As soon as I turned my back my date sprinted away from me

When I was 20, I was possibly at the lowest point of my life.

I had returned to live with my mother after six months of hating university and coming out of an unhealthy relationship.

I had left my hometown two years earlier with illusions of starting a new life on the other side of the country. I had all these plans, but I found university very lonely, and the course was not right for me.

My mental health took a nosedive, and anxiety was starting to overtake my life. It made dating very hard, and I struggled to connect with people.

I came home, tail between my legs, and had to rebuild my confidence all over again. I started to go to a local bar to make friends, where I first met Richard*.

Richard was one of those people who was always milling around in the background of the bar.

I didn’t initially think he was that attractive – but he was very funny, and I was drawn to his silliness. I was quite shy, so I found his confidence appealing too.

The more we hung out at bars and pubs, the better we got on, and soon, we were planning to go out and see each other rather than just meeting as friends.

After around three months, and casual dates to places like the cinema, came the night that really changed things.

It was a Saturday, in the pub where we had met.

But it was quiet, we didn’t know anyone, and we were bored.

Richard suggested we go back to mine as I lived closest. There was a new film that had come out that we wanted to watch.

I was worried this would be a ‘Netflix and Chill type situation,’ which I was not ready for, but he assured me he was okay with going slow. He hadn’t really pushed sex that much in the time we’d been dating, even after drinking, so I felt comfortable going back to my flat with him.

We left the bar and waited at the nearest bus stop – chatting and getting along like always. We must have sat for half an hour, but I enjoyed talking to him so comfortably and freely.

The bus arrived just after midnight, and Richard gestured for me to go on first.

I got on and paid, assuming he was just behind me – only to turn round and see him disappearing into the distance as he sprinted away at top speed.

I sat down on the bus in shock. I felt confused and humiliated.

Even though the bus was very quiet, I was self-conscious that others saw what happened. I had no idea what was going on as it felt very out of character for him.

After the bus passed him, still running away, I tried to call, and he didn’t pick up.

Still in a daze, I got off the bus and headed back to the bar, still harbouring a little bit of hope that he might come back for me.

That never happened. In hindsight, I should have gone home to bed as I was far too upset.

I eventually walked home as I had missed the last bus. I texted him a few times, trying to get some kind of explanation. I think it was such a bizarre thing to happen, it took a few days for me to process it.

My calls and texts went unanswered. Even if he responded, I would never forgive him for making me feel like that. He could have backed out at any point during the night, or during the bus stop wait, instead he waited to make it humiliating.

Over the following weeks, I saw him around a few times, but he would immediately walk out of any room I entered.

He didn’t go to the bar as much and never replied to my messages – and none of our mutual friends had any idea why he did it.

A few weeks later, Richard got in touch, apologising for what had happened and claiming he was scared that I wanted more. I wasn’t convinced, and never replied.

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I also found out he was seeing someone else at the same time as me, not that that excuses his behaviour.

Just as I had been on that night, I was simply confused by what he did.

We never spoke again, and honestly I’m happy we never took things any further.

I think of him running away as me dodging the bullet of what could have been a very messy and painful relationship.

I didn’t let it impact my life, I dated other people after that and completed my degree in 2016.

This has become my go to story to tell people when we compare bad dates. I took it harder back then because I was young and lacked any self-esteem.

Now I would have laughed it off, told every group chat and blocked his number.

It was a bizarre experience, but still, it makes for a good anecdote!

*Name has been changed

So, How Did It Go?

So, How Did It Go? is a weekly series that will make you cringe with second-hand embarrassment or ooze with jealousy as people share their worst and best date stories.

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