A Matchmaker’s Plea for Date Number Three

Feet fireShould she have a second date with that guy? How about a third date? How can she know if she’s wasting her time on another go-nowhere dead end?

Today’s post-date feedback from my matchmaking client, Jocelyn? It was a so-so, rather lukewarm report on her end. I got the sense that she was looking to be “wowed” by Brent, and I could hear the disappointment in her voice, in describing the evening as being just … OK.

This is the part where the matchmaker sighs. Because I REALLY do like this match between Jocelyn and Brent. Their lifestyles mesh, they live close by, they both love skiing, nature, the mountains, they’re both wine lovers, both are seriously into art, culture, travel – there’s SO much I like about this match, especially given that HE is hot to see her again.

In dating, nothing can happen unless he’s attracted to her, and that attraction happens for men right away, in a heart-beat. Or it doesn’t. As difficult and thoroughly unfair as this is, the attraction phenomenon IS different for women than it is for men, as we girls really do have a much better ability to develop attraction for a man over time.

How to know if you SHOULD give this guy another date?  Take a close look to see if he seems to have your Top Three Qualities – the critical criteria that you’ve determined are most important in your guy. These are the three qualities / characteristics / attributes that are so essential for you that if a guy didn’t have them, you’d prefer to do life solo forever than partner with him.

I did this tough work myself, with a dating coach way back when I was single, and that dating coach MADE me have a second date, often a third date with every guy who was hot for me, who had my Top Three: Wants marriage/kids, successful in work he loves, and he had to be fun / funny. Good thing I followed that advice, as there had been an earlier time in my life when I might have passed over my guy, Gil – age, religion, table manners, location, that nasty beard he was sporting (at the time) – these things were “off” and in the end…. Just didn’t matter, because love won out.

Love was able to break through the fog because we HAD that third date. Date #2 felt kinda MEH to me, and I nearly blew him off. My dating coach saved me, grilled me, and encouraged me to hang in there for another date. It’s been 26 years now and I’m not trading Gil in for a new model just yet…

What makes this matchmaker sigh, even cry on occasion, is when I see really good matches fizzle out and die for what are so often silly, secondary, not-critical reasons. His height, his hair (or lack of it), how he dresses, which part of town he lives in, even his level of education, what his car or house is like – there are other elements that tend to be MORE important over the long haul in a relationship.

To maximize the dating adventures that you’re having out there, and to avoid letting the Picky-Fussies get the best of you, ask these questions before hitting the NEXT button on this guy…

  1. Does he meet your Top Three Critical Criteria?
  2. Is he hot for YOU? Is he interested, attracted, pursuing you?
  3. How does it FEEL, being with him?

As women, we really need to give a guy at least a few dates, if on paper he seems to make the mark. ESPECIALLY if he’s on-go for seeing you again, which usually means that he’s attracted and inspired, you’ll be wise to say Yes to his invitation. Keep the door open and continue to explore together, to give the two of you a chance to really see how it FEELS being together.

Julie Ferman with Gil FermanNo one’s really fully comfortable or “ourselves” on a first date, and not even really on the second date, but maybe a little bit on the third. The two of you need to be together long enough to settle into yourselves while together, and then you should check our GUT to see if being together has a “homey” feel.  Does being together bring out the best in you, in him? What qualities in you shine around him? What qualities in him do you bring out? Does he shine around you?

There are two really lovely new relationships budding in my matchmaking community at the moment. Both are couples who took their time in exploring each other. With each of these two matches, he was on-go from the get-go. And in both cases, she was interested “enough” to say Yes to the next date, and the one after that, and then things kept evolving and blossoming as they spent really lovely time together.

The biggest obstacle a guy has to overcome with you is likely to be the image that you have in your mind’s eye as to who Prince Charming is meant to be. We’re only disappointed in life when reality doesn’t match up to our expectations. And who’s in charge of your expectations? You guessed it, you are.

Screen your first dates well enough in advance that you can readily determine if he meets your Top Three Critical Criteria. Look for evidence of these criteria being present in this guy. If you think you see these qualities / attributes showing up in him, if he seems to be interested in you, attracted to you, and if it FEELS nice being with him, then…. you bet, put another date on the calendar with this guy. And then another.  It will become clear by around date number 5 or 6 if you should hang in together or let the fishie go.

If you’re a one-date-wonder specialist, then it’s YOU I’m speaking to here. See what happens when you turn your dating patterns upside down and inside out. Rather than hitting the NEXT button, which has become oh so comfortable for you, give the guy who’s knocking on your door another shot.

Those first dates when sexual attraction is off the charts? With romantic chemistry that feels like a tsunami? I’m so sorry to have to say this, but those “loves” tend to end up as just a flash in the pan. The “loves” I’m most interested in? They’re the slow-burning-ember types.

Blow-me-away, Tsunami-type attraction (lust-filled animal attraction) only lasts for a short while. Those relationships we see out there, among couples that have stuck together for decades, through life’s twists, turns, and turbulence – it’s love and commitment that kept them together. If things stayed steamy between them, it’s because they both kept the flame alive, on purpose. Give love a chance to work its magic for you by sticking around for at least a few dates.

Who’s responsible for whether we’re turned on or not?  Who gets to decide if you’re “in it” or not? You do. Each of us gets to decide, on a moment by moment basis which person we’ll be “all in” for and which ones not.

That twinkle in your eye? Don’t withhold it, waiting for the “magic” to suddenly appear.  Instead, share the twinkle, as THAT’s where the magic is born.

Do we wait around for the perfect circumstances in order to open our heart and allow love to nurture and grow? Or do we find a garden that’s got enough sun, enough water, good enough soil, and then we just simply choose to work this garden together? It’s love that makes the garden grow into something truly special.

The blessing of our time, our modern day era, is that we have so many options. The curse that comes with that blessing? With all of these options, it’s tempting to keep trying on hats ‘til there’s one that fits magically – that one guy who matches all of our fantasies, who meets ALL of our expectations, completely. And right, this is why there are millions of people STILL up on those dating sites, STILL looking, STILL holding out. No one’s got “it all” – no one.

Stack the deck in your favor by saying Yes to the right suitors (the ones who meet your Top Three Critical Criteria), and then if he’s hot to trot for Round Two, give him the green light. If he’s still pursuing you, and if being with him feels good to you, if you like who you are showing up to be in his presence, yes indeed, keep exploring.

I’m a big fan of slow, burning love. The fire has to stay lit for a while, before we get to feel the heat from those red, hot embers. Tend that new fire, keep throwing kindling at it, blow on it gently… watch what happens.

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