In the Dating Pool: It’s Better to Dip Your Toes Than to do a Cannonball

 By Nina Atwood

Dear Nina: I’m in my mid-30’s. I haven’t dated for a couple years probably because of too much trauma in past relationships I’d kind of given up. I’m bucking up and getting back into the swing of things. I’ve never been married. I really want children and a best-friend, love-of-my-life husband. So, I’m doing my best to try a new way. I’ve read two of your books. In Temptations of the Single Girl, you recommend just going to lunch with someone on the first date. How by the book do I need to do this? I understand why this is important, but it seems hard in real life to always follow the letter of this “law.” For instance, last night, at a single’s event, a man won tickets to an event and today he asked me to go with him. Should I seriously turn him down and, if I do, do I suggest a lunch date instead? My second question is: How interested should I be to accept a date with integrity? What I mean is: I don’t feel any sparks for this man, but I haven’t totally ruled him out either. So, is it ok to accept a date with low initial interest? – Hopeful Dater who is Dedicated to better dating, Anna

Dear Anna: You are definitely on the right track – you’re being thoughtful and intentional about dating, not just going wherever the wind blows. Here’s the problem I have with your current dilemma. When you meet someone in a “stranger setting” – meaning you don’t yet know him or anything about him – and you agree to go to an event, that usually means he’s going to come to your home and pick you up. That puts you at risk on several fronts.

Never, ever ask a man (or woman) to come to your home without knowing them well. That means meeting friends, knowing where he/she works, and even a background check. Go out with that person several times – meet there – and do your “due diligence” before you even consider meeting at one of your homes. Ask lots of questions and be bold in your queries. Don’t accept generalities, ask the next question, and be highly inquisitive. The person who has nothing to hide will hide nothing. Listen to your “inner compass” to tell you if you’re getting the straight story or if you’re getting b.s. Right now, you have none of this process in place.

The second issue is that an event is usually a longer date, and that puts you at risk of a long, boring, or even offensive evening with the wrong person. The problem I have with that is the risk that you’ll go back into your cave in discouragement. Or, you have a fabulous evening but things begin moving too quickly because of the too-long date. That puts you at risk of the skyrocket relationship that takes off very quickly but fizzles very suddenly.

Bottom line: it’s always best to start slow with short dates and meet there. It doesn’t hurt to be a little less available as well. So you might tell him “Thank you so much for that invitation; I’m busy that night, but perhaps we could get together another time. I would prefer that we begin with lunch or coffee just to get to know each other.” Let him take the initiative to ask you out for the second time. If he doesn’t, you have your answer. He either wants an “instant relationship” (i.e., take her out for a long evening of fun and bonding which leads quickly to sex) or he’s not that into you or he’s a “lazy lover” (i.e., the guy who only wants the low hanging fruit, no effort kinda girl).

On the issue of integrity – you’re okay at this point. It’s not at all unusual to not feel a lot of sparks right away. In fact, the instantaneous high combustion relationships usually don’t turn out well, while the slow growing attraction kinds of relationships tend to work better. You move out of integrity if you go out with someone three or four times, realize you still don’t feel attracted, and continue to accept dates because it’s better than sitting home alone.

Entry Filed under: Advice for Women,Breaking Up,Dating,Relationships,Sex/ Sexuality


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