At the very best of times, relationships are complicated. That’s just reality. You can’t attach yourself to another person with any sort of permanence without there being some snags along the way. Those snags could be relatively simple, easy fixes, like synchronizing laundry habits, or they could be total deal breakers, like when one of my most annoying exes told me he really wanted to meet my parents and I laughed out loud, and then realized he was serious.
Whether you’re coordinating with a fuck buddy about whose place you’re meeting at later, or you’re negotiating engagement ring prices with your locked-down fiancé, there will always be some level of cooperation required in terms of being with someone else. You can fake being super easygoing and patient in the beginning, when it’s easy, but soon enough the real person you are will emerge. After a while, your significant other knows all of your vices and bad habits and you can’t fool them into thinking you’re totally okay with letting them pick the restaurant for the third weekend in a row. They used to believe that you were just super chill about it, but now they know better. That’s the hardest part of being in a relationship of longer than six months with anybody — learning who they really are, and them learning who you really are, and then both of you learning to accept it.
The only time this rule doesn’t apply is in the very beginning of a relationship, as stated above, and the epitome of the beginning is the first date. First dates are the best. I don’t know why everyone tends to hate them. The person you’re going to see knows, most likely, very little to nothing about you. You have every tool at hand to make the best impression possible — in fact, you can legitimately be whoever you want.
The person you’re meeting doesn’t know about your embarrassing habits yet, and as long as you act relatively cool on your first meeting, you’ll make a good impression. All people really want is for you to smile at them and look as though you’re interested in what they’re talking about. Even if you end the date knowing you’d rather cut off your left pinky toe than see them again, at least you know that you really don’t have to see them again. In a relationship, there’s no true escape from the things you don’t like about a person, and no matter how much you like them, there will always be something. When a first date ends, it’s over forever unless you liked them enough to decide otherwise.
First dates are all about freedom. Freedom to decide whether or not to invest more time in someone, freedom to explore possibilities and to literally display only the best side of yourself. There won’t be arguments about your habit of leaving your dirty socks in the living room or a discussion about rent payments. There’s just you and your date, two people believing for a night that they’re as perfect as they’re pretending to be.
And for that night, at least, that other person might just believe the flawless persona you’re perpetuating. If not, and you really hate whatever poor bastard you went out with, order a few drinks and you’ll be just fine. It’s still easier than a break-up. .
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