Are you easily offended when dating?

A friend invited me to lunch with her and her 62-year-old sister. “Sis” is dating, although she admitted to only having one date a year, so I use the term “dating” loosely.

Sis shared about her one 2009 date. She’d met the guy online, talked a few times by email and phone, and felt they had enough in common to meet for lunch. Their conversation began pleasantly, until about 20 minutes passed when he said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t sleep with women on the first date.”

She was incensed, threw $20 on the table to cover her lunch and stalked out without saying a word. When he called a few days later to ask what he’d said that was offensive, she responded, “It’s clear there’s no reason to waste time explaining. Don’t call again,” and hung up.

My friend asked what I would have done. I said, “Assuming he hadn’t been uncouth up to that point, I would have said, ‘I’m so glad we’re on the same page!’ and laughed it off.”

I asked Sis why she was offended. “He made an assumption that I was trolling for sex. Assumptions like that are unforgivable.”

“I wouldn’t have had that interpretation,” I responded. “Was there other conversation that suggested sex?”

“No, not prior to that.”

Based on what she’d shared, I felt her response was over the top. In fact, I felt she made assumptions that weren’t warranted. We didn’t further explore the scenario, but I’m thinking she had some previous experience with a man (or men) who expected sex on the first meeting, or accused her of wanting the same.

The lessons for us all are:

  1. If you get upset over a dating encounter, later check with a friend to see if s/he thinks you overreacted. If so, identify the trigger and where in the past you felt similarly. Most likely your reaction has little to do with the recent experience, and more about something you thought was unjust in the past. You will continue to react inappropriately and repel potential mates until you heal the past, through inner work, either alone or with a counselor.
  2. If you are on the receiving end of an overreaction, check with an opposite sex friend to see if you might have unknowingly pushed a button commonly shared by that gender. Or see if your pal thinks what you did warranted the response you received. If your pal thinks your behavior was fine, then write it off to your date being triggered and it had nothing really to do with you. Know that this person has some issues they need to work on and probably best that you not be in the picture while they do.

Have you had someone on a date get incensed with something you thought was innocent?


To understand more about what can happen on an initial encounter, get your copy of First-Rate First Dates: Increase the Chance of a Second Date.


5 responses to “Are you easily offended when dating?”

  1. SB Avatar

    I might have continued the date (because hey, why embarrass the guy? I’m sure he meant well enough and apparently he wasn’t gonna make the moves on me) – but I probably wouldn’t have gone for a second date!

    The statement feels like a time bomb ticking away. It’s just hard to enjoy yourself when you know that the guy has sex on the brain. At least, for me.

    (On another note, I had a guy tell me once on a first date that his dad was locked up for distributing cocaine, which was actually more funny than offensive [in retrospect]. The guy himself was 15 years my senior. Anyway, I’m not particularly interested in a guy who can’t filter well enough to know what NOT to say on a first date!)

  2. Karen Avatar

    I agree with SB. It’s an obviously inappropriate thing to say (unless you’re necking with him furiously at the time), and shows at the very least that the guy is socially clueless.

    (I don’t worry if a man’s got “sex on the brain” as SB says, because hey, who doesn’t? But a relationship with a man who doesn’t understand basic social behavior is just not enjoyable or possible for me).

    In the case described, I certainly wouldn’t have stormed out. Instead, I would have made a mental note in the “dubious” column, and continued as if nothing had happened.

    The thing with really clueless men–they will do or say something “off” frequently. Whereas if it was a one-off due to extreme nervousness, he’ll never do it again. So I keep track! If he does something like this a few more times, he’s history.

  3. Jenny Avatar

    I would not have been offended, unless she WAS expecting sex, and felt slapped in the face when HE said he does not believe in sex on the first date. Usually women point this out to a man, not the other way round… on one hand I can understand she felt as if he had made her out to be cheap and desparate, or that maybe she was really hoping to have sex……..

    But eitherway, she should have just laughed it off and said, “Same here”, glad we feel the same way……

    But then again, I also over reacted to something an old sort of boyfriend said to me on e.mail the other day…it hit a nerve and I sent him a mail back telling him …….. where to get off!!

    Afterwards I felt stupid and realised it was due to something previously in my life and he just hit the nerve at the wrong point and I took it out on him. So we are all human……..and over react at times.

    Men do tend to be insensitive to us woman, as the bad thing is, we have to always understand what he “Actually” meant…….

  4. Mitsy Avatar

    I think any mention of sex on a first-date is a big no no. I would feel like someone else mentioned in that it sounded like the guy was making the woman out to be sex-hungry or desperate. It would be a red flag in my book if a guy said something like that to me even on a 2nd or 3rd date. It would be just as awkward and embarrassing if the guy mentioned “marriage” on an early date. You just don’t do that if you want to see the other person again.

    People need to use some common sense and tact but sadly a lot of people don’t. And, expecting a grown man to be mature and not say things that a 20-year old would say is apparently too much to ask for some men. Amazing.

  5. elizabeth Avatar

    The thing about dating is that it all comes down to your mentality, on how you see it. I have had this wonderful dating experience which might be quite surprising for many people who read this.