People often get anxious about first dates, worrying about what to wear or how to act. But, I actually look forward to them. For me, there is the excitement of meeting someone new and unknown. Yes, there is a little nervousness, but I’m not really that invested in the person yet. Plus, at worst, it’s a chance to get to know someone, have some fun and maybe do something interesting. And, if you’re lucky, a delicious, first kiss.
Rather, I think that second dates are actually much more anxiety-provoking. First, there is the fact that you now like the person enough to meet up with them again, so I feel the stress to not screw things up. And, while there’s certainly no written rule, in my experience thus far, the second date in the poly world is the sex date. Clearly, as per many posts here, I am not against having sex on the second date, but there is a lot of pressure and awkwardness that such an encounter brings.
Think about it. Sex is awkward in and of itself (see: Embracing the Messy). You accidentally touch someone in the wrong way, cause brief discomfort or pain (it’s unintentional, but still). If know your partner well, you can easily brush it off, but if you barely know each other, you just want to up and disappear (OK maybe that’s just me?).
Then there is figuring out what does and doesn’t turn your partner on. Yes you can (and should) ask, but I know that I’m not really good at answering this question for myself (blog post on this topic coming soon, I hope) so I certainly understand that it is challenging for someone to respond in kind. Plus, I often feel like I’m supposed to know exactly what to do and I assure you I don’t.
There’s also the voice in your head that’s judging yourself for being too __fill in the blank__ (…hello societal expectations) and all sorts of sabotaging messages that are interfering with what’s going on. So, how can you relax and truly enjoy yourself? And, then you worry that you are taking too long, not responding as expected, etc. Yes, these things can all happen with a long-term partner, but it is much more nerve-wracking when you are with someone new.
And, last but not least, there is the condom conundrum. Yes, condoms are required! I have no qualms with this rule, but it seems to be a real downer (pun intended) for most men. Yes, they (thankfully) willingly put them on or, rather attempt to do so, but quickly lose their erection. I honestly don’t mind or take it personally, but it is yet another awkward moment to navigate with a stranger and I am often at a bit of a loss as to what to do or say.
I guess the best thing is to chalk it up to Second Date Syndrome and hope for a more relaxing experience on the third date 😊.