The future isn’t usually easy to predict.
For instance, most of us probably wouldn’t have guessed a couple of months ago that most of the country would be on some level of quarantine in April.
But here we are.
Anyone who was planning a first date with someone they met online for some time around now is probably facing a drastic change of plans.
Even before social distancing was coined as a term, other (less catastrophic!) things could pop up, requiring us to reschedule such important events as the first date with someone.
It can feel like being forced to reschedule a first date is a big deal. It seems like the type of thing that could totally derail a relationship before it even has a chance to get going.
But there’s no need to panic or to assume that rescheduling a first date is the kiss of doom for a future with someone.
Here are five things you need to know if you’re facing a change of plans when it comes to your first date with someone.
1. Clear communication is more important than ever
Whether you are the one rescheduling the first date or the other person is, clear communication is very important to make sure that both of you are on the same page.
In online dating, it’s often hard to know the full meaning of everything that the other person is trying to say.
Without the benefit of body language or tone of voice, online messages can be misconstrued. Feelings can be hurt when that wasn’t the intention.
If you are the one who is rescheduling the date, be honest and clear with the other person. Don’t beat around the bush, make excuses, or be vague about what you think the two of you should do.
Instead, simply tell the other person that you feel your upcoming date needs to be rescheduled. Then, tell them why. But make sure to tell them that you’re still eager to meet them and spend time with them.
If you happen to be on the other side of the equation, communication is still very important.
Not entirely clear on their reasons why? Ask them about it.
Unclear on whether they’re postponing or canceling indefinitely? Ask for clarification.
The key in this situation is to make sure that the two of you understand one another.
2. Remember that it’s okay to be disappointed
If you met someone on an online dating site and had a first date planned with them, you were most likely looking forward to this date. It’s okay to be disappointed if this date doesn’t happen when you were expecting it to happen.
If you’re feeling a lot of disappointment over a rescheduling, don’t fight the disappointment or deny that you’re feeling this way. Instead, use this disappointment for good.
There are two main ways you could do this. One way, which is rather unique to Catholic dating, is to offer up this disappointment to God.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Hold on, it’s Easter season! We should be done offering things up!” But unfortunately, suffering in our fallen world doesn’t all end once Lent is over.
Try to offer up the sufferings of your disappointment to God for a special intention, for the souls in purgatory, or for the reparation of sins.
The other way you can try to make use of this disappointment for good is to tell the other person about it.
Being honest with them about how much you were looking forward to meeting them helps convey how much you’re beginning to care about them.
If you tell them you’re disappointed about postponing, it could help build excitement and could make the date even better when it finally happens.
3. This doesn’t spell doom for a relationship
It might very well feel like the end of the world if you have to postpone a first date you were looking forward to.
But don’t jump to the conclusion that a relationship with someone is doomed just because the first date didn’t happen when you were hoping and expecting.
Most romantic relationships are forced to weather a lot of changed plans, let downs, and sufferings over their course. Though having a big one of these things right from the get-go might feel extra problematic, it does not mean it’s a sign of things to come.
In reality, this might just mean that the two of you have an opportunity to learn how to work around problems together earlier than you were expecting.
4. Treat it as an opportunity
You don’t have to look at rescheduling your first date as a setback at all. Despite how disappointed you might feel, you can actually use it as an opportunity.
Now, you have ample time to plan that first date and make sure it’s an activity that you both will enjoy. You can use this extra time to try and get a feel for the best way to get to know the other person, in person.
In Catholic dating, you can also use a postponement of the first date as an opportunity for the two of you to grow in your faith life together right from the start.
If you can’t meet in person yet and you already message or talk quite often, take the time now to start praying together or to begin a shared devotional practice.
5. Trust in God’s plan
In Catholic dating, a lot of us tend to emphasize things like dating for marriage or dating to find someone we can build a Catholic family with.
These expectations can make things like a delay in our first date feel like we’re never going to get anywhere in our plans or our hopes for family life.
It can be hard to trust that God has it all under control. But we should try our best to surrender ourselves to his will, even in difficult circumstances like this.
So ask God to work his will in this new difficulty you’re facing.