5 strategies for dealing with post-date stress in a healthy way.
As he smiled and waved goodbye, I wondered if there would be a second date. Are you interested or not? was the only thing I could think. A smile is nice, but how about a “I'll give you a call” ... something to indicate if there would be any follow up?
When my now-husband and I were dating, we weren't yet working with a matchmaker, so I had no one to ask, no one to tell, no one to help me work through all the thoughts that were swirling in my head. So about ten minutes into my drive home, I was frantically searching for my cell phone. I was going to call him and ask, "What’s the story?" I hadn't thought about what he would say next. To be honest, I wasn't thinking clearly at all.
I found the phone, found the listing GERSHON and was about to hit call when my phone rang. Oh, good, I thought, he's calling me. Nope! It was a friend just calling to shmooze. I sighed, then took a deep breath and realized that this call was divine intervention saving me from looking like a fool.
After years of working with my clients, I have found that I am not the only one who has struggled with not immediately knowing what the other person is thinking. Not knowing drives many of us crazy. But I have found that giving yourself a little space from the date is not only helpful, it’s necessary. What is the other option? Frantically calling 10 minutes after the date ends to find out if the other side wants to go out again? Not so appealing. If feeling desperate and impatient is something you struggle with, here are five strategies for dealing with the post-date in a healthy way.
Have patience with yourself and with your date. Getting the right words out at the right time is an art. Your date may not know what to say even when there is a good connection. Sometimes nerves and excitement keep a person from thinking clearly. If the date ends and you don’t know if another one is on the horizon, give it time. Don’t jump to any conclusions. Sit with the unknown and wait it out. While this can be frustrating and unsettling, sometimes being patient is the best thing you can do.
2. Sleep on it
You just came back from a nice date, but it ended in a nebulous way. You are very eager to know if the person wants to go out again. My first question is: Do you want to go out again? Sometimes clients answer, “If the other person wants to try again, I will too.” To me, that’s not a clear answer. It will be more helpful for you to take a night to think over whether or not you really liked the person you just went out with.
Don’t leave the question in someone else’s hands. You decide first what your preferences are. If you don’t want to go out again, I want to know. If you are undecided and would be open to trying again if they are also interested, that’s good information. If it’s a definite yes, you’ll still be interested in the morning. No matter your answer, you should still sleep on it and clearly understand your reasons for wanting to move ahead or not.
Your date ended. You’re crystal clear that you want to go out again. The other person seemed to be on the fence. Whether you are waiting for a call or dying to call and ask for a second date, your goal for today is distraction. Give the unsure party 24 hours to figure things out. Allowing them time is the best thing for both of you because then their response will not be influenced by your desires, but will just be their real answer. Keep yourself busy enough that your thoughts don’t get the best of you and drive you up the wall. Waiting for an answer can drive anyone crazy and you are likely to do something desperate and probably not smart unless you distract yourself and keep busy. Focus on a hobby, read a book... do anything other than think about this dating situation. Since you’re crystal clear, there is no need to review the situation in your head any longer.
4. No rehashing the date
Don’t run to tell the world what just happened on your date. Rehashing the date isn’t likely to change the fact that you still don’t know what is going to happen next. Truthfully, talking about it won’t make you feel better. Besides, if you don’t get a favorable reply, how will you feel when you need to break the news to your friends that your first date was your last? If you need to clarify your feelings, you can verbalize your thoughts to a friend. This isn’t storytelling. Sometimes we just need to talk things out. Set a time limit, and tell your friend that this is a one-way conversation where you are going to talk some things out for the sake of mental clarity, but you’re not looking for feedback.
5. Keep a journal
Dating is definitely one of those times where journaling can be helpful. Sometimes things need to be thought out; other times, writing things out will help set your mind at ease. Don’t have a journal? No problem! Send yourself an email and read it the next day. You’ll be surprised at how nice it is to see your thoughts waiting for you in your inbox.
The best thing you can do is know yourself well and have a plan in place to keep you in the best frame of mind while you figure things out. What you do post-date is not as important as having a plan for keeping yourself distracted, patient and calm.
Originally published here, on Aish.com.