I Guess I’m Looking For Spark At First Date

Are you having a feeling about being alone … or with someone? Or somewhere in the middle? Send your own dating/single/relationship/marriage questions to [email protected] or fill out this form, please. 


Hi Meredith,

I was in a four-year relationship that ended earlier this year. It was somewhat of a mutual breakup, but at the end of the day I would have fought harder instead of walking away like he did. I took time for myself – adjusting to life without him, reconnecting with friends and family, mending my broken heart, etc. and I’m finally feeling ready to put myself back out there and start dating again.

My problem is that I’m struggling to find a connection that really wows/excites me. With my ex, it was an immediate connection, and I knew after our first date that I liked him and saw a future. I’ve gone on a few dates. One guy I even dated for about a month before deciding to end things because I felt bored and like I was forcing happiness with him. This guy was great, super nice and respectful, good looking, checked almost all my boxes, and I didn’t have a real reason to end things. Am I not over my ex? I can’t stop comparing how I felt at the beginning of my relationship with him vs. how I feel on dates now. Is this a healthy comparison or should I lower my standards and understand it may take time to fall in love and it’s not always love at first sight?

– Stuck


“I didn’t have a real reason to end things.”

Boredom after a month seems like a solid reason to me.

“Am I not over my ex?”

You might just be tired. Breaking up takes energy. Getting over it requires all of the tasks you listed above – reframing your life and priorities after four years of routine. It’s all good post-breakup work, but it’s still work. Maybe you’re not ready to push forward and get excited about someone new because you need to rest that part of your brain.

Also, it’s possible you haven’t met anyone who’s a possible match. It can take a long time – and a lot of first dates – before you feel that click.

You can take a break from app dating for a bit (assuming that’s how you’re meeting people), and maybe that’ll give you time to relax and reset – to enjoy what you’ve built on your own, as opposed to starting another project.

If you continue meeting people because that’s what feels right, you will have to accept that some good dates will be at a B-minus for connection. But all you need is a seed. A feeling of maybe. One good joke. Even a second where you think, “OK, this person’s face is nice.” Then, yeah, you see what grows. It can be fruitless and time-consuming, but sometimes it leads to something good.

Remember, you’re not looking for a replacement for a partner of four years. Right now, let’s make it a search for good company.

– Meredith

Readers? Time to take a break?

Love Letters

What’s your love and relationship problem?

Ask Meredith at Love Letters. Yes, it’s anonymous.

About Love Letters