How Being Stood Up On A Date Was Actually Empowering For Me

Ad failed to load

Howdy, folks! I was stood up on a date recently for the first time in my life. It was by a guy who ghosted me, reappeared into my life, insisted we go get coffee to talk it over after I had already ended things, and then, he did not show up for that plan he made to get coffee. Is there a dating term for that? Sociopathic emotional warfare? If you don't know what it's like being stood up on a date, let me tell you, it's an emotional roller coaster — and not the fun ones at Disneyland that babies can go on. It's more like the scary ones at Magic Mountain where you're like, "Hey, am I gonna die right now?"

So, here is what happened, since I know you are desperately wondering. I was hanging out with a guy who would disappear for days at a time and then ask me out again. A lifelong doormat and people pleaser, I've been used to settling for crumbs in relationships, and it's been hard for me to break out of that pattern. Imagine a loving, healthy, reciprocal relationship! I can't.

This guy ended up disappearing for two weeks. He then texted me asking to hang, and I told him I was done. I expected more attention and communication out of my romantic relationships. I was finally sticking up for myself. I felt great. But then, he asked me out to coffee to talk, and I caved. Of course, I was hoping for an apology, and in my own fantasy, he was totally going to show up with flowers.

Ad failed to load

But the reality of this situation was that he actually did not show up at all. I'll tell you how this story ends, though: I'm actually glad that I got stood up. I know — surprise, surprise. I did learn some important lessons about dating, myself, and breaking old relationship patterns to finally move on to something new.

So here are the ways being stood up on a date for the first time actually made me feel empowered. I hope you get stood up, too! (JK... kind of.)

I Stood Up For Myself And Was Honest

Ali Segel
Ad failed to load

On the day of our date, I got to the coffee shop at 4 p.m., when we agreed on meeting, and I sat on the patio alone, waiting for him. I looked at each person on the street who walked by, and none of them were him. I kept checking my phone, and he wasn't texting. Was I being stood up? Was he playing a joke on me, or getting back at me for ending things?

After waiting for 20 minutes for my date to come, I finally left. However, he arrived after I had already left. Remember, this is a guy who ghosted me for two weeks, asked me out again, and when I told him I require more attention and communication in a relationship, he begged me for coffee. When I stood up for myself and told him why I left, he said, "I'm basically always late, all the time?" Cool personality trait. If that is the case, then you need to give someone a warning. In this digital era, it is absolutely not difficult to shoot someone a text, call, email, or direct message letting them know they are running late.

Did I hate him? Honey, he's not that important. Forever? No, I can promise you, I will not be thinking of him for the rest of my life. But did I want to hang out with him again? No. This is certainly not the type of person I wanted in my life romantically, nor is it the type of person I wanted in my life as a friend. My friends text me when they are running late. My friends respect me. I deserve respect from people!

Ad failed to load

I Set A Boundary

Ali Segel

My last boyfriend used to say he was coming over at 6 p.m., and then, he would not show up until 11 p.m. I'd ask where he was, and it wasn't even like he was simply at home or running errands. He had instead gone to a comedy show, had dinner with friends, or even seen a movie. He wouldn't even call to tell me he was running late or change the nature of our plans. He was just out, joyfully living his own life without me. Very cool!

Ad failed to load

Even worse than his behavior was the fact that I would never say anything. I didn't want to nag, seem needy, or be a burden. How dare I ever ask for anything! That's insane. But unfortunately, living my life with this mentality resulted in me being disrespected — a lot.

Some people say insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again and expecting a different result. And with the guy who stood me up, it was time to realize where his flaky, disrespectful behavior and my people pleasing behavior would lead me. So I decided to set a boundary for myself. After 15 minutes, I would leave. Then, my friends convinced me to wait for 20, so I did — no more and no less. (Friends can be convincing.)

I Broke An Old Pattern

Ali Segel
Ad failed to load

This photo above features me freaking out in the group text, just maniacally laughing and using all caps.

It's my belief that the universe rewards courageous action and that our hearts keep breaking until they are able to remain open. We have to heal all of our bad relationship karma until we are emotionally ready to meet someone new. In all my relationships, I was constantly putting my partners first, allowing them to disrespect my time and choosing their priorities over mine.

Finally, I hit my limit. I was done.

Ad failed to load

When I made the decision to leave, it was like some magic string tying me to my past bad relationships finally broke. To put it simply, I felt like a very bad b*tch. What would have been my walk of shame home from being stood up by a guy who had once ghosted me somehow felt more like a victory lap. After years of people pleasing and being a doormat, I had finally established myself as someone who did not allow herself to be f*cked around with. I was like Wonder Woman! Literally exactly like Wonder Woman. Just as beautiful in the face and body, and with all the same superpowers.

The Universe Rewarded Me

Ali Segel
Ad failed to load

And then, almost immediately after being stood up, a guy who I had liked forever asked me out on a date. It was like the universe finally rewarded me for closing the loop on my bad, people-pleasing behavior and brought a good guy into my life. We haven't gone on that date yet, and he could be yet another bad guy, but I'm choosing to be optimistic about it.

People will treat you how you treat yourself. And now, I choose to treat myself with respect. So while being stood up sucked, it turned out to be the best thing for me. Sometimes (all the time), emotional pain can just be a blessing in disguise. Next time someone is an *sshole to you, find the lesson in it. You might learn a thing or two about boundaries and sticking up for yourself. Just make sure you're composed while you do it, and save the popping off for the group text.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Elite Daily on YouTube

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

A Dentist Reveals The Best Times To Brush Your Teeth & It's Actually So Surprising

Do you brush your teeth twice a day? If you do, you're already way ahead of me, since I usually forget about brushing my teeth before bed at least three out of seven days of the week. I'm so bad about remembering to brush my teeth before bed, that I'…
By Caroline Burke

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano