I was trying to prove to my new boyfriend how adventurous I was on a zip-lining date night. Instead I had to be rescued.

  • After my divorce, I decided I needed to be more adventurous.

  • My new boyfriend of a few months took me zip-lining and I wanted to impress him.

  • I had to be rescued, but it's been eight years since that date and we are still together.

As I began dating in my late 30s as a single mother, I promised myself I'd keep an open mind. While many of those dates after divorce were unmemorable meetups for dinner and drinks, I finally met someone I thought I could get serious about. But in my quest to impress my new boyfriend, what started out as one of our best dates turned into the worst.

During my process of self-discovery after divorce, I decided I wanted to be more adventurous than I was in my marriage. That's why, when my boyfriend of a few months said he was taking me on a surprise date night, I put on the comfortable clothes he advised me to wear and asked no questions.

He took me zip-lining

When we arrived at the zip-lining and aerial ropes climbing park, I was excited to show off my athleticism. We listened to the safety briefing, signed waivers, and then strapped into harnesses. Aware of the color-coded courses that ranged in difficulty from beginning purple to advanced double black diamonds, I followed my boyfriend's lead as he guided us through progressively challenging courses. As darkness fell, lights illuminated the trees, and we snuck kisses on the mid-air platforms. I hoped he could see I was as adventurous as I told him I was.

We had about a half-hour left in our two-hour session when I started feeling tired. We'd just completed a black diamond that had us zip-lining over a river when my boyfriend suggested we try a double black diamond. My arms were shaky, but not wanting to appear skeptical, I agreed.

My first clue the course would end badly should have been that I barely got through the initial climb. I should have stopped and acknowledged it was too difficult, but my boyfriend climbed it with ease and was so confident that I couldn't give up yet.

Woman ziplining at night
The author zip-lining at night.Courtesy of the author

I made it to the second platform, but panic set in. I was halfway through the next bridge when my arms gave out. Standing on a thin piece of wood about 40 feet up in the air, I burst into tears, finally admitting I couldn't do it.

I had to be rescued

Unfortunately, I was trapped with no easy way down. My boyfriend called out for help, and a park employee appeared beneath me, yelling instructions on how to work my way backward to the beginning of the course, where I could unlock from the clip system. Feeling the stares of people gawking at the crying woman stuck in the trees and knowing I was holding up the line of climbers, I mustered every ounce of energy I had and eventually exited the course where I had entered.

Embarrassed and exhausted, I sat on a bench with my boyfriend as he wrapped his arm around me and apologized for not realizing how fatigued I was while I apologized for not communicating how I was feeling. I couldn't believe my plan to be adventurous ended with needing to be rescued.

But as he started removing his harness, I stopped him.

"Let's do one more course," I said. "We can't end the date like this."

We completed a beginner course, one that required virtually no upper body exertion, before he brought me home with my bruised body and ego. I didn't impress my new boyfriend as I had hoped, but it turned out I didn't need to.

Eight years later, that boyfriend and I are still creating adventures together. That date night may not have been our best, but it still goes down as one of our most memorable.

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