What do you do when a guy starts crying on a date? If you’re me, you have no clue what to do and just stare at him. I know… this just might be my issue and not his?? Maybe. Mr. Tears (who is a very nice person) is telling me stories of his family and history and his eyes start filling up and he’s sniffling. He proudly proceeds to tell me that he is very comfortable showing this emotional side of himself and that he often cries. Crap. This is definitely out of my wheelhouse and let’s be honest- this is my issue. I’m not used to men being emotional and I’m a fish out of water when it happens. The other issue is that I really didn’t know him. Did I mention this was a first date? I’m at a loss for words and since I’m not drinking alcohol I’m totally present. Like I can’t even disappear in my own head present. Dang this mindfulness I’ve been working on.
In our society today it’s not the norm to have emotional men and I hate to admit that it can make me uncomfortable. The flip side is that I honestly appreciate a guy that is able to express his feelings. That’s why this scenario bothered me so much and for so many days afterwards. What I truly believe is that it’s not that it was a man tearing up in front of me; it’s that we were on our first date. Had it been someone I was dating for awhile or a male friend, it would have been a totally different story. I would like to say that this is the first time that this has happened, but it’s not. Of course not, it’s me! After another first date the guy told me every detail of his past and then started crying. Like crying hard crying. It was a lot to take in and I felt awful for him. He truly had lived through some crap, but once again I had no idea how to handle this depth of emotion without a history. I’ve questioned myself and wondered how I would deal with the tears if it had been a woman? Would it have been any different? The short answer is no. I know this because I had a similar situation with a mother of one of my daughter’s friends. It’s not the tears that make me uncomfortable, it’s the depth of emotion when I really don’t know someone.
These life lessons have made me realize a couple of things. First, we are a hurting society and most people have no idea how to deal with their pain. We’re all walking around with deep hurts and without concentrated healing – our pain spills out. The second lesson is that I’m that person people feel comfortable telling their stories to. I see people hurting and my heart hurts for them. I am very compassionate and empathetic, but I’m also uncomfortable with men crying on first dates. For days I struggled with feeling guilty for being uncomfortable. Then it hit me that what I needed was perspective. So I thought of how a man would feel on a first date if I told him intimate details of my life and started crying. I’m thinking most men would feel pretty awkward themselves! I also know that when there is true intimacy in a relationship (which takes time & experiences) that being emotionally vulnerable and open is a positive quality and mutually supported.
This dating thing isn’t for wimps. I’ve gone out with the guy that found the ‘Flex-Seal’ commercial more interesting than me, but yet still wanted to go out again. The guy who went out with me twice and actually forgot meeting me the first date! The guy who kept grabbing my butt and kissing my neck, but then said there was no ‘zing’ for him. Umm…then stop touching me Mr. Handsy. The guy who told me that the dating app lied and that he really isn’t online all the time. Of course there have been good guys too. Men where we just didn’t have the chemistry – thank you baby Jesus for the normal guys. I’m not sure what to do at this point. It’s insane, but with every date I keep learning about myself, so I keep going out. Today though, I feel like I’m close to ending this chapter of dating, but we’ll see. I still have a couple of prospects and if they don’t cry on the date…well you just never know.