Last week I went on 3 first dates. The earliest of them was also a last date, the next was moderately successful, and the last of them hurts a bit to think about. Allow me to explain.

Date #1
I agreed to take a study break to meet Charlie outside my office in campus. He was a graduate student as well, although in a different department. It didn’t feel right. He was married, I wasn’t that attracted to him, I made out with him anyway. I knew I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t do it again but lacked the spine to say so. Instead, I let him finger me, felt dirty and told him over instant messenger a few days later that I didn’t want to see him anymore.

Date #2
I had been talking to Martin online for months and months. He is in an open but not quite polyamorous marraige (I need to write down my thoughts on the differences in the future). We met for drinks, flirted, took a nice walk. He kissed me and then I kissed back. Then we kissed some more before fooling around in my car. It didn’t feel too dirty then but it does a bit now.

Date #3
Noah captivated me a few months ago. We chatted online for awhile and shared a lot of common interests. By the time we met, I had developed a serious crush on him. The sort of infatuation that is reminiscent of high school. I should have taken that reminiscence to be prophetic and guarded myself a bit – I never had much luck with romance in high school. Noah and I sat at the bar nursing single beers for over 3 hours then walked back to our cars together. I mustered the courage to grab his hand and he didn’t seem to mind. I didn’t know if I could come up with the courage to kiss him.

So, instead I told him that I wanted to be kissed. He told me to come up with the courage myself. It took a few moments of maneuvering and nuzzling to get there but I managed. It was one of the most terrifying leaps I’ve taken in awhile and I wonder now if it was the correct move.

He kissed back, passionately, moving his soft lips over my face and neck. Burying his face in my cleavage and nibbling and my skin. Hands in my hair. Lips on mine. Squeezes everywhere. Tongues dart – sighs released. Some sort of giddy high that I don’t feel often washes over me and I stop to stare in his eyes, to play with his hands, to brush his hair away from his face and drink him in.

It all felt very very mutual.

In many ways it was.

But, we won’t be doing it again.

Regret isn’t the word to describe how I feel but trepidation, anger, anxiety all spring to mind. The fear of hurting this vital, gorgeous, sensitive man keeps me in check. But the need for self-preservation keeps me at a distance.