Dating Games: Rollercoaster dating

Crushing as it can feel, a ‘high’ first date followed by a ‘low’ second one is a normal part of dating, weeding out the losers.

dating rollercoaster 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dating rollercoaster 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
My friend Julie was recently set up by a mutual friend of ours with a guy I’ll call Darren. Darren is a nice Jewish boy who just moved to town. He’s a veterinarian, about six feet tall, and better than average looking.
Plus he had the endorsement of our mutual friend, so we knew he was a good guy, and Julie was eager to meet him.
On their first date, Julie and Darren met for drinks and had a really great time… according to her. There was constant and natural conversation, plenty of commonality and interest in seeing each other again – so it seemed that Darren felt a connection as well.
Darren texted Julie the following Thursday morning, and she was savvy enough to respond in a way that got him to actually call her rather than communicate via SMS. Once he called, they made plans to get dinner and catch a comedy show that Saturday night.
Julie felt it was a bit late in the week to make Prime Date Night plans, but she liked the guy and so she made an exception – of which I wholeheartedly approved. Thursday morning is borderline for a weekend date, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be accepted if you’re available.
Saturday night, Darren picked Julie up from her place, from where the plan was to walk to dinner and the theater. As soon as they were out the door, Darren asked Julie where she wanted to eat.
What? Julie was taken aback by the fact that he didn’t have any plan in mind – he had, after all, bought the comedy show tickets in advance, so she assumed he had put some thought into dinner as well; but she quickly rebounded and suggested a new Middle Eastern place nearby.
Dinner conversation didn’t flow quite as smoothly as it had the week before, and when the bill came, Julie made a move toward her wallet, offered her credit card. Darren accepted. And as they were leaving the restaurant, and entering and exiting the theater, Darren not only failed to hold the door open for Julie, but let it fall shut behind him as he kept walking.
The combination of all these faux pas was crushing as Julie had been really excited about the prospect of going out with Darren.
Darren went out of town for a week the morning after their date, and during that time I convinced Julie to give him another chance if he were to ask her out again.
A few days after Darren returned from his trip, she received a text saying “it was nice 2 meet u but I think we would b better off just as friends.”
Julie wasn’t so crushed this time because of the last date letdown, but she was still perplexed. I reminded her of the multiple offenses Darren had committed, and pointed out that at least he was nice enough to not leave her hanging.
We’ll never know what went wrong between date one and date two, nor why Darren wouldn’t give it one more shot; but he probably had a few of his own grievances against Julie, blunders she had committed unknowingly.
So how does something so promising fail so quickly, and how can singles keep these little disappointments from getting the better of them? Rollercoaster dating is, unfortunately, a normal part of dating, and only hindsight will help you to see that the rollercoaster is actually weeding out the losers. And by “losers,” I simply mean those who are not right for you. It’s better that the second date was such a doozy for both Julie and Darren because they didn’t waste any more time on something that ultimately wasn’t going to work out.
Luckily, both of them saw the signs and neither was overly disappointed it didn’t work out. Maybe it’s realism, maybe it’s pessimism; but rather than getting your hopes up super-high for each new date, try to just get your hopes up, say, medium-high with a dash of common sense.
If your first date with someone was a high and the second date a low, I’m going to repeat the advice I gave to Julie: Give it one more chance to see if the third date rebounds to a high – and then make the effort to keep it up there. After a certain point in the dating, you should be having few-to-no lows with little-to-no effort.
Lows are a reality in a relationship, but when you’re still just dating, it shouldn’t keep happening, or happen all that often.
Everyone’s going to have their bad days, their foul moods. At the same time, if it’s all highs, then it’s not reality – no one is happy and perfect all the time even when they’re on their best behavior.
If the first date is a low, then of course it’s understandable to not want to give it a second chance – but what if it was a fluke? Use your instincts to tell you when it’s just not a match, and when it’s worth another go.