Leaving the Bathroom, and Other Doors, Open

Dear Dategirl, A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend of a year and a half broke up with me. While I really care about him, we weren't serious and it was long-distance. We rarely saw each other, and I handled the breakup pretty well. I wanted to start dating again, so I joined an online dating site. I've always had long dry spells between boyfriends, so I didn't expect much from it. Well, shortly after I joined, I started messaging back and forth with several men, and now one of them has asked me to dinner. I am interested, but now I'm having second thoughts. Even though it was casual, I did date my ex for a long time, so maybe I should wait more than two weeks to go out with another man. Then again, this is just a first date, and there is a chance that this new guy and I won't have any chemistry. So should I move on like I want to, or should I wait until I have no second thoughts? —Conflicted I am not exaggerating when I say that I have had first, second, and third thoughts before every single first date I've ever gone on. Being completely nervous and freaked out is part of the sick fun that is dating. What am I going to wear? What if that grumbling in my gut morphs into a fart midway through our first kiss? What if he insists on free jazz? All valid fears, but, sadly, all a part of the life of the single gal on the go. (Except the free jazz—that's a deal-breaker.) Maybe if you'd been married for 10 years or had walked in on your long-term partner sexing up your brother, I'd suggest you give it time. Or if you were the kind of sad case who always overlaps partners because they're so desperately afraid of being alone, I'd advise taking a break. But you spent the last year and a half casually dating someone who lives far away. You were probably about ready for the relationship to end anyway—he was simply the one to pull the plug. You sound calm, sane, and ready to see what's out there. A lack of chemistry is the least of your worries. Nine out of 10 guys you meet aren't going to do it for you. And "not doing it for you" is a million times preferable to his "forgetting" his wallet or turning out to be 20 years older/100 percent more married than he'd claimed. Lack of chemistry on a first date can actually be a good thing, because you won't be so overwhelmed by your hormones that you do something ill-advised, like pretend to be a vegetarian so he'll like you better. Ahem. Online dating works best when you view it as sport instead of a search party for the next Mr. You. If you can adopt the right attitude, you'll meet lots of interesting men, possibly a creep or three, and maybe your next boyfriend. If it makes you feel any better, "love at first sight" is actually lust. And while that's an integral part of any relationship, unless you're looking for a quick bang—and there's nothing wrong with that, especially after what sounds like a fairly scanty sex life for the past couple of years—you probably want to take things slow. Sure, some couples fall head-over-heels immediately and are never apart after their first shared beer, but most of us need to get to know a person before we start leaving the bathroom door open. And yes, that is the measure of true love. dategirl@seattleweekly.com

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