I genuinely thought it would be a one night stand. Chris and I first met at a restaurant where we both worked—I was 23 and waiting tables while in grad school, he was the new chef that I saw around here and there. He seemed cool, even if I wasn’t really interested in dating anyone seriously at the time (I was only a few months out of a bad relationship and was big into just focusing on me). I spent my free time going to parties, hanging out with my roommates, and having the occasional hookup that I chose not to pursue as anything more. And I have to say, it was amazing to have that kind of freedom after spending so much time agonizing over where my last relationship was headed.
Still, Chris was cute, so when he invited me over to his place for dinner one night, I decided to go. We got to know each other a little better over homemade pizzas and wine and then…we slept together. It was fun, I had a good time, but I really didn’t think anything was going to come of it. I figured he was typical one-night stand material and decided to see it as just a good time I had once that I could move on from quickly. Great.
But after our first night together, we ended up hanging out more and started to see each other pretty regularly. While we got along great, our relationship was heavily physical. Since he worked long hours, we’d meet up when he got off work around 11 p.m., hang out for a bit, hook up, and then go our separate ways.
Everything was fine until a few weeks in, when I met him at a halfway point between our apartments at 1 a.m. after he worked a really late shift. “This is moving too fast, physically,” he said. “We don’t even really know each other.” He told me he thought we should put the brakes on things, and we both went back to our own places that night. I assumed that was the end of that.
Was it kind of awkward seeing him at work the next day? Oh yes. But I figured it would fade—after all, it’s not like I was planning out a future with this guy, we were just having fun.
That night, I went to play pool with some coworkers and Chris showed up when he got done with work. I steered clear of him for most of the night until he finally pulled me aside, apologized for how things went down the night before, and said he wanted to keep seeing each other—he just wanted us to actually get to know each other better.
So we did. It was kind of an odd reversal—we had to learn to take a step back to actually get to know each other more instead of just chatting and sleeping together (instead we had long talks and then slept together), but we found that we really liked each other. We started spending all of our free time together, and things progressed from there.
Chris quickly became the most stable, reliable, and caring guy I’d ever dated. Three months in, we exchanged “I love yous” and we’re now married with kids.
Don’t get me wrong: Never once did I think early on that I’d end up marrying the guy. But by not putting any pressure on the relationship in the beginning, we allowed it to progress naturally. So, whenever I hear people throw out that “rule” that you shouldn’t sleep together on the first date, I just laugh—because I’m proof that it’s bullshit.
Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., a sexologist and sexuality educator agrees. “I think it’s a ridiculous rule, based on old ideas of how women were supposed to act in order to ‘get the guy’—as if sex and love were a game to be won or lost,” she says. “It doesn’t take into account that women have sexual feelings, the same way that it gives all the power to men that someone is not going to like you if you sleep with them on the first date.” Levkoff says it’s perfectly OK to trust your gut and operate on instinct when it comes to dating and sex. “That means whatever decision you make is one that’s genuine and authentic,” she says. And, she points out, if you end up sleeping with someone right away and it doesn’t work out, it likely wasn’t going to work out anyway.
“So many women are socialized to second-guess themselves, but there’s nothing better than taking ownership of who you are and doing things because you want to,” Levkoff says. That could mean sleeping with someone on the first date, the fifth date, or not at all.
I didn’t plan to end up marrying the first guy I slept with on a first date, but I did. And I’m pretty damn sure that initial hookup had absolutely no impact on our future relationship.