A few months ago, I met a girl on a dating site. We talked a bit and had our first date. It was great but she mentioned she had quite a heavy backstory without giving out much details. Unfortunately, after this date, she had some family problems and cut contact for two months before we met again.
So here we were, having a second date and enjoying ourselves, when she started to talk more and more about her past. Like she said, she had some pretty bad experiences: one of her neighbours killed himself and she was the one to find the body, her fiance broke up just before their marriage and confessed he was cheating on her with a man, etc...
As she was telling these stories, she was becoming sadder and sadder. Even though I tried to change the subject, she always found a way to tell a sad story that happened to her and which was somehow related to our discussion. In the end, she cried and I comforted her the best I could.
I don't think I have handled this situation well and I am still not sure about how I should have handled it.
- Changing the subject too much may come off as rude.
- Making jokes might help to keep the mood light and cheer the person, but it is very hard to do with such sad stories.
- Listening to her and lending a shoulder to cry on is quite awkward when you are just beginning to know each other. In my case, she felt extremely embarrassed to be crying in front of me.
Let's say the objective is to have a nice date for both the person and you. You don't know each other very well and the person starts getting sad for whatever reason.
What is the best way to handle this situation ?