I have been actively dating and looking for a long term relationship in Boston for going on 6 years, give or take. I have been on literally hundreds of dates. Some of the dates were total trainwrecks, others were as exciting as watching paint dry, some were good, and a select few were fucking amazing. No matter how many dates I go on, or how much fun I actually had on the date, there is one thing that always happens; post-date anxiety.
For the first 2-3 hours post date I am filled with the anxiety that I think most people probably experience prior to their date. Did he like me? Why did I say that? What did he mean by that? Fuck, I'm an idiot. Will he call? Should I call him? Do I want him to call me? What would my mother say? What would my fag hag think? It is a series of endless questions that can be easily assuaged by a simple text from the other person. A yay or nay, a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
What's odd is that I don't have any of these anxieties prior to the date. I'm not nervous. I don't worry about what I'm wearing or how my hair looks. I simply go with the thought, "This is me....fuck it I can't do anything about it." Somewhere between meeting my date and spending some time with them I go from "fuck it" to "God I hope he liked me". Even on bad dates, I want the other guy to like me. I don't ever want to be the guy someone tells his friends about as the worst date of their life.
If I liked the guy and it was what I would consider a good date, then "God I hope he liked me" quickly divests into a series of insecurities about how I look, my physicality, my clothing choices, my word choices, what I ordered, and my choice of body language as we said goodbye (i.e. why did I hug him, a fist bump what the fuck were you thinking).
I'm not sure if I will ever really get over this. Its a product of my own self esteem I think. When left to my own devices I am able to convince myself that I have my shit together, but the minute I compare myself to anything in the outside world I rapidly feel inadequate and unaccomplished. Further fueling my inadequacies is my desire to be with someone that might actually give a shit about me.
I often profess how comfortable I am being alone and single, and more often than not, that confession is a complete fallacy. I worry about being alone forever. I am concerned that I might never get the family I want. I fret that I will have no one to share my professional accomplishments with when I come home. I brood about what adulthood would be like if the only men in my life were Ben and Jerry and Jose. I agonize over wanting the American dream and being satisfied with an alternative version of it.
The one thing that I am grateful for about this post-date anxiety is that it never pervades my preparation for another date. If the post-date anxiety becomes too much then all I need do is schedule another date with someone else. It's kind of like having an eye opener to stave off a hangover. Probably not the best idea in the long run, but sometimes we all need the quick fix.