I Went on 30 First Dates in Under a Year Before I Met My Husband



  • After a six-year relationship ended, I decided to get serious about finding The One.
  • Luckily for me, I don’t mind dating — so I made an OkCupid profile and got started.
  • Within a year I’d gone on more than 30 first dates and met the man who’d become my husband.

I’m one of those weird and rare people who actually really enjoy dating — so when I stepped out of a six-year relationship on the wrong side of 35, getting back on the apps didn’t bother me.

As much as I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, I was ready to move on to the “happily ever after” chapter of my life and eager to meet a man as interested in starting a family as I was.

Though I spent almost all of 2014 going on 30-something first dates, I also met The One.

I got clear about who I was and what I was after

In my 20s, I treated dating — and, if I’m being honest, my whole life — like some kind of zany social experiment. I’d work strange jobs, answer odd Craigslist ads, and sleep with men who weren’t right for me just for fun.

This time around, I realized that if I wanted to meet sincere people willing to get vulnerable, I had to show up with the same energy.

Melissa Petro in her 20s, sitting on a couch with two dogs

Petro.

Courtesy Melissa Petro



After a couple weeks of silliness, I logged off FarmersOnly and deactivated Tinder — which at that time was exclusively a hookup site — and I focused my efforts on one of the more serious apps at the time: OkCupid.

I filled out my profile completely and earnestly and added my favorite photos of myself — pictures that I felt good in but that were also true to how I looked in real life.

I stopped throwing out red flags and learned to look for them

When I dated in my 20s, I’d do what my friends and I called “front-loading.” I’d tell prospective partners everything awful about me up front so that if they were going to reject me, we could just get it over with.

But by my mid-30s, I’d come to terms with aspects of myself and parts of my story that I used to consider flaws. So this time around, I stopped exposing these facts in the first five minutes after meeting a person.

Instead of obsessing over my perceived flaws and insecurities, I focused on whether the person in front of me had something to offer. I’d make a mental note if a man spoke ill of others — especially other women, like their mother or exes — and anyone who’d obviously behaved badly in past relationships.

Melissa Petro, her husband, and their kids on a beach

Petro, her husband, and their two kids.

Courtesy of Melissa Petro



Information like this was revealed often and early — sometimes on the first date. One guy had no qualms about leaving a co-parent and a small child to move cross-country and devote himself to writing a book. There was also a musician who couldn’t name a single female vocalist he liked, which signaled to me that he didn’t consider women in his field equals. Another date made a homophobic joke about a male jogger’s short shorts.

Details like these wouldn’t automatically disqualify a person, but they were definitely red flags.

I quickly let go of relationships that weren’t working

I’m attractive enough, personable, and very skilled at making people feel seen and heard. As a consequence, I almost always had the option of going out with a guy for a second time.

Initially it was difficult to reject folks I’d put in the “nice, but not for me” category. I felt guilty about potentially hurting someone’s feelings, and maybe a little fearful that I couldn’t do better.

One very kind man, for example, probably would’ve done anything for me; in fact, he actually did my taxes that year. But after dating casually for a couple months, I knew he wasn’t what I was looking for, so I stopped letting him buy me extravagant dinners.

I was quickly learning what I wanted and increasingly willing to trust that what I was really looking for was out there. I had to end things with a funny, great-looking guy who traveled for weeks on end for his job; he’d assured me it wouldn’t be an issue, but it was an issue for me. I also knew that if I wanted to find someone to settle down with, I had to stop seeing those men I had crazy sexual chemistry with but clearly didn’t want anything serious.

Melissa Petro and her husband on a walk

Petro and her husband.

Courtesy Melissa Petro



One of the hardest relationships to move on from was the one — and only! — guy who actually broke up with me. After eight months of dating exclusively, I had fallen hard. But rather than chase after him or stay at home licking my wounds, I kicked my copy of his house keys down a drain and reactivated my OkCupid profile.

In the end, I also let go of my ‘rules’ and listened to my heart

I was barely over my breakup when I met the man who would ultimately become my husband.

Arran checked all the boxes: He was clever and funny, he had a great job, and he had a good relationship with his mother, to name just a few attractive qualities. But the fact that he smoked pot and drank heavily concerned me.

Melissa Petro, her husband, and their two kids

Petro, her husband, and their kids.

Courtesy Melissa Petro



It also felt too soon to get serious again — so when he asked to be exclusive after our third date, my instinct was to run.

Instead, I trusted my gut and logged out of the dating apps with the promise that I’d log right back in if I had to.

Six-plus years, two kids, and a house in the suburbs later, we’re still going strong.



Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *