I hate first dates, and I’ve had quite a few lately. What’s with all the shtick men have now? The first guy seemed normal online and on the phone. We went for dinner and everything was going well, until he reached over and picked up a bunch of fries off my plate. The next guy barely took his eyes off his phone as his annoying text message alert kept interrupting our conversation. I couldn’t help feel the texts were about me. The third guy was clearly not over his ex and couldn’t stop discussing what a bitch she was. All deal-breakers in my book.
Isn’t there anyone left out there that’s normal! I’m so frustrated I could scream. How am I ever going to meet Mr. Right?
Dear Hates Dating,
Dating is all about the risks and the rewards. You have no choice but to put yourself out there in order to progress that first date into a second one.
The first impression someone makes may not convey who they really are as a potential partner. You’re meeting a superficial being on the first date, someone who might be nervous, trying to put forward a specific persona, or trying too hard to impress you. On the other hand, he may truly be a jerk and not dating for the same reasons you are.
Time to put your Sherlock hat on and follow your instincts. It’s not easy, and you have to be smart.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if that first date should turn into a second.
First and foremost, do you feel safe, not only physically, but emotionally? Is he well-mannered, not putting you down or making you feel inadequate? Do you have anything in common? Does he possess any of the qualities from your short list? Are you bored? Are you enjoying yourself, or is the date a chore? Is your conversation easy or strained? Catching him in a lie is also a huge red flag. Trust your instincts.
Even if he did or said something annoying, if he passes most of the questions I mentioned, give a second date a try. Give yourselves a chance to let your hair down and get to know each other with the first date jitters and awkwardness out of the way. It only takes one to make it all the way to being that Mr. Right.
I recently met a sweet fellow at a party. He asked me out on a date, and I happily accepted. We were out for a walk after a lovely dinner, and he mentioned he would prefer to date women who have children. He is recently divorced and has two daughters 12 and 15.
At first I just thought it was an odd thing to say, but he explained that he didn’t feel a woman who has never raised children would understand that he has to put his kids first. I don’t have kids, and therefore don’t meet his criteria, but I like this guy and his values. Do you think I should bother trying to pursue him, and change his mind?
Kidless & Single
Dear Kidless & Single,
I think on the surface, this fellow is admirable. First, his priority is his daughters, which tells me he is a hands-on dad. Second, he is being honest with you from the start, also an commendable trait.
The question then turns to you. Are you comfortable taking second place in this relationship right from the start? He is telling you that you will never be No. 1. Can you handle that? Is that what you want?
I think what he really needs is time to adjust to his new lifestyle and experience what it’s like to be in the dating world again. He needs to stop being judgmental if he wants to succeed. Being a mother is not the only criteria that makes a woman understanding. There are plenty of divorced mothers who are ready to be No. 1 one in their man’s life, and there are plenty of single childless women, who may even want to get to know his kids and be part of their lives.
Although this guy may have his priorities straight, his narrow-minded views tell me he’s not ready for the dating scene yet. He has growing and learning to do. Are you sure you want to be the one to teach it to him?
Ella’s advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For
serious problems, consult a professional.