When Ben* asked me out on a date, my reaction was, why not? He was a friend of a friend whom I had casually known for four years, but we only started chatting regularly in June. Even though it did seem a bit odd that this first date coincided with his birthday in August, I agreed anyway.
The date started off well. He picked me up in his car and gave me flowers. On the way to dinner at Dempsey, he suddenly asked me to text his friend to tell him that we were on the way. Taken aback, I asked, “Oh… We’re meeting your friends?” He replied that his best friend was there with his date, so he figured we might as well all meet up. But when we got there, a couple and two other friends were waiting for us. It certainly wasn’t my idea of a first date.
During dinner, he was very quiet and let his friends dominate the conversation. At one point, his friends told me that their best friend’s wedding was coming up in Jakarta. Ben shocked me by inviting me to go along with them. It’s only our first date and he’s asking me to attend a wedding of someone I don’t know? As his friends were there, I just laughed it off and joked that I didn’t even go to my secondary school friend’s wedding, much less a stranger’s wedding - overseas.
Another odd moment was when his friends mentioned that they were having a staycation on National Day. Again, he invited me along! I really wasn’t keen, partly because it was a drinking party (and I don’t drink), but also because I wanted one on one dates with him. I explained to him privately how I felt, and in the end we went on a second date alone on National Day.
Despite this strange behaviour, I still wanted to give him a chance. We were chatting every day and I felt that we were able to carry on good conversations. He’s by nature a shy and awkward person, and he hasn’t been in a relationship for 11 years, so I figured that he was just rusty in the dating department.
On our second date, I was running late. Bizarrely enough, when I turned up he was standing there holding a banana which he said he bought from a shop while waiting for me. But random fruits aside, when we were looking through the menu, I noticed that he sneakily took a picture of me. Later that night, he posted it on his Instagram (by the way, this was his FIRST photo) with a Japanese caption that translated to: “I really like you.”
This was just too much – I called him out on it and asked how he was able to develop such strong feelings after just two dates. He said that he’s been holding a torch for me years ago, but never made a move as I was in a relationship. Eventually he removed the Japanese caption, but he left the photo up on his feed. Even though I had misgivings, I was still open to giving it a go. I had just come out of a five-year relationship and felt that I had nothing to lose.
After our first date, I made the mistake of telling him that based on past experience, I usually take around three months to develop feelings for someone. He took this statement very seriously, and asked for that amount of time to prove himself. So I suggested that if I still had no feelings by November, then we would stop seeing each other. This would come back to bite me.
It’s now September, and I’ve already called it quits. Even though he stepped up his game, doing things like sending me McDonald’s breakfast to my office twice as a surprise, I just couldn’t feel entirely comfortable with him. He was a little possessive, like telling me not to come back late when I go out, or that I should stay home because I’ve been out a lot this week. Even when I’m out and snap a picture of my meal for him, he would ask me if it was halal. Maybe it was out of concern, but all these little things irked me. It took just five dates for me to break the news that it was over.
Needless to say, he took the news badly, sending me a stream of texts begging me to reconsider, and saying that it was unfair that I cut short our agreement of three months. Before I ended things, he had even scheduled a bouquet delivery with handmade cards for me. But I just didn’t see a point in dragging things out for me and him when I had already decided that we don’t have a future together.
In hindsight, there was a huge red flag which I had chosen to overlook. Before we had even gone on our first date, he had Whatsapped a picture of me to his mum, and told her that he was going to marry me. He even screenshot that conversation with her, and sent it to me! Unsurprisingly, when we were dating, his mum asked me to come over to his house for lunch during Hari Raya Haji. I declined, telling him that we weren’t even in a relationship yet, and there was no need to meet his parents.
Even now, he texts me occasionally, asking for second chance. At this point, I’m not sure if I would even want to stay friends. Blocking him is my last resort, so I hope he gets the message.
*Names have been changed.
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