He Said, She Said: Why Am I a One Date Wonder?
Dear Daniel & Mandy: I have been facing a problem for quite some time. It’s become more like a cycle. Whoever I like or get attracted to talks to me for some time, we meet up for coffee/one date…but beyond that, nothing happens. I had a bad breakup two years back and since then I have been single. I have gone on several dates to see if something might work but in the end nothing does. The guy doesn’t even show further interest or call back. I am kind of embarrassed to write this. Please advise me about what I should do. Is there something really wrong with me that it never works with anyone and I never get to be with the guy I like or fall for? Please help. ~Anonymous
Daniel Goddard: Let me start by saying this: There’s nothing wrong with you. There is NOTHING wrong with you. Even if you have one leg, one arm – there’s still nothing wrong with you because you could meet someone who’s got the other leg and the other arm and the two of you together make a complete person. So there’s never anything completely wrong with you, number one. Number two – it comes down to chemistry. Single women, single men, every single person out there needs to understand: It is chemistry. You can meet someone at work, you can meet someone at school, you can meet someone at a Bible group, you could meet someone at the bus station, you could meet them anywhere; every person you meet every day, all of your girlfriends, every guy’s guy friends – there is a common thread of chemistry that you have with that person. You enjoy their company, you get along well, you have common interests, and it’s easy. So I would question whether or not she’s been meeting the wrong people and she’s judging herself on that. I think that she needs to understand that it doesn’t matter what you say or how you dress or whether she had a pigeon on her head during the date…
(Laughter from Mandy)
DG: …if the guy had chemistry with her, and she had chemistry with him, he would call her back. Because what happens with people when they don’t have chemistry? They meet, they go out on a date, they feel lonely and they decide to have a relationship anyway out of loneliness, and they end up in a passionless relationship because there’s no chemistry. Everyone who has a great, long-term, lasting, loving relationship – they have chemistry.
Mandy Hale: Something that really changed the way I look at things from our last interview is when you talked about energy – when you would walk into the grocery store after a bad audition or a good audition, the difference in the way that people would treat you.
MH: And the thing that I picked up on in this question that really screamed at me is: “I had a bad breakup two years back.” So my thinking about this…because I went through a very bad breakup myself four years ago…I think sometimes if we are still carrying around damage and heartbreak and trauma and insecurity and all these other unhealthy things that we picked up from a toxic relationship, I’m wondering if maybe she has not taken time to heal from that before then branching out and trying to meet someone new and date other people while she’s still damaged and broken from the past relationship. That one sentence in her question really spoke to me. It seems like that breakup two years ago was really sort of a defining moment for her. Before that, she had a boyfriend and probably dated and had successful relationships, but then the line in the sand was the bad breakup, so I’m wondering if she’s not still carrying around residual pain and feelings of damaged self-worth. I know my boyfriend, the one who actually inspired The Single Woman (who I now need to send a fruit basket or something to, to thank him for being such a jerk and inspiring The Single Woman)…he was mean to me and he was very belittling and he was verbally abusive, and so I left that relationship feeling sort of beaten down and broken and like there was something wrong with me. I feel like I carried that out in my life and I think other people pick up on that. So I’m wondering if that’s not something that is interfering with this girl’s ability to meet someone new, that she’s not ready to meet someone new because she still needs to go through a time of healing, maybe go to therapy, maybe read some self-help books…really figure out what it is within her that might have been broken in that relationship and let that heal, and only then try again.
DG: I agree. I think that’s probably the #1 thing this girl needs to do. It seems she had this bad breakup that she refers to, and she has not taken the time to regroup. When you have a bad breakup, it is like a battle or a war. It’s two sides, and there is this conflict. And after that battle, and the conflict has ended, you need to regroup. You need to give yourself emotional sustenance, physical sustenance, spiritual sustenance, you need to take care of your body, take care of your mind. Otherwise… it would almost be as if you played tennis, for example, and you lost a game that meant so much to you because on the last point, you ran across the court and you missed the ball. Then, the next time you play a game, you’re so concerned about the way you played that last game, that you run across the court to not miss that ball again…but the ball’s not even there. You’re no longer living in the moment and you’re no longer in a situation where you’ve taken the time to make yourself a better tennis player because you’re living in the past and in mistakes and in things that caused you to lose, and you’re bringing that to the current game. You have to be in the now and the only way you can be in the now is by unshackling yourself from the past and not worrying about the future. So as you’re saying, you can’t go through a date saying “Oh my gosh, this could be the guy that I marry.” And you can’t go into a date saying “I hope this guy isn’t like my last ex-boyfriend, who was a jerk.” Whether or not she’s doing that, I don’t know…but it sounds as if she truly needs to spend time on herself.
DG: And I guarantee you this. I guarantee HER this: The moment she has done that, and the moment she has healed her wounds, she’ll be standing there in the grocery line at the checkout, some guy will walk up behind her with a gallon of milk, she’ll look at him, he’ll look at her, and it will be like, “Oh my gosh. Who is this man and where did he come from?” Because she’s not putting the pressure on herself to get there before she’s ready for it.
MH: I do think we tend to attract what we currently are, so if she’s not ready, if she’s sort of half in and half out, she’s going to keep attracting these situations to her of men who aren’t ready and men who aren’t going to follow up. I do think if she was 100% ready for it, and really open to it, I don’t think she’d be running into the same one date, and then she never hears back from the guy. I think there’s a reason for this pattern. But I will also say this: Single life is no joke these days! Over the past six months or so I’ve had a couple of just truly disastrous first date experiences. For example, one guy who I met for coffee, five minutes in I knew the story of why his last girlfriend dumped him, why she left him at the altar heartbroken; I mean, he literally just put his crazy on full display in the first ten minutes of our conversation! I would just encourage this girl – you do want to put your best foot forward. Obviously you want to be yourself, but I always say, hide the crazy until at least the second date! (Laughs) As for tangible, takeway advice; I would just say, moving forward – once you do feel healthy, once you have taken care of yourself and made sure you’re in a place where you’re open to meeting someone – dress to impress and go in there with a positive, upbeat attitude, and don’t feel like you have to lay out everything about yourself in the first ten minutes of the conversation. Another example of a disastrous date I went out on: The guy told me, before we even got our table for dinner, that he had been fired from every job he’d ever had, that he had a roommate who hated him and that every girl he’s ever dated – and yes, he actually said this to me – has been a “B@#!h”! He actually used that word!
MH: For me, it was like this man was carrying around rejection on his sleeve…you know, he was just sort of covered in this spirit of rejection, and I couldn’t really get past that to even know if I would be interested in him or not. So I’m hoping, since we don’t have all the details of this situation, that this girl is not dealing with the same kind of thing, but I just think that the way that you present yourself and the way that you carry yourself into the date plays a HUGE role in how successful the date will be. It goes back to, you don’t want to carry around that rejection and that habit of pushing people away because of the last bad breakup you went through. That’s my perspective as someone who’s been on more than one horrific first date.
DG: But at the same time, here’s the thing. How lucky are you that those guys were like that within the first ten minutes? It made it a no-brainer for you as to whether or not that person’s right for you or not.
MH: That’s so true.
DG: And that goes back to this girl. Just because some guy does not call her back, or just because she goes on a date with some guy and he doesn’t show enough interest in her, or he gets up and says he has to go to the bathroom and then he never comes back again….you should never, ever say, “Oh it’s me. It’s my fault.” The guy did you a favor. That whole “he’s just not that into you” thing – that is awesome! It’s awesome if he’s not into you. Why should he turn around and put up a façade of interest so that he doesn’t hurt your feelings, and after a while he can’t keep the façade up any more, and you’re like “He was so cool. We got on so well,” and six months down the track you’re like “I don’t get what happened. I just wasted six months of my life with someone who I thought we had this great thing.” These guys are doing this girl a favor. Any guy that after the first date, doesn’t call you back, is doing you a favor, because it lets you know that there’s someone else out there for you…and it wasn’t him.
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