To a fresh start
|Secret # 3) Be A Blanker Slate!
The good news? He called and you’ve set up the first date. He’s cute, you love his voice, and he made you laugh. So far everything’s going great. The bad news? Your romantic baggage could rear up and keep date #2 from happening. Why? Your romantic baggage is so much a part of us we don’t recognize that it can be the roadblock that a) scares great men away and b) keeps us from being truly open to new romantic possibilities.
The thing that women forget (and men can too) is that the first date isn’t really a date; it’s more like an interview. It sounds unromantic I know, but the truth is that you don’t know this person yet. No matter how gorgeous he is the first date is for gathering information NOT the right time to:
*Let him know how much you want to have children, especially his.
*Let him know how terrible your last break up was.
*Let him know how fabulous your last boyfriend was.
*Talk to your friends during dinner on your cell phone.
*Tell him you don’t want to waste time. You’re looking for “Mr. Right” not “Mr. Right Now”.
The actions above scream that you have an “agenda” and it’s more important than the couple of hours you’re going to spend with your date. It’s tough, I know. Most of us go racing forward into first dates with our romantic baggage firmly in place (without even realizing it’s there) and then wonder why he never calls. What to do? Recognize it’s you that’s worthy of a new romance, not your history.
For just one evening you can take a deep breath, take a step back, and recognize that on a first date “Less Is More”. This evening is about learning and possibility, not about the past (no matter how good or how bad). Take the time now, before the date, to figure out where your romantic baggage weighs you down. It usually infiltrates and permeates our life in two basic but powerful ways; physically and emotionally.
The physical ways in which we state to ourselves and the world at large that we’re not really ready for romance are the easiest to recognize, so they’re the easiest to start with.
What’s your work and social calendar like right now? Does it really have room for romance? Was this Saturday free a fluke and there isn’t another one for more than a month? Or is it that your life so entwined with your girlfriends that you can’t go for more than an hour without checking up with them on your cell phone? Trust me on this one girls, it’s one of the number one things men complain about that women do on dates.
Far less obvious, but still making a statement about your readiness to have a new romance, is the state of your own personal physical space. What does your home say now about who you are and what sort of romance you’re ready for? Is this a place a man would feel comfortable, or is it so girlie his teeth will ache with sweetness when he walks in? Is there a foot of space for a man’s clothes in your closet, or is every inch crammed with not only your favorites but every piece of clothing you’ve owned since High School? How about your bathroom cabinets? Is there any room for his tooth brush, an extra deodorant, and his shaving gear?
And just what does your bedroom say about your readiness for romance? Is this a place a man is going to wake up and want to hang out, or is he going to feel so crowded by special mementos from the past (like your collection of stuffed animals) that he’s going to want to beat a hasty retreat?
There are a couple different ways we can emotionally keep new romances at bay with our romantic baggage. One of the biggest ways, of course, is not being over a past relationship—whether it was a terrible disaster, or what you thought was the love of your life. While this is an extremely easy fault to see in others, it’s often extremely difficult to see in ourselves. I know that I’ve personally made the mistake of talking too much about my ex-husband to first dates in the past. For a divorce it was fairly amicable, and I thought it was important that I made it clear I wasn’t a man hater, that I bore my ex no ill will. I’m not a man hater, but my effort to explain the past came forth as if I was stuck in the past.
Another way we keep romance at by is by looking for nothing short of our romantic ideal. You may be the sort of person who likes the idea of romance more than the reality of it day in day. We all have our own wants and needs, and the reality is they don’t line up exactly with the wants and needs of other people. While we learn over time to deal pretty well with this at the office (even though we grumble about it) when it comes to romance we often feel that things should totally be in sync in order for us to be happy. This is a nice fantasy, but it’s only that. Is it possible that you’re expecting the impossible from romance? Are you looking for a mind reader and a twin rather than someone to enjoy your life with?
Faking It Till You Make It
Of course it’s much easier to recognize where your romantic baggage is weighing you down than to actually unload it. But right now you’re all you’re concerned with is the first date. Being a blanker slate on the first date isn’t about lying about your past, it’s about letting there be enough space for this new guy and you to get to know each other all on your own first. I know you can do it! Now let’s hope he can too…