Going Out Again

My mother clipped an article from the Jewish Press about going out with someone for a second time. That is, going out with them after you’ve already dated and decided it wasn’t a go. The article pointed out that people mature and change, or even just become more experienced and confident, and that can change how you perceive them.

It’s a subject that’s come up more than once in my dating career. The first time was after three guys in a row decided a month later that they wanted to give it another shot, after they’d turned me down. My response was simply that I respected their initial decision, I’d come to the conclusion that they were correct, and I saw no reason to pick things up again. The way I figured it, time has a way of glossing over objections that seemed obvious at the time, and anyway, I hadn’t been enthusiastic about any of them either.

I came to rethink this more recently, after ending a few relationships myself. A few weeks later I’d wonder if they’d been all that bad and if I hadn’t been hasty. But after reviewing my mental profile, I was able to recall the reasons I’d said no, and generally agreed with my decision.

And now it’s come up again. Because for some reason I keep getting set up with guys I’ve already been out with. It’s getting to be ridiculous. In fact, three people have tried to set me up with the same guy in the past month. Originally I’d rather liked him. But the reason and way he ended our relationship was very telling, and it wasn’t long before I considered it a lucky near miss. No way I’m going out with him again. But it’s okay. I’m pretty sure it’s mutual.

Most of the re-redts are ones where the guy ended it anyway, so I have the luxury of telling the would-be shadchan that they’re asking the wrong party. But the truth is, I’m not all that enthusiastic about reopening these closed chapters. It’s not neat. And anyway, don’t you need new evidence to bring a retrial? Quantify what’s changed, and I’ll consider it.

The parents disagree. They think that if I ever got serious about a guy once, he’s worth considering again. They recall the story of the couple who dated in their twenties, dated again in their thirties, and then married in their forties. “You don’t want to be like that,” they assure me.

Heck no. So I just won’t go out again.

But maybe it’s my pride doing the resisting. After all, if a guy turned you down once, isn’t going out again like re-tryouts? I’ll go out feeling like I have something to prove – like that I’m different than I was before. And just as bad, I’ll probably approach him with the same critical lens, wondering, “So has he lost these objectionable traits?”

No, I tell myself. There’s no point in going out again. He sounds like a good match just the way he originally sounded good, way back when. And it sounds right because time has washed away the edge on all the negative impressions. Neither of you have fundamentally changed in the last year or three. All you’re going to do is refresh those objections and confirm that they still stand. And what’s the point in that?

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16 thoughts on “Going Out Again

  1. Agreed – on principle. However, if a long time has passed since then, maybe he’s changed for the better..in which case, it may not hurt to go out again. Especially if the name keeps coming up again and again.

  2. I’m not sure if this will help but off the top of my head I can think of 2 girls who married guys they have dated before. (One 5 years later and one 2 years later.)

  3. Big difference if it comes up a month later or 2 years later. A month later, chances are…not much changed. But years? People do change.

    And when a name keeps coming up, it might mean something. But it might not. I had that with my son. The same name kept coming up again and again and again, until I said…ok..this HAS to mean something. It didn’t.

  4. If the guy said no, it’s probably worth asking why he said no and why that changed all of the sudden. It could be he said no due to a lack of chemistry on a date, and then it was brought up again, he didn’t remember what it was that bothered him in which case it’s a waste of your time to try again.

    On the other hand, it’s possible he wasn’t happy with your life plans or he was intimidated by your vocabulary, or anything else random, that he decided doesn’t bother him anymore.

  5. If a person has changed in three years and he or she is in there early twenties…well that’s just sad. I disagree with not going out with someone three years later because people change big time in the interim especially considering that you are in your early twenties. What I mean to say is that a guy at 22 is not the same guy at 25.

  6. Not to compare dates with clothes, but this post reminds me of my experiences with putting clothing in the rummage/giveaway bag. So many times I’ve wondered why I put a certain sweater or skirt in the giveaway bag, and went to pull it out … only to find that my judgment was right in the first place and I should NOT try to wear it again.

  7. What does 4 hours hurt? 1 hour to get ready and a 3 hour date. You will probably see if the objections are still there, if you remember them at all. In any case, maybe it was you who changed, who became more open to people/ideas in the past few years?

    Look back at your old blog posts and the more recent ones. Do you see any difference?

  8. Not only do people definitely change over time (if married people do it while married, particularly when they struggle in an area, it seems obvious that singles facing struggles in the dating area may do a significant self-evaluation), but just imagine if you felt that someone rejected you for a trait they believed you had, and you either a) did not have it and they misread or b) had matured since. In addition, you’ll find that in marriage, people make mistakes all the time – even if you were perfect and they blew it, to not allow for people’s mistakes would be tantamount to insanity, particularly in the marriage realm.

    I don’t know that there should be much of a difference when one goes out a second time, other than keeping an eye out for the bad trait you felt existed before. Particularly if it did go for a while, there are obviously numerous positive traits that existed there as well, so it seems a no-brainer to see if they’ve been able to overcome some of their less positive characteristics.

    Finally, why would the assumption be that the traits which bothered you in the past still bother you? Depending on the trait, it may be something you’ve found to be either less of an issue as time passed, or perhaps even a positive. People’s perceptions and understandings of how life should be and how people should act change dramatically as they move through stages of life. That you’ve changed in the past few years seems abundantly clear, and I’m sure your perceptions of various things and people has changed as well. It seems that the potentially worst outcome here is that you’ll say “see, I knew that was a waste”… or maybe even worse, perhaps acknowledge that a past judgment was made in error.

  9. There were two guys who were re-suggested to me – the first was my first ever date, who made his impatience with me quite obvious, as well as telling the shadchan the date was “a bomb.” Now he constantly reappears, re-redt, seemingly wanting to go out with me again, giving me longing looks at weddings and such. He was the one who told the shadchan in gruesome detail how bad a date I was. Obviously, he’s not a mensch. Even my worst dates I have not bad mouthed to the shadchan.

    Bachelor #2, however, was perfectly polite, and my policy is to say yes if the fellow is nice, even though I felt nothing. He keeps on being re-suggested, I believe without his knowledge. But, if he was willing to go out again, I may be open to that.

    The moral of these long-winded tails is that it depends. Everyone has different criteria that they prioritize. I know of a few who dated one and off for a while before they wed. Although I wonder how awkward that sort of situation is. Do you open with “So, you weren’t even willing for a second date the first time around. Why the change of mind now?”

  10. Princess lea, the first guy sounds like a jerk.

    Bad4, I wouldn’t go out again unless I called up the ex-date and asked what changed if she was the one to end the dating. Believe in your original decisions if they were well-thought out, logical, emotionally reasonable, and not hasty.

    I have only once dated a girl again after it broken off. She was the one who broke it off and she was the one who restarted it. I asked her what changed and what would be different the second time around. Her answers were enough to convince me to go out again. The second time obviously didn’t work because she thought she changed but she was fooling herself.

    There is only one ex-date with whom I’d like to go out again (I highly doubt it’s Bad4, in case you were wondering), and my name keeps getting mentioned to her – Not At My Behest! – and she keeps saying no. It would be nice if she called me up and told me why she originally broke it off. (Her original reason she told me through the shadchun- after we dropped the shadchun long ago- made absolutely no sense to me.)

  11. I agree with Mystery Woman. People think that if a someone keeps coming up again and again then it has to mean something, but that is not true. If the original reason for saying “no” on either side still exists, then it is not worth revisiting.

  12. I think “Art of the Date” suggests that if YOU want to go out with someone again that you dumped, it’d better be because you now realize they were the one and you ended this for superficial reasons. If that is the case, and the dumper can explain to the dumpee that they were indeed led to believe something incorrect or focused on a tiny nuance that may not be perfect in their eyes, but is honestly not a really good reason to end a relationship, I think that would warrant a second chance.

    I once tried to re-initiate something based on a mutually-ended shidduch, explaining why I thought (after some personal meditation) that the issue that we had agreed upon was a complication that could be worked on and overcome. While she liked my thought process, from her perspective, she didn’t feel that it was really “fixable” and we left it at that.

  13. While I do know many people who got married after a 2nd (or 3rd, 4th, etc.) round, all I’m going to say is that you are also opening up the possibility of hurting and/or getting hurt again. Caveat emptor.

  14. Generally speaking it’s not worth going out again. I’ve got an ex-girlfriend who’s now my friend and the thought of giving it a second try occured to me. So I spoke with her about it and the conversation just confirmed that our decision that we’re better off as friends was right. It’s been over a year since we went from boyfriend/girlfriend to friends, but the same issues that were problematic as bf/gf would still be there, if one or both of us had changed it might be worth reconsidering.

  15. I’ve tried it, once. And lo and behold, while the relationship still did not work out, the second time around- at least it was for fairly different reasons. I don’t know if that’s a reason to go for it, or not to.

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