Horrible First Date – What not to do + what to do instead

Posted On: November 22, 2022

Horrible First Date - What not to do + what to do insteadMany years ago, I went on a coffee date and sent a text to my date when he was nowhere to be seen.

He replied: “On the way.”

I asked how long – as “on the way” could mean many things and yet didn’t get a reply. So I ended up waiting more than an hour in a noisy café where I was increasingly frustrated – feeling both irritable and disrespected.

When he arrived, I found out he came from Woodlands (or somewhere far like that), and knew very well it would take him one hour to arrive (feeder bus then MRT). He didn’t think to give me any heads-up about how long the wait, seemed completely alright with keeping somebody waiting, and also did not apologise about being so late.

I called him out on it but did want to give my date a chance. He proceeded to launch into a long monologue about how his relationship status was complicated. Essentially he was in an open marriage and identified as polygamous. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy talking about himself, belabour the point, did a lot hmm-and-ahh. Fed up, I told him I was a Sexologist and even then had to repeat several times I knew exactly what he was talking about, and was in reality, familiar with this subject matter.

Thrown off by the disruption of his undoubtedly standard-operating-procedure on dates, he knew not what else to say except: “I’ve never met anybody who can explain non-monogamy so well… better than me.”

I was neither his therapist nor trying to gain a new client, but he ended up asking me to recommend him non-monogamy books to read – which err, it also didn’t occur to him to research/ read up on. Eventually I told him that I didn’t see a point in continuing our date. I was disrespected, mansplained, interrupted, and dismissed several times during the short time we were together.

He didn’t give up, and tried persuading me to enter into a relationship with him, “It’s such a shame though. I am so attracted to you though. We have something special between us.”

I felt nothing – no flicker of a spark, no attraction, zilch!, yet here he was trying to gaslight and manipulate me into loving him. He hinted at his marital challenges, and expressed how he could benefit from having somebody like me in his life (his rescuer). Wow! This person was delusional to the max, possibly narcissistic, and capable of having a relationship (if not multiple ones) all by himself with that lack of self-awareness and realisation.

My point in this sharing is:

  • Don’t assume/ project stuff onto people (“They must not know more than me”).
  • Don’t let others dismiss what you think, feel, and want.
  • Don’t apologise for who you are and what you want.
  • Don’t overcomplicate things for yourself or others, or at least be as clear as you can be. Get educated!
  • Don’t seek to rescue or be rescued.
  • Don’t gaslight – trust people can speak for themselves.
  • Take self responsibility for your words, actions, and consequences of your actions.
  • Be on your A game, call out bullshit, and be ready to walk away.
  • Have some bloody respect for other people’s time.

Just to be crystal clear: I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with non-monogamy. I just had issues with how this person was. I do work with clients around navigating non-monogamy relationships or opening up their relationships. While the struggle to find oneself and communicate is real, do be the best advocate you can for your own life. There is always support available.

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About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice since 2009, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the media, Dr. Lee is the appointed Clinical Sexologist for Singapore Cancer Society. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.


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