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Our first date was a disaster. And it was my fault.

Our first date was a disaster. And it was my fault.
It was all my fault. (J.T. Steiny / For The Times)

After about a year going back and forth, downloading and deleting and downloading and deleting, I resolved to give myself a one-month trial on Tinder, just to "see what's out there." I racked up about 100 matches, had replies from about 50 men in my in-box, and went on three unsuccessful dates before I met Sean.

Our first date didn't turn out to be absolutely magical. Instead, it was an absolute mess.

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We met at a bar on 2nd Street in Long Beach, and in the course of a few hours, I blew it. We'd had a couple drinks too many and were making out when I began questioning his intentions. Between soft kisses, he tried to reassure me that he liked me and wanted something serious, but I didn't believe him. "Sure, that's what they all say..." The more he said it, the less I believed him. I abruptly ended our kissing session. "I'm going home." I left him standing alone and confused inside a crowded bar.

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I walked to a friend's house nearby to finish off my night. When she asked me how my date went, I told her that it had gone sour and that I had no intention of seeing that jerk ever again.

About an hour later, just before midnight, I looked down at my phone and saw I had a message from Sean: "Hey! Sorry about whatever I did to make you mad. If you're not too mad, I would like to see you again."

It didn't make sense.

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I had acted like a total brat and had purposely sabotaged our date. We'd gotten along fine all night, and we liked each other, that seemed obvious enough. But I couldn't help myself. I started to wonder where Sean and I would end up. I didn't want him to be another boyfriend-of-the-month. Toward the end of the night I became very disagreeable and gave him my nastiest attitude.

Yet, somehow, this guy still wanted to see me again? This guy must be crazier than I am, I thought.

With my head held high and a stuck-out lip, I declined his offer.

"You're cute and all, but I think I'll pass."

After a bad breakup and two years of being single, opening up to trust in another relationship wasn't easy. It had taken one year to fully get over my ex after being together for three years. Since then, I had done the single party-girl life, dated guys from bars and from school, but nothing stuck. Most recently, I dated a guy who seemed sweet and genuine, but after a month he ghosted me without explanation. After that, I made a resolution to be tougher — and more guarded.

But here was a good and handsome man who wanted to get to know me, and my first instinct was to run away.

Even after all that foolish and embarrassing behavior, this man was willing to give me a second chance. What on Earth had I done to deserve that? Yet there I was, still acting foolish, with a false sense of pride, rejecting this man.

How could I even face him again?

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When I had joined Tinder a month earlier, I had thought to myself, "No more games, time to find something new."

It was time to get it together.

I mulled this all over for a few minutes. Then, I swallowed my pride, took a deep breath and messaged a second time.

"OK," I said. "Let's meet again."

The next morning I received a message from Sean. He asked me what time I would be off work and if I wanted to go bowling later that night.

I agreed.

I don't know how he does it, but his unconditional love amazes me. Sean says that after our first date he was determined to give it another try. It's been just six months and our future looks brighter every day. I definitely set the tone for our relationship that night. I still give Sean a hard time like I did on our first date, but his patience is helping me to heal.

He isn't fazed by my bad temper. When I react with bitterness and anger, he responds with love and patience. Even when I try to put up a steely wall, he manages to make me smile. I don't have it all figured out, but with Sean's help I am learning to trust in our relationship and move forward.

The author lives in Huntington Beach and works as a public relations professional in San Pedro. You can find her on Instagram @_miss_mayberry

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.

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