In fact the biggest thing that has been on my mind this week has been my date! Yes, last night I met up with a guy that had messaged me on the dating site I signed up to - www.mumsdatedads.co.uk
Part of my CBT was to look at my automatic negative thoughts and challenge them with evidence. So, for example, my thoughts about the date were:
- He's going to be a weirdo (he must be if he's interested in me)
- It's going to be awkward and we're not going to have anything to say to each other.
- I'm going to totally embarrass myself
- He's actually NOT going to be interested in me, and he's going to leave early.
Even a couple of days ago, I was exhausted by this whole dating thing, and that I was definitely just not ready for it.
I followed my CBT instructions - challenged my thoughts by thinking it's just a date, that I'm good at talking to people I don't know so there's no reason for awkward silences... and it worked.
I've never been on a date - I've just kind of moved from relationship to relationship so never done the dating thing. So when this fella asked if I wanted to go for a drink, I had to do a couple of deep breathing exercises before I said yes!
I've spent all week trying NOT to worry about it, and decided early on I wasn't going to fret too much about what to wear. The text conversation between me and him at times made me worried - thinking he was going to come on too strong, or was looking for something that I wasn't. But (like everyone has been saying to me this week) I told myself it's just a drink and I should just go and enjoy it.
I decided that the most important thing was that I felt comfortable - so I went for jeans and a black tshirt. It sounds a bit tragic but I was really proud of myself that I didn't give in to my usual insecurities and dress up more! That's a big step for me. I was, naturally, ready an hour early and got to the pub 15 minutes early. Some habits are just too built in!
I sat there, waiting for my date to arrive, and had that nervous, tense feeling in my stomach. A couple of times I wondered if I should go through with it, or if I should just text an apology and go home to the cats! But I knew I'd be there early, and I knew I'd panic, so I'd bought a book to read to distract myself. I can tell you, I have no idea what I read. But it did stop me starting the car again.
Said date arrived and we did the awkward talking over each other, embarrassed laugh thing. He said it's his first date for a long time too, which helped because it made me feel more comfortable.
Long story short - I had a really nice time! He was sweet, charming, a total gentleman and we talked for three hours! Drove home with a huge smile on my face and I'm looking forward to seeing him again.
I went on the date (felt the fear and did it anyway!) I had a really good night, met a lovely guy and realised that dating isn't anywhere near as scary as I thought it was.
I know I was lucky to have a great first date experience (and I know from Mumsnet that a lot of people end up with complete crazies through net dating) but also I'm so pleased that I managed my fears, and didn't miss out on a really lovely night because of my irrational fears.