Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

First Dates

This evening I was watching "Extreme Weight Loss" on TLC. For those who don't know, it's a weight loss show about people who are overweight that shows their progression of getting healthy with diet and exercise over many months. It also incorporates showing how their life changes as they lose the weight. One man on the show went on his very first date. (he was roughly 30 years old) It was a sweet, emotional moment. You could literally see the joy on his face, the excitement. Dating is fun and validating. It means someone is willingly desiring to spend time with us. But it's also scary and nerve-racking. What if they don't like us? What if we don't like them? What if they are boring or rude or have bad breath?

The show got me thinking about what first dates truly mean. Physically, there is the rush of adrenaline and butterflies in the stomach. But emotionally, there is much more significance. If you think about it, every first date is possibly the last first date you ever have. Isn't that the goal? We date to mate- eventually that is. Dating is fun but also scary. It's a risk we take every time we agree to put ourselves out there for someone else to judge. We risk rejection for the thrill of love and acceptance.

The first time I went on a date with my now-husband, I knew it was going to be something special, but to be honest I put on my "first date" self. Not to say I wore a black wig and a fake nose, but I did pretend to be something I wasn't in order to get him to like me. This ended up backfiring on me- badly. Much later on in our relationship, he told me that he loved me for who I really was, not the fake person I pretended to be. He told me he wished I was that person from the start. From the very first date.

When going on that nerve-racking first date with someone you find interesting and attractive, be yourself. Yes, you risk never seeing them again or scaring them away because of your weirdness. But the person who you're meant to marry will love your bizarre quirks. And you will love theirs. It takes confidence and a belief in yourself to do that. I didn't have either when I began dating my husband. It sounds like the man on "Extreme Weight Loss" didn't either, until he lost some weight and began to feel good about himself.

Be brave enough to be yourself. Because one day you will have the last first date ever. And it will be worth all the bad ones that came before to be loved and accepted for who you really are- big or small, rich or poor, old or young.