I’d blended the date with a family day because of past disappointment when meeting men for the first time. The problem was, I wasn’t honest with my date and I ended up disappointing him.
I wanted desperately to be in love again after my divorce. I’d spent years fighting with my now ex-husband. This was terrible for our kids and of course, it was awful for us, too. But now finally, we were divorced.
The great thing was that post-divorce my ex and I were getting along so much better. We got along so well that we often did activities together as a family on the weekend.
I know this sounds unconventional, especially since we were both actively trying to meet new partners. Luckily, neither of us were jealous that the other had started to date new people.
This meant we could still do things together as a family. One time I combined a family day with a first date — meaning I had my ex and kids drop me off at the date.
The idea was that after I was finished with the date, we’d all go do something together as a family.
The problem was, I didn’t tell my date about this. He found out and dumped me.
I was having a hard time meeting men.
Though I was happy that post-divorce, I was free to go out and meet new men, I was having a lot of trouble meeting new guys. The men I met kept disappointing me.
I’d drive miles through L.A. traffic to meet a guy only to learn he’d misrepresented himself. Take the time I drove an hour for a date with a man who ended up being twenty years older than he looked in his photos.
I went on another date with a guy who said he was 5-8 in his profile — my height. I showed up at our date, only to discover he was actually 5-4.
Another man came to meet me from the gym and hadn’t taken a shower before our date. He was greasy and smelled. This frustrated me to no end.
Not only was I disappointed because I wanted love and couldn’t find it, but I was wasting my time and gas money in L.A. traffic going out to meet these dudes.
I didn’t mind putting in the time to drive to meet a new guy, but only if I could be sure he hadn’t lied about himself.
He also had to show up with his best self — not unshowered after the gym.
This is why when I met a guy named Drew, I decided to combine a family activity with the date.
The issue was, I didn’t tell him about it. When he found out, I ended up disappointing him.
Who was Drew?
Drew was a 37-year-old photographer who lived in Downtown L.A. He wanted to meet at Grand Central Market for coffee. I was hopeful about meeting him, but after having so many bad experiences with other guys, driving 27 miles to meet Drew scared me.
I lived in Long Beach. That could mean an hour in traffic to get to Downtown. What if I showed up just to find Drew was actually a 55-year-old guy who still lived with his parents?
So I decided to combine our date with a family day with my ex and kids. Unfortunately, I didn’t tell Drew.
Now I was the one misrepresenting myself.
Why was I scared to tell Drew the truth?
I was afraid that Drew would reject me if he knew that my ex had driven me this date with our children in the backseat. Maybe he’d think I was still involved with my ex. Maybe he’d think I was weird for doing this. Whatever he thought, he’d judge me.
Or so I believed. Therefore, I concealed the truth.
I made sure that my ex dropped me off around the corner from Grand Central Market. That way I could walk up as if I had driven there myself.
Yes, this felt a little bit like being in high school again with my mom dropping me off at the Palace Theatre to go see some band. I was embarrassed that my mom had driven me to the concert venue.
I felt the same way about having my ex drop me off on this date to meet Drew.
Still, I understood why I was doing this. I was basically vetting Drew. I didn’t want to waste my time.
But unfortunately, now I was the one lying.
What happened on the date with Drew?
I met Drew at the coffee place in Grand Central Market. I was super happy to see that he was even cuter in real life than in his photos. He was incredibly engaging to boot. We had great chemistry. I really liked him!
We got our coffees and went back outside to sit at a table to chat. He seemed to really like me too — so much so that we both lost track of time.
Imagine my surprise when I heard my children calling for me from the street. I glanced over to the source of their voices. They were just a few feet parked away in my ex’s car, hanging out the windows.
They were aged five and seven at the time and didn’t know any better. I looked at my phone. I’d put it on silence mode. There were three missed calls and a dozen messages from my ex asking me where I was.
I was supposed to meet up with my family again a half-hour ago. My ex was also waving at me from the car, beckoning me to come. I felt mortified because Drew had now noticed what was going on, too.
“Do you know those people?” he asked.
What was I supposed to say? No? The kids were yelling for me. We clearly knew each other.
“That’s my family,” I said sheepishly.
Drew’s body language instantly changed. He had been leaning over the table toward me. Now he sat back in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest. A frown painted his face.
“You came to a date with your family?”
I tried to explain. This was still my family even though I was divorced from my ex. We still had two kids together.
I also tried to explain how many other guys had disappointed me, about the long drive from Long Beach, the gas money, and how we’d all go to Echo Park Lake after. The ice cream’s we’d buy for the kids, the dinner we’d have afterward.
“Sounds like you already had a date planned for today,” Drew said.
Then he shocked me by getting up to leave.
“Please don’t go,” I said.
“If you’d just been honest, I wouldn’t have minded.”
He was right. I didn’t want to grovel to get him to stay.
I let him go. But I knew he’d never speak to me again.
I learned my lesson.
After the experience with Drew, I learned I had to be honest with the men I wanted to date. I couldn’t expect them to be honest with me if I was lying.
I should have been upfront with Drew — given him the chance to say if he was okay with the relationship I still had with my ex.
But I hadn’t. I had concealed this information from him. All this time and I thought men were just lying to me! I was wrong.
Though I continued to combine family days with my dates if I was meeting a guy for the first time, I never lied about my ex and kids dropping me off again.
I’m now in a long-term relationship with a man who accepts that I still do things with my ex and kids sometimes.
He’s the right guy for me. Maybe Drew never was.