Breakups come in all sorts of forms — the blindside breakup, the ultimatum breakup, the love-does-not-conquer-all breakup, the “mutual” breakup — the list goes on. No matter which type of breakup you endure, it takes some time to bounce back. After a breakup, all you truly want is to feel normal again. You’ll do just about anything to see some semblance of your old self.
To bring yourself back to life, you’ll probably think about rebounding back into the dating game. You know, the ol’ “Get yourself back out there!” tactic. Well, from someone who recently has tried this method, here are my findings. Here are the five guys you’ll date after a breakup…
1. The guy you’ll go out with for 3 minutes
This date happens pretty quickly after the breakup. Most likely this will be a guy who you’ll be set up with by a friend. Your friends care about you and want you to get back out there. They’ll look at you and only see a sad, three-legged-dog that no one wanted to make a “forever home” with. They won’t know how to make you feel better so they’ll assume that dating is the only magical trick that will fix everything. They’ll have plenty of ideas of how to do this, but my personal favorite is meddling-where-they-don’t-belong-set-up. You’ll hear things like, “Oh, you just need to get back out there!” or “I know the grrrreatest guy, you’ll definitely hit it off!”
Fortunately for them, right around now you’ll do just about anything to get out of your own head for a bit. You’ll also appreciate a reason to escape your bedroom that you’ve been hibernating in for the past week or so. You’ll be desperate to wake up from your Netflix-coma. You’ll agree to the date.
The day of the date will arrive and you’ll be a wreck. You’ve forgotten what first-date jitters felt like. You’ll start getting ready and realize you have nothing to wear. You’ll be frozen, staring at your closet only remembering what you wore on your last first date.
The first date that you thought was going to be your last first date ever. You’ll fall into a cloud of bittersweet memories. You’ll want to cancel right then and there. You’ll text a friend and they’ll talk you off the ledge. You’ll find something to wear; you don’t love it but whatever. You’ll be ready a half-hour early. You’ll be nervous.
Then, you see him pull up. His car comes to a stop and he gets out. He has flowers. (Cue the “awes”). You’ll meet him at the door and engage in an awkward handshake/hug. You’ll size him up – cute guy, not bad. He smells nice too. You’ll get in the car and realize that you can’t do this. You just physically can’t go through with the date.
He’ll start talking about something, something so normal, asking you about your favorite food or movie, and you’ll be on a different planet. He’ll turn off your street and start heading to dinner. You’ll realize more and more that you can’t go. It’s not that he’s repulsive or you’re completely turned off by the situation… You’re just not ready.
You’re not ready. You’re not ready to get to know another person. You’re simply exhausted and you don’t have it in you to learn what type of music he likes or how many siblings he has. Then you’ll do something terrible – you’ll fake an emergency to get out of the date. You’ll have a friend call your phone and you’ll answer and act like a huge emergency is happening. You’ll be extremely vague. Your friend on the phone will say, “You owe me big time,” as you hang up. He’ll be sensitive and caring and he’ll understand that you need to be taken home immediately. He’ll drop you off and you’ll tell him that you’ll call.
You’ll go into your house, feeling relief and also feeling awful. You’ll feel bad, not only because he was a great guy that you legitimately ditched within 3 minutes of the date — but you’ll also feel awful because you just want to feel normal again. You just want to get back to yourself. You’ll sit on the couch, still in your coat, with your purse strapped to you. You’ll be in hazy, cloud of fog, wondering if it will ever get easier. You’ll curse yourself because you’re now convinced you’ll have the worst dating karma in the world because you “fake emergency-d” this guy. You’ll think of texting him, apologizing, and asking for another shot. You’ll get your phone out to text him, but you won’t. You won’t because you know, deep down, you’re not ready and it’s not fair to him. It’s not fair for him to be kept on the hook, kept as a place keeper.
You’ll wash your face and close the drapes. You’ll hop into bed and cue up Netflix. You’ll text your friend and they will sympathize with you, but you know that they want to scream, “What are you waiting for!? Get back out there!” You’ll doze off to sleep, hoping to dream of anything but the person you’re trying so desperately to forget.
2. The guy who’s playing the field
A few weeks later, you’ll meet someone else. This guy will be elusive and interesting. He’ll keep you guessing and you’ll like the mystery he provides. Unexpectedly, only a few days after you met, he’ll ask you to grab a drink. You’ll think, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?
On the drive there, you’ll check your make-up in the car and text your roommate to ask if she’s still positive your outfit was a good choice. You’ll park and wait a bit. You wait just enough so he’s the first one there and you don’t have to nervously pick a table and wait. You’ll walk the few blocks to the bar and check your reflection in every window. You’ll get to the bar and see that he’s at a quiet booth in the corner. You sit down and order a beer. The conversation is easy and you even forget to send your friend the “I’m alive” text that you’ve concocted to alert friends when you meet up with people you barely know.
You’ll notice that you’re actually listening to what he has to say. You’re asking questions and caring about what the answers are. It will be a surreal moment, for a split second you feel like you’re watching yourself. Look at you! You’re on a date and you’re enjoying yourself! Holla!
Before you know it, the date will be winding down, the bar will be closing, and you’ll find yourself outside on the sidewalk with this new guy. You’ll both say you had a great time and he’ll walk you to your car. He won’t kiss you, but you aren’t ready for that anyway. You’ll end up doing the whole hug-hide-your-face-thing when it looked like a kiss was about to happen.
You’ll get home and see yourself a bit differently in the mirror. You’ll see someone who can go out on a date — the whole date. Things won’t work out with this guy though; he’s not your knight in shining armor. He’ll text you here and there, but he doesn’t want more than just something casual. Which is probably the best for you right now anyway. You won’t care too much that he’s not “the one”. Because really, the best part has already happened. It’ll happen when you go to sleep that night.
For the first night in a long time, you’ll be thinking of someone else. It’ll feel amazing to be worried about another guy. It’ll feel liberating to wonder about someone new. It will feel refreshing. It will feel good. So, while it may seem like nothing came from this date, in actuality, everything came from it. You’ll be back. You’ll be ready to date again. You’ll be thinking of the possibility of something new. And that’s all you really needed, possibility.
3. The guy who’s completely wrong for you
The next guy will be a breath of fresh air. He’ll be so different from you that you’ll be intrigued. Maybe he’ll be a cute, nerdy, engineer-y type guy, when you’ve always dated the preppy, athletic ones. You’ll think, well maybe this has been the problem all along — you’ve only dated people too similar to yourself. You’ll listen to his stories and begin to recognize his adorable quirks.
About halfway through the date, he’ll be talking about some work thing and you’ll realize you haven’t heard a word he’s said. It’s not that he’s uninteresting; he’s just uninteresting to you. Not even boring really, you just don’t have anything in common. He doesn’t spend much time with his family, while your family is your rock. He’s not into sports, while March Madness is, in your opinion, one of the greatest times of the year. He doesn’t like trashy reality TV (not that many guys do) but he also doesn’t get as pumped about pizza as you do — um, hello? Who doesn’t love pizza?
However, he will have his strengths, he’ll be a great listener and he’ll be able to make you laugh – something you’ve been missing for a while. You’ll begin to realize he could be a great friend. You’ll then realize that at some point, other guys that you’ve been out with in the past probably made the same call about you. In your head, you’ll begin to pick out people who would be thrilled to be on a date with this guy. Someone who also has a passion for craft beer and the sciences. Someone who would love to be out with this great guy. It’s just not you.
4. The guy who’s perfect
The next guy will be amazing. He’ll be attractive, have a stable job, be looking for something serious, yada yada. He’ll have all of his ducks in a row and you’ll think you’ve found the Holy Grail. But just like they say, things that seem too good to be true… usually are.
The date will go smoothly. He’ll say all the right things and you’ll swoon at all the right moments. He’ll surprise you by being extremely straightforward about his feelings and he’ll explain how he really sees a potential future with you. You’ll sigh a breath of relief because maybe for once, just once, you won’t have to play the whole, “Does he really like me?” game.
You’ll walk out to the car and he’ll grab for your hand. He’ll kiss you goodnight. It will be a nice kiss — a kiss that is nice, but you don’t feel much behind it. You’ll question the kiss the whole way home. You’ll wonder if you’re holding yourself back. You’ll wonder if maybe you’re sabotaging your own happiness. So, you’ll brush off the ‘meh’-ness of the kiss and continue to talk to this guy — hoping that you’ll feel something more.
Unfortunately, nothing changes. You’ll want to fall for this guy. You’ll want that so badly. There’s just something missing. You can’t put your finger on it, but you feel the empty space. You keep talking to him, hoping that the lacking connection will miraculously show up. Then one day it will stop, you won’t keep talking to him or trying to figure out your indifference. The missing puzzle piece is chemistry. If the spark isn’t there, even the most appealing person on paper won’t make your heart skip a beat. At the end of the day, that’s all you’re after — someone who makes your cardiac muscle go pitter-patter.
5. The guy who makes it all worth it
… stay tuned.