I distinctly remember running my first marathon in Victoria 10 years ago during the Thanksgiving long weekend. In fact, the date was 10/10/10. Even though I trained well, I had butterflies and nerves approaching the start line. My longest training run had been 35 kilometres, so I knew the last six kilometres would be uncharted territory for me. The run was so beautiful and, for the most part, I enjoyed it. That is, until I saw the sign that stated “Only 3K left.” I am not sure what happened to me, but I hit the wall and seriously contemplated quitting. I was irritated and annoyed and was done. If anyone had come up beside me at that point and suggested we do it again, I would have considered tripping them and spraying them in the face with my Gatorade. When I reached the sign declaring one kilometre left in the marathon, there was a lone bagpiper on the corner and I felt like I was at my own funeral. I managed to get to the finish line and felt like collapsing. There was a long spell in that race during which I vowed I would never, ever, run again. Ten years later, I have a big collection of finishers’ medals and, even though some of those runs were tougher than others, I am certainly grateful for all of them.  It kind of reminded me of childbirth. I am sure there are countless women who, in the middle of delivery, blurted out those “Never again!” words that are quite common while in labour. Doctors must laugh when, a couple of years later, the same women are back to do it again.

I posed a question on my matchmaking Facebook page recently and, to be quite frank, I am still not sure what the correct answer is — or even if there is one. Here it is: If you were on a first date with someone, would you like it if they asked you out again that night while still finishing the first date? Most responses were in the affirmative, with people saying they would like to know that night, face to face, and go for it with a you-only-live-once kind of attitude. I couldn’t help but think that the ladies who answered that way were probably assuming they really, really liked the person and, deep down, were hoping they would get asked out again. But I had feedback from a few women who wished their date had waited until the next day to ask them out again, as they felt pressured, nervous and put on the spot. After being a professional matchmaker for more than three years, I have seen many couples who are still together who actually didn’t have a great first date. One of the women who answered my question  said some first dates are just average, while the second or third date become “wow” factors.  For many people who have been out of the dating world for a long time, this entire process can be quite daunting, so they approach it quite cautiously. For others who are pretty adept at this, they may know if there’s instant chemistry and even some playful flirting that possibly leads to a bit of affection, indicating it’s pretty obvious there will be another date.

To be safe, it may be best, after the date. to thank the person for their time, say you had fun getting to know them and bid them a lovely evening. The next day, after thinking back on how the date went, there is a better opportunity to plan out what to say. Maybe you felt the date was a little awkward and forced.  Maybe you thought you felt distracted. This gives you a chance to send a note saying you felt a bit of nerves and hope they will consider a hike and a coffee, or a glass of wine, or a cross-country ski outing, depending on what activities they like to do. There are no rules in this modern dating world, where so many people hide behind their screens, swiping left or right. Some dates are going to be easy and some will seem like work. Guess what? Relationships are not always easy and some go through years of hard work. It is similar to running — some days it’s a breeze and other days you feel like burning your running shoes. The important part is just not giving up. My advice is if there’s nothing alarming or upsetting on the first date, it’s a good idea to try for a second. I know some happily married couples who would tell you the same thing. If you are happy, single and ready to lace up your shoes and do some date training, I have some amazing candidates who could be ready to accompany you to the starting line. You won’t know if you both make it to the finish line without trying. Contact me by email at holmes@wheretheheartis.ca.