my Saturdays on dates with someone else again. Is that bad? I’m new to this and don’t know how timing works. #partyofone”
After seeing the above post, one of my co-workers messaged me and asked if I would be willing to go out on a double date with one of her husband’s friends. That was so very sweet and thoughtful of her and actually seemed like a perfect idea to get me back out into the dating world again.
I told her I would, but then added in another little comment that involved my fear of letting someone I know “set me up.” I told her that I am always up for a date, just as long as I wouldn’t hurt her feelings if I didn’t feel it romantically with this guy. She told me she wouldn’t be offended at all and soon after the date was set!
I am trying to remember if I have ever been on a first date that was also a double date and I don’t think I have. This might have been the first. And it taught me that if I thought first dates were hard, double dates were even harder! Or maybe it’s easier, I can’t decide. The reason I say that is because on this date, I actually talked more with the my friend than the guy that I was supposed to be on the date with. I tried to get to know him, but it just felt weird with another couple there listening to our conversation. So after we ate dinner, we decided to go to another place for dessert. We walked out of the restaurant and I got back in the car with my friend and her husband, since they were the ones I rode to the restaurant with in the first place. Double Date Guy met us there, so he got into his car and drove to the dessert place alone. Was I supposed to have gone with him? I have no clue. I probably messed that up.
So after that date, I got home and realized I barely got to know Double Date Guy over the last three hours or so. But the worst thing was, I didn’t really care to go on a single date with him either. So the next day, I told my friend that I appreciated her willingness to set me up with her husband’s friend, but I didn’t see it going anywhere. She was very sweet about it and I think she understood. I then went to Michigan for the summer, so I never really thought much about it after that.
So fast forward to when I came back from Michigan and I had my date number 4 with Fellow Introvert and date number 6 with Army Guy. In between those two dates, I actually had another date that I haven’t written about yet.
So let’s talk about date number 5 – Pastor’s Son.
I was matched with him while in Michigan on the app Coffee Meets Bagel. That app shows you if you have any mutual friends. I saw we were both friends with one of my best friend’s husband. So I texted my friend and asked about it. After describing this guy a bit to her, she immediately recognized him as someone that went to her church and she became excited. It turns out that she had been wanting to introduce me to him for several months, but just didn’t know how to make it happen! CMB took care of that for her! While I did not get very excited, it was very sweet of my friend to be excited enough for the both of us.
After texting a bit with Pastor’s Son and facetiming once when I was still in Michigan, we set our date up for a Thursday evening when I returned home. As we ate dinner, our conversation flowed and we did have some things in common when it came to our faith. But the spark was missing for me and I was not entirely sure we shared the same passions. Again, I tried not to think about that and after dinner, I suggested we stop by the mall since we were right around the corner. I needed to get a few things from Bath and Body Works. Looking back, running an errand on a date may not have been the wisest of choices, but I guess I didn’t stop to think about it then. He didn’t seem to mind and actually seemed pleased that the date was going to last longer than just dinner. After shopping for bubble bath and soap, we stopped in the food court for some milkshakes.
He drove me back to my house (I let him pick me up since we had mutual friends and he was a pastor’s son and all…) and I think he walked me up to the door and I hugged him goodbye while thanking him for spending the evening with me. Parts of the date are a blur now, but I do remember something distinctly. I walked inside and sat on my blue chair in the living room and started crying. It still felt weird to be going out on dates with other men besides the man that I last called my boyfriend ( I still feel weird calling him my ex-boyfriend because the word “ex” sounds so stark).
Two days later was my date with Army Guy and the same thing happened at the end of our date. That is when I wondered if it was just too soon to be going out on other dates, even though it had been five months since my break up. But then I realized it didn’t matter if I waited five months or five years, I had to get over this hurdle and now was the time.
When Pastor’s Son asked me out on a second date (which is now what I am calling my date #7), I said yes. Our second date consisted of dinner and then him coming back to my house to watch the opening ceremony to the Olympics. It went fine but once again, I felt something was missing.
My date #8 was with Mr. Maturity (whom I wrote about in my last post). After establishing that we were not right for one another, one of us suggested we stay friends. I liked the idea because I can use some friends and so since that date 8, I have hung out with Mr. Maturity twice on a friend level. It is nice because I can talk freely with him about my other dates and actually go to him for some advice and vice versa.
Which I did after my third date with Pastor’s Son (my date 9). I kept saying yes to dates with Pastor’s Son because I thought maybe I would start to like him in a romantic way. But after the third date, I really didn’t foresee that ever happening. I wanted to try and treat him with the utmost respect and so I texted Mr. Maturity about what to do. I admired Mr. Maturity about what he said to me after our date and so I thought he might be a good one to ask.
Me: So I know this might be weird but I was wondering if I can ask you for dating advice?
Mr. Maturity: Sure, I would be happy to give advice
I explained to him the situation and then said this:
Me: So I think it would be best to let him know what I am feeling. On our third date, I offered to pay my half because I started feeling guilty. He let me and I am not sure if that hurt his feelings or if that told him I just want to be friends or what. If I just tell him what I am feeling, can I do it over text or should it be the next time he asks me out (if he does)?
Mr. Maturity called me and basically explained that the sooner I told Pastor’s Son what I was feeling, the better. I think I already knew that, but I needed to hear it again.
Three days later Mr. Maturity asked me how it went.
Me: I haven’t done anything yet because I feel so badly telling him over a text but I also feel awkward calling and tell him, since we never talk on the phone.
Mr.M: It is time to put your big girl britches on. And remember he’ll probably appreciate the timeliness of you telling him and not going out again with someone who’s not interested in him.
Me: Are you sure that texting him is not just the easy way out? I don’t want him to feel like I don’t respect him.
Mr. M: Nah, I’d be surprised if he thought that. As a man, I would probably feel more silly on those occasions when I go out with a woman and she waits until the end of the night to tell me something like that, so I would prefer a text.
And just like that – Mr. Maturity gave me the confidence to finally text and tell him.
Here was my long text to Pastor’s Son:
“So I have this not so great feeling in my stomach because I have to have the “if I am being honest” conversation. I have been praying about it since Monday and feel it is better to tell you now rather than later since I am not sure where you stand at the moment with your feelings. Unfortunately with me, I can’t offer you anything beyond a friendship at this point. I am so sorry to tell you over a text and I went back and forth about it, but other guys have told me that it is better to just let someone know, than the means you choose to go about it. I am really sorry if I have gone about anything in the incorrect way. I want you to know I have nothing but respect for you. So please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions if you need to.”
His response was so sweet:
“Okay, I gotcha, no worries. I appreciate your honesty and I am glad you went ahead and just told me now. I hope you find a really good guy sometime soon.”
I felt so relieved that he handled it so well.
I was proud of myself for actually going on three dates with him but then felt horrible at the same time, wondering if I should have just stopped at one. But none of that mattered now. I figured out that we didn’t click in a romantic way and his response was so great.
I know some people will say that you need to give it more than three dates for the romance to start and others will say that you should know if the chemistry exists after one. That is why we have to make decisions for ourselves because I think everyone is a little bit different in this area. But honestly based on my personal experience, I think I can tell if some sort of chemistry exists after the second date. I went on the third date with Pastor’s Son because I didn’t know how to say no. But I have learned now. No one wants to go out with someone that isn’t interested in them, just because that person doesn’t want to say no and hurt the other’s feelings. So all I can do is to continue to pray about my decisions before I make them and then make decisions that I feel is best for me.
Looking back on these first 9 dates (and wondering if I should still write about the most recent 9), I am still so thankful for getting the opportunity to go out with such admirable men again. I want to take this time of dating and enjoy my single life, not constantly yearn for the future and forget to live during the present. I don’t want the pressures of decisions to make me not enjoy the other wonderful single men that are still out there.
So as I finish up 13 more dates at the age of 31, that will be my goal. My desire is to not get down on myself when one date doesn’t turn into a relationship, but to just enjoy the date that I am on in that very moment.
Thank you God for blessing me with the current single life that I have and for these opportunities to go out on dates.