You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. That sounds extremely trite and hackneyed but it is also true. It is always better to find Mr. Right, or Mrs. Right as the case may be, than Mr. Right Now. But there comes a time when we all want to stop dating and start a long term relationship. The problem seems to be with the first date and how your figure out if he, or she, is someone you want to be with. In doing so, you have taken on an almost impossible task. It is rare that you find a person who you have just met as being someone you are certain about, someone with whom you feel perfectly comfortable. In that light, give yourself three or four dates before you come to any conclusions about someone. That is assuming you do not find something in the person you have just met that you consider to be a deal breaker. A deal breaker for me, when I was dating, was smoking. I made it known up front that I could not be with some who smokes. Once or twice my date denied she smoked but then she never should have kissed me because non-smokers are very sensitive to the existence of nicotine.
That leads me to rule number one of dating, honesty. Many people today attempt to find partners via dating websites. That is all well and fine, I found my wife that way, but total honesty is a necessity. That means you do not put up a five year old picture because you favor how it makes you look. If, however, that is the only picture you have, be certain to mention that in your profile. Dishonesty of any sort should be, and usually is, a deal breaker. You have a right, and should insist upon that from the person you are interested in.
Once you decide you want to meet someone make that meeting at a location which does not serve alcohol. I like coffee shops. The reason is simple, you do not want your judgment and perception, or his, clouded by alcohol. You also do not want that person using alcohol as a crutch to better present himself. If you know you are shy and withdrawn, you need the other person to be accepting of that. This too is honesty. And you need to know how the other person acts fully sober. A shy person can still be an extremely attractive person.
Eye contact is not the sign of honesty, it only shows the person is capable of maintaining eye contact. Inveterate liars have no problem maintaining eye contact. But you can get to the truth of the other person by asking questions that are really important to you. Ask the other person questions like where they work and what their plans are for the future regarding their profession. Ask what they like to do in their free time, about their siblings and parents to see how they handle what should be important relationships. A bad relationship with a parent or sibling should not be a deal breaker. I like to say all families are crazy, it is just a matter of degree. But it will speak to how they handle difficult and important relationships.
If you love cats or dogs, you probably want to find out how your date feels about them. If you are a college grad and want the same in your date find that out. If you cherish your independence, make sure your date enjoys the same feeling. If your dating history suggests you have dated people who have eventually cheated on you, ask yourself what sort of person he generally was in the beginning and if you are seeing that in your new date.
Let date one be an interview only. You meet at the coffee shop, or where ever, and when you leave that location each of your goes your own way. Sex needs to be off the table.
For women, do not be afraid to tell the person you have met, after an hour or so, that you need to check in with a friend that you are safe and well. If he is offended by this, leave, he is obviously insecure and unconcerned with what is right for you. A keeper will intuitively understand and encourage your action.
If you got to the location of your date via public transportation, do not allow your date to take you home, regardless of how good you feel about him. If he becomes insistent, it is not wrong for you to take that as the sign of a controlling person, someone you probably do not want to be with. A good mate respects your wishes. Respect is absolutely necessary in a successful relationship. Demand respect.
Most importantly, be yourself. Do not try to be the party girl when you dream is to be a soccer mom. Talk about things you find fascinating and things you love to do. Accept that you are going to find things he likes or does that you do not like. Just consider it as a piece of the whole and how much it would matter in a long term relationship. For example, I love NFL football and make my wife an NFL widow. She neither likes nor understands football but we have more than enough things we do together, and things she does by herself, that more than compensate. For example, she enjoys her “girls’ night out.” I actually encourage it.
The first date ends when you want it to. If you do not want to see him again, say so. If he asks why mention the deal breaker and that as a deal breaker, it is not open to compromise. However, if you did not come across any deal breaker, I recommend you move on to date two. Keep date two limited to being taken out to dinner or something similar which requires conversation. This means going to see a movie or concert is inadvisable as such things do not promote an exchange of ideas. But unlike date one, date two can cover more important and intimate things. Thoughts about marriage should only come up as a natural extension of other discussions but not as a question in itself. The early dates should encompass only your mutual compatibility and nothing more.
Those first dates must be about your mutual compatibility. You need to see if he would make a good friend and if you say no to that, then say no to continuing on. With each succeeding date, you should feel increasingly comfortable in his presence. You should feel less and less guarded about your feelings and the things you share because you are increasingly confident that he will accept you as you are. You should be able to say something as simple as you are afraid of thunderstorms and have him offering you comfort and not laughing at such things. We all have fears and shortcomings. That special person will want to be at your side no matter what.
When you start this sort of dating, remember the goal, to find a life partner. To a reasonable extent, control the conversation. Know your boundaries and do not let him inside any boundary before you are ready. Have a firm grasp on your deal breakers and what is important to you, and make sure he meets such expectations. Compromise well within your comfort zone and if you are not comfortable with any comprise then don’t! Your future happiness depends upon your up-front willingness to stay within your principles.