Congratulations, your first date was a rousing success! Now, it’s time for some pointers on how to keep your momentum and eventually reach home base (whether it be a long-term relationship or marriage):
- Relax and Don’t Be Overly Aggressive: So, you’ve had such a great time and you can’t wait to hear back from your Prince Charming. But, day 1 goes by and no call. Day 2 and no call. This is not the time to panic or to text him about why he hasn’t he contacted you. Relax, this issue is more a function of our gender differences. According to dating expert, Elizabeth Overstreet, 48% of women like to follow up after a first date within 24 hours. Whereas, 68% of men prefer to play it cool and wait 72 hours before following up.
- Don’t Press the Fast Forward Key: Having a great first date doesn’t mean you’re a couple. Thinking about and talking about marriage is a bit premature at this stage. Remember, Optimistic but Realistic Expectations!
- Don’t Expect the Man to Pay for Subsequent Dates: Chances are your date does not have an endless supply of cash to pay for all future dates. At this stage you should offer to split or even treat him on some dates. You may also want to discuss this delicate subject so both of you can avoid the “Reach” or any awkwardness when it’s time to pay the bill. The important tip here is to communicate early and frankly. How you and your beau handle this issue will provide valuable information that informs how compatible you are. For example, this information will inform you whether you and your partner share similar values, how each of you view money and sharing, and whether you and your partner can communicate and work through differences (if any). As Jessica Chou, Senior Editor at Refinery29 noted, “In the long run, I find the best course is to do what you’re comfortable with and actually talk about it. Having interviewed a lot of couples about money for Refinery29, I’ve found that the way people think about sharing money in a relationship can make or break a long-term romance. Getting to that conversation earlier can let you know whether you’re compatible.”
- Establish Your Communication Preferences: Everybody has their own communicating style, whether it be text, talking on the phone, email, skype, or instant messaging. Knowing what each of your communication preferences are will avoid many misunderstandings, fights, and hurt feelings. Nonetheless, even if you or your partner prefer texting and other online modes of communication, it’s important to have a decent amount of face time (which can be Apple’s facetime), or talking on the phone. Listening to someone’s voice or seeing their facial expressions and gestures provide a more nuanced understanding of any conversation, provides context to a situation that texting does not, and gives you the vibe of the message. Moreover, in person (whether by video or audio) results in feeling more intimate and bonded with your partner. So, stop typing and start talking or connect via video. Better yet, how about that quaint notion of “going out on a date”?!!
- Don’t Play Hard to Get: Way back in the dinosaur ages, we were taught to “Play Hard to Get”. After all, aren’t all men hunters who enjoy the hunt more than the prize itself? True, you don’t want to be “too easy to get”, and sometimes an air of mystery provides excitement. But, when “playing hard to get” by not returning calls/texts, or cancelling plans at the last minute for no good reason is taken to the extreme, it becomes downright rude. As we all know, playing hard to get creates “uncertainty” which some women erroneously think makes her more attractive and desirable. However, studies have shown a completely opposite effect in that people actually respond negatively to “uncertainty”. Rather than creating desire for you more, this type of hard to get behavior will backfire, and you will find yourself alone in the forest. With so many dating apps and opportunities to meet others, your former suiter knows that there are “Plenty of Fish” (like POF dating app!) in the water. So, he’ll say adios and move on to his next “catch”. Remember, we are not living in the same era as “Gone With the Wind” where Scarlett O’Hara’s “hard to get” behavior increased Rhett’s desire for her. We are living in the 21st century where the “Dating App” approach to dating rules!!!
- Don’t Be Too Needy and Demanding: Nothing turns off a potential partner than a needy person who demands 24/7 attention. Unless he’s a masochist, it’s doubtful that your mate will stay in this relationship.
- Be Enthusiastic and Compliment Your Partner: Being enthusiastic and generous in spirit (and compliments!) is not a sign of neediness. Most people are drawn to upbeat people who are excited about life and them! While previous generations believed that giving compliments would put that partner at a disadvantage, giving authentic compliments actually gives power to both parties. It makes the other person feel better and more positive about the relationship. On the other hand, be wary of those who have difficulty complimenting others. This could be a sign of insecurity or a general lack of giving to others. When complimenting, remember to keep it to your partner’s qualities, not looks.
- Be Active in Planning Dates: Along with being taught to play hard to get, our generation of women were encouraged to be passive and let her male partner plan the date. Nothing can be further from the truth! As an equal partner, today’s women are just as involved as her male partner in planning dates. Co-planning dates benefits both genders. For the female, it gives her equal control of what activities they do as a couple. For him, it takes a huge burden of planning activities that his partner may not even like. More importantly, investing time and effort into planning a date shows your partner that you’re just as interested in developing a relationship as him. Planning activities together builds communication skills and provides even more insight into your partner. For example, does he expect things to be his way? Is he open to your suggestions? To the point where co-planning allows you to have control over activities…well, you may just be saving yourself from a night of World Wide Wrestling!
- Do Not Assume You Are in An Exclusive Relationship: Dating for an extended period of time such as several months does not necessarily mean you’re in an exclusive relationship. In this new era of openness to different types of relationships, there has been a significant rise in “polyamorous relationships”. Also, some people may have difficulty settling into one relationship given the ease in which people can get dates through online services and the immediate gratification and high that some get when hopping from one partner to another. How do you know whether your relationship is exclusive? Duh, ask him!!!
- Make Sure You’re on the Same Page as Your Partner: In addition to discussing your mate’s views on monogamy, it’s important to discuss what type of relationship your partner wants. Does he want your relationship to be just for fun and companionship? For sex? For a Long-Term Relationship not leading to marriage? Or One that leads to marriage.
- It’s the Little Things in Life that Count: One often overlooked behavior that makes for a great relationship and bonding is doing small unexpected gestures that shows caring and affection. These gestures can be simple ones that cost little or no money such as thank you cards, phone calls when someone is having a bad day, a surprise inexpensive but thoughtful gift, a spontaneous date, or baked cookies. These “little” gestures cumulatively are the glue that builds goodwill, bonding, and intimacy in your relationship.
- Look for Signs of Compatibility: One of the major indicators for successful relationships is the compatibility of partners. Compatibility is not whether you share the same race or culture; but it is whether you can co-exist on a daily basis. Knowing that you’re incompatible early in your relationship will save you time and heartache. If you want to see if you’re compatible with your partner, take this quiz.
- Sexting and #!? Pictures: In general, most dating experts suggest that sexting or sending intimate pictures of yourself occur after you’ve dated your partner for some period of time and you completely trust your partner. In this age of social media where anything can spread virally and nothing is off limits, do you really want your sexy texts or pictures showing up in your dear old Aunt Suzy’s facebook feed? Because of the emotional distress and embarrassment that a racy picture(s) can cause for you and your family (including your children!), Cocktail Chatter espouses a “Do Not Send Picture” rule. Afterall, you never know whether your partner will forward your intimate pictures to others (even if with good intentions). Just ask Jeff Bezos! What if you have a nasty breakup? Can you imagine what your ex-lover can do with those sexy pictures? Remember, times have changed. We may have been able to get away with our little indiscretions pre-Social Media times. Now, not so much! So, unless you don’t mind having intimate pics of you splashed all over the digital landscape, DON’T send these types of pictures to your dating mate.
- Red Flag! Receiving Texts at Odd Hours: If you receive texts from your partner at odd hours with no offer of meeting, chances are you’ve got a jerk on your hand who’s either already in a relationship, or is only interested in the “game of dating apps”. Run for the hills!
- Do Feel Free to Discuss Serious Topics Provided That….: After you’ve dated awhile, it is important to learn more about your partner’s values and belief system. Do talk about money, sex, religion, and dare I say, politics so long as both of you show respect for differing beliefs. No AOC or Trump behavior!!!
- Never Ever Ghost Someone: For those of you who have never heard of this term, “ghosting” means to stop texting or calling someone without telling a partner that the relationship is over. If you want to end a relationship, be upfront and communicate with your partner directly as to why you are ending the relationship. You could say something as simple as “I’m not feeling the chemistry” or “I don’t see a long-term relationship”. While it is uncomfortable to deliver bad news, it’s the mature and right thing to do. It provides closure to both sides who can part on good terms.
- Be Comfortable with Rejection: No one likes rejections. But you must brace yourself that the guy you’re madly in love with, isn’t madly in love with you. Remember dating is about finding the right match; it has nothing to do with your looks or personality. Remember, you’ve got to kiss many toads to get your frog!!!
- Have Fun!!!: Finding the right mate take time and a ton of effort. But it doesn’t mean you can’t fun. Remember, life is a journey that is meant to be enjoyed, not just tolerated!
****Cocktail Chatterer, were these tips helpful? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? ***
Let us know in the comments below. You just might save another gal from misery!!!