Out of all the guys I’ve dealt with and the s**t I’ve been through, I’ve never made it to the third date. Yeah, I’ll hang out with a crush casually or we’ll talk nearly every day…but things usually fizzle out by the time we get to the second. I don’t know what it is. It’s like I’m cursed.
According to countless dating experts, articles and war stories from my more-experienced friends, the third date is a surefire indicator of where things are going in a situationship. The first date, usually nerve wrecking, indicates if a person’s worth your time. It’s how you figure out if those long nights of pointless (but super sweet!) phone conversations and mindless afternoons of texting memes and emojis during work are worth taking things to the next level. The second date, which typically involves some hot and heavy making out, is a way to see if the spark is really there. If the first date went well, there’s anticipation for the second. It’s exciting. The third date, though? That’s when you’re officially in it to win it. You’ve talked, texted and possibly sexted over a decent amount of time by this point. From what I’ve been told, guys and girls interpret the third date differently – guys expect sex by the third. Girls expect the beginning of a relationship. By the third date, if you’ve been consistently talking and enjoying your crush’s company, then you’re kind of sort of basically dating. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.
Mike and I were getting along pretty well, I thought. We basically talked every day – always texting, never phone calls, but whatever – about everything under the sun. We liked fashion, literature, music and even had a few inside jokes established. He definitely liked talking to me, I knew that much…but I wasn’t sure if he liked me as just a friend or something more than that. My friend Lenia was in town one evening and convinced me to ask him. After a little bit of liquid courage, I did.
“So, Mark…” I texted. “Are you into me?”
“Romantically?” He asked. “Yes, but I don’t have the time for a relationship right now.”
“Right, I remember you telling me that,” I answered. “I’m more interested in knowing if our situation is strictly platonic?”
“Yes,” he said. “We’re friends who make out with each other.”
Ouch. Though Mark wanted to keep our friendship intact and was super consistent after we had that conversation, I wasn’t really all that enthused about his answer. I knew that we definitely weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend or anything like that, but I didn’t like knowing that our relationship had limits.
Over the next few weeks, I tried my best to play it cool. I still talked to other guys and went on the occasional date here or there…but Mark was definitely my favorite guy out of all of them. And our relationship was going nowhere. He just didn’t want to ask me out. I had tried a few times on my end – a first for me – and he agreed but never followed through. On a rainy Wednesday, I gave up on Mark indefinitely (meaning that I didn’t answer his last text) – until he asked me out that next night.
The next night arrives after an entire day of obsessing over my outfit, going shopping during my lunch break to perfect said outfit and Googling “funny third date jokes.” Because I’m pathetic. We meet up and he takes me to a Koreatown eatery. The conversation never lulled and we laughed a lot. It was like we picked up where we left off from the last date, even though it was forever ago.
We ended the night after sitting in Stuyvesant Square Park for about an hour, joking about stupid stuff and stealing kisses when we thought no one was looking.
“Glad you didn’t die,” I joked after he told me he made it home.
“Glad you didn’t either,” he replied. “It would suck if tonight was my last memory of you. Or maybe not. Tonight was fun. Either way, glad you’re alive.”
Insert heart eyes emoji here.
So I survived the third date, folks. We didn’t have sex that night or even establish a relationship. Because although it’s been a long and hard road, I’ve discovered something – dating, as hard as I may try, isn’t a set of rules that I have to abide by. It’s not a magical, mathematical ratio of texts combined with a number of dates. It really is about relaxing and – shocker – going with the flow. And I think that I’m starting to get the hang of it. Finally.