While awkward or catastrophic first dates may not sound as romantic as hitting it off right away, there is something kind of magical when your gut tells you someone is worth a second chance — and you were right. For people like me, who are literally too anxious and shy to ever enjoy a first encounter with someone, knowing that you can find love even after a night of initially stilted conversation is nothing less than inspiring. Here are five women on the not-so-great first dates that still led them to their partners:
1. "I met Danny while I was bartending in college and had the hugest crush on him for a long time. Eventually he finally asked me out on a real date to dinner at a really nice spot in our neighborhood. I was not feeling well that day — I ended up getting really nauseous, but I didn't want to cancel the date at the last minute. When I arrived, he wasn't there. When he finally showed up about 20 minutes late, I was feeling so ill that I was barely able to keep a conversation going and looked terrible. (He was late because he was playing in a beer pong tournament with his roommates on their roof deck, and they kept telling him the wrong time to make him late. Charming.)
I ended up running to the restroom in the middle of dinner and projectile vomited in the bathroom — it was horrible. I went back to the table, didn't tell him, and tried to finish my dinner like a normal person. Even though the conversation was terrible (basically non-existent) and I didn't seem interested, he asked if I wanted to go out for another drink after dinner. I politely declined and told him I wasn't feeling great and needed to head home. He never thought he'd hear from me again, but I texted him the next day to let him know that I had been under the weather and asked him for a redo. We went out again — and after that, we were pretty much inseparable. We dated for about five years and just got married this August."– Kelsey, 30
2. "My first date with my current boyfriend did not start off on a particularly auspicious tone. Like most couples, we met via an online dating site. Since we both like Indian food, we agreed to go to a place that was in his neck of the woods, which was a part of the state of the Connecticut I don't know super well. He warned me that morning that while the Indian food was amazing, the restaurant was attached to a hotel, and he didn't want me to think he did this on purpose and had no expectations of anything beyond dinner. I appreciated the heads up.
I got to the restaurant a few minutes early, texted him that I'd get us a table, and walked over to the restaurant in my heels and date clothes. I saw a handwritten sign on the door that told me after years of loyal service, the restaurant had just closed the previous week for good. I had this initial moment of panic when I realized that I was meeting a stranger from the Internet at a closed restaurant in a sketchy motel parking lot with dumpsters. I actually said out loud 'Dear God, this is how I die' as I was seeing the inevitable cautionary Lifetime movie of our doomed date flash before my eyes. I snapped to my senses, ran back to my car, and called him. He felt AWFUL (especially because I drove an hour for the date), apologized profusely, and we met for sushi in a restaurant that was open. Needless to say, he hasn't murdered me (yet!) and things are going super well." – Sharon, 29
3. "I've been dating my boyfriend now for almost four years and we live together. Things are greatl; we met on Tinder while both living in Hawaii. But on our first date, he took me to a seemingly nice restaurant, and there was a GIANT cockroach running across the floor right in front of our table during dinner. He tried to block my view by sitting in front of it, but I definitely saw it! Then, after dinner, he tried to kiss me, but I was nervous and turned my head, blocking his kiss. I really liked him but was worried that I ruined it by being so awkward. My roommates convinced me to text him after saying 'I should have kissed you', and the rest is history!" – Nara, 26
4. "I was studying abroad and didn't want to really date anyone, since I had to go back to the U.S. after getting my Masters. But when my now-boyfriend asked me out, I just couldn't resist. We met up at the movie theater – I had told him I wanted to watch Going in Style, and he had already bought the tickets. We unknowingly went inside the wrong theater and there was a completely different movie playing in French. He was confused and thought this was really the movie I picked, and I kept wondering why he had chosen this over the one I suggested. We both sat there in awkward silence during half the movie...we felt so awkward and there was no cell reception. We literally started writing messages to each other and just handing the phone back and forth. It broke the ice because we laughed about it so much afterwards. We then went for a drink and started walking down the street. I started thinking about how I was having a great time and how I didn't want to like anyone because I didn't want to do long distance once I went back home. I literally panicked, ran away from him, got into a cab and left. Afterwards, I couldn't believe what I had done. There was an exchange of very awkward messages the next few days and then we decided to try again. We have now been officially together for 8 months and it's going amazingly. We're doing long distance between the U.S. and Dubai, but he will move here in 2018." – Kika, 26
5. "We went to a movie. Not dinner and a movie – just a movie. I think the issue is that for months at the gym he wanted to ask me out – but didn't – so when it actually happened he was just a dummy about it. We met up 15 minutes before it started and then sat next to each other awkwardly the entire time. I knew nothing about him. When the movie was over, he offered to walk me to my car – it was dark so I took him up on the offer. When we said goodbye, I asked him where his car was (on the opposite side of the outdoor mall) so I drove him over to his car in silence and that was that. When he called me again I figured I'd take him up on the second date because I didn't even consider the first date a date. More like going to the movies by myself! I'm actually shocked I went on more dates with him. I guess there was something about him that even though the date wasn't great, I didn't hold it against him like other guys where I said to myself NEVER EVER AGAIN and deleted their number. We have now been married for 10 years and have three kids! I still tease him from time to time about taking me out on the worst first date I'd ever been on." – Dorothy, 35
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