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Meeting Her for the First Time

How do I avoid getting my hopes up, without sabotaging things?
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Dear KitschMix,

In 10 days I get to meet someone who works in Spain that I have never met. We decided to meet at a vacation destination for the first time. We’ve talked for a few months and decided why the hell not.

We are both older and established. I’m not nervous yet like I used to be. I’ve met people this way before and I just didn’t have that connection IRL.

It seems like it is different this time. I’m trying to be realistic, but feel like I’m ruining it by thinking that way. How should I handle things?

Wow – that sounds so exciting! Let me first say, congratulations on taking the plunge with such a big first date. Your first meeting being such a big event already, I do find it a little odd that you’re not nervous – but, I guess, because you’ve done this before, it probably loses a bit of its “scary magic” after a while. Of course, I’m just speculating here.

Why is it that it feels different, and what’s really “realistic” in the scheme of big romantic gestures? I think it’s entirely normal to be unrealistic when entering into a new relationship, and while yours might not have that label yet, it seems to be headed that way.

The idea of connections themselves are subjective, though – at least to a degree. There isn’t always that instant “click” that we hear about. Of course, it’s a pretty great feeling when it happens, but I’ve found that the instant chemistry doesn’t necessarily mean long-term compatibility.

I’ve also found that sometimes, the anticipation makes the actual meeting a bit underwhelming. This is unfortunate, though, because the idea of such a big gesture would make you want everything to be magical – but that’s not always the case.

In some ways, I think this is a good thing. After all, even in the metaphors we use to describe our feelings, the idea of instant magic doesn’t really give things a realistic place. We talk about fireworks, which shine bright, but only for a few seconds. We talk about a spark, which – by definition – is also short-lived. Is this really what you’re striving for? There’s nothing wrong with it, if it is, but by the description you gave me, it seems clear to me that’s not your big, long-term goal. Most people don’t travel of their way just for a fling. (Please forgive me if I’m putting the pieces together incorrectly here – maybe I’m too much of a hopeless romantic?)

If you’re looking for a way to keep your expectations realistic without ruining everything, I recommend you resolve yourself to be happy with the meeting – no matter what the outcome is. If you have decided that you’d be happy as friends, then any lack of chemistry face-to-face is made significantly less uncomfortable. And, I’m sure you know, managing your expectations makes it more likely that you’ll be happy.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that you can’t hope for that chemistry, though. After all, I’m sure that’s why you’re going so far to see her – you want her to be the one for you. Use this to your advantage – you seem to have the means to make your dreams come true, so keeping your heart open (and not necessarily limiting yourself to this one pursuit) can help, too. Your soul mate isn’t always the person you think it’ll be.

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Barbara is a 26-year-old lesbian living in California with her partner (and their “fur babies” - an adorably chubby puppy named Porkchop and a ball python named Ru). In the spare time she pretends to have, she enjoys horror movies, music of all varieties, reading, and complaining about the weather.

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