Small talk is fun on a date. But if you have an agenda and you really want to know if you two have chemistry and staying power, than small talk isn’t enough. You want to know if this has got some real possibilities. So how do you find out? That’s simple; by asking the right questions. Gauge their answers carefully. You don’t want your exact twin, as nice as that sounds. It’ll be so dull. And you don’t want someone your polar opposite, as exciting as that is. It will wear on you. The first one is, “If you could take a year off and do anything you wanted, what would you do?” The purpose of this question is to show what your date is really passionate about and where their priorities are. Will they be designing the next app? Staring a restaurant? Climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro? Trekking across Asia or helping to build latrines for orphans in Haiti? Whatever their answer, it will be revealing and add spice to the conversation. Ask away even on the first date.
Keep this one ready in your arsenal. Ask your date to share an embarrassing moment. This is a really great and interesting question and a sure conversation starter. But not only does it make great fun it will let you know right away how forthcoming your date is in being vulnerable. And that can help you gauge whether they are ready for commitment or not. The fact is you can’t ask this question without it being turned back on you. So be prepared to give a funny or insightful anecdote to follow up whatever your date has said. “If you were the victim of a house fire, what would you save?” This will help you see how sentimental or practical your date is. Another great one is asking what is the biggest misconception people have about your date. This one lets you know how they think about themselves. Of course don’t hit them with all of these questions at once. Stagger them and hit them with one or two per date to allow yourself to cast that spell and see if this is someone you might want to spend a little more time with. For more advice, read Falling in Love for all the Right Reasons: How to Find Your Soul Mate by Dr. Neil Clark Warren.
Were you in a long term relationship that recently ended in a breakup or a divorce? Do you find yourself suddenly back in the game without a clue as to what the rules are?Some people end up dating but aren’t ready to commit, as they’re still licking their wounds from their previous relationship. So they end up having chemistry, possibly being intimate and then when one person wants commitment and the other isn’t ready, without any middle ground they either move forward unfulfilled or break up. Instead, date smart. Get the rundown of the playbook. Here are the rules for casual dating to move ahead in your love life without hurting anyone’s feelings. First, be careful how you frame things. Instead of saying you aren’t ready for commitment say you aren’t ready right now. Perhaps make a timeline. Would six months due? Perhaps a year? Let them know if you need an open-ended timeline which you might, and that you understand if that doesn’t work for them.
If you are dating more than one person let your date know. They do have the right to know. But tell them that you are a private person and you don’t share that information. If you tell them what goes on with other people your date you will only elicit jealousy. This way you let them know that you respect them but the other person as well. Just say you are involved with others or another. Let them know that their privacy is also of the utmost respect to you. If you are ready to commit and the other person isn’t don’t assume that it will change. They may never be ready. And if your goal is to be in a committed relationship than it’s probably best you move on and find someone that is also ready to commit. Don’t think that jumping into bed together spells commitment. Sometimes people equate the two. But other people don’t and here is where the problem rests. If after six or seven dates you don’t see whether the person is willing to commit, or you don’t feel as if you want to, either way have a conversation about it. Don’t let it go unspoken. Chances are one person will consider the relationship as committed, another as not committed and a fight will ensue. Instead, be proactive and considerate and you won’t have any problems, just simple awkward moments, but a whole lot of bright ones, too. For more advice, read The High Side of Five: Nice Guys Five Point Paradigm for Casual Dating Success by Ken Bolden.
Ladies generally want a long term relationship. Guys are generally scared of it. That’s the cliché. Of course there are those women who want to play the field and guys who want to settle down. And age, the desire for children and your situation in life plays a big factor too. All that said, when broaching the subject of exclusivity with your partner, there are lots of things to keep in mind. You certainly don’t want to scare them away. Nor do you want to waste your time. So how can you increase success? How can you up your chances at exclusivity? Kindly keep these points in mind and your chances will rise dramatically, considering that you’re with the right person. First off, do not tell someone you are looking for monogamy or exclusivity or a long term committed relationship or marriage or what-have-you on the very first date. That’s neither the time nor the place. And if you want to scare someone off rather than weave a spell of love and commitment around them, you will succeed in doing it. Some people think that it’s being straightforward from the beginning or that they aren’t interested in “playing the game” anymore. But this is a time when nerves are on edge and a person could be reading a far different signal, desperation perhaps? Or a pushiness to hurry up and commit already. Instead, let things unfold and get to know each other a little bit first. How do you know you even want to commit to this person? Wait for it to be right to bring it up.
Next, do not ever assume you are exclusive. Many a relationship has ended in this fatal error. If the other person wants to introduce you to a friend, take you here and there, and tells you you’re the best in the world, those mean nothing. They aren’t out-and-out promises. All it is is hot air. Instead, you need to hear a verbal commitment. It’s like a verbal contract is worth something in court, but not an assumption. Same applies here. If you’re still not sure and it’s been a few months ask directly. If you find you’re getting comfortable with this person, you don’t want to be emotionally invested and at the same time insecure about the relationship. That is not a good position to be in. But you have to wait until a little time has gone by. Ask if he or she is seeing anyone else. But don’t drop hints. Ask directly. “I really like you and want us to be exclusive,” works fine. Or “I really can’t keep on seeing you like this unless we become exclusive.” If your love interest can’t commit, try to find out why. But don’t stay in a relationship where you want commitment and the other doesn’t. It’s a recipe for heartbreak. Instead, hold your head high, say it was fun and walk on off into the sunset like a good cowboy or cowgirl should. For more on this topic, read 101 Reasons Why He Won’t Commit To You: The Secret Doubts, Fears, and Insecurities that Prevent Most Men from Getting Married by Bruce Bryans.
You’re on a date. It’s going great. And then you’re thrown for a loop. You ask about past girlfriends. Maybe he has some he wished ended another way. Maybe he has a messy divorce or more under his belt. Perhaps his ex did the breaking up and he struggled with it. Whatever the situation, when a woman asks about past relationships he should be prepared to deliver the best possible answer. And if he isn’t prepared, that too can tell you something. A woman asks because she wants to know more about him of course, but she also wants to know what she may be in for. It’s a good question but it has to be asked at the right moment. The first or second date is not the right time to ask. You will send signals that you are ready to settle down, or want to rush the relationship and this could scare him off. Or perhaps, if he’s the clingy type, interest him far more than you wanted. Wait until at least the third date. There’s no rule of thumb. It’s best to feel out the situation. But you should do it before you two become exclusive. If you slip up and ask too soon and he says he’d rather not discuss it, smile and change the subject. Don’t pry unless this is the fifteenth date. Then it’s been way too long. The point here is that he needs to be comfortable enough to open up.
If he says his ex was a psycho, that may be true. But of course you should probe a little deeper. An important thing to note is whether or not he talks about the problems he brought to the relationship. He may say he just never met the right person. That could be true, especially if he’s in his early thirties or younger. But if he’s in his mid-thirties or older, chances are he doesn’t want to discuss the relationship. Ask more probing questions as time goes on. It may be that he had a painful experience in the past and he’s chalking it up to not-the-right-one. If he says women don’t understand him, he probably has communication issues. That and his interpersonal skills are terrible. Or he doesn’t make the effort to understand them. Whatever option you choose it doesn’t bode well for a future relationship, unless he’s some sort of fringe artist or misunderstood genius. Generally speaking, most guys should be able to open up at least a little about their past relationships. If he is so guarded and won’t tell you anything, beware. There is some serious trouble or hurt there. And you’d better figure out which one fast. For more advice, read Dating the Divorced Man: Sort Through the Baggage to Decide if He’s Right for You by Christie Hartman, PhD.
Men and women communicate differently. And what seems straightforward to him isn’t so clear cut to those of the female persuasion. In fact, sometimes guys say exactly what they mean but women take it differently. This is because women generally communicate in suggestions, hints and signals while men say exactly what they want directly. So since these two communication styles are different, misunderstandings inevitably occur. To clear the muddled waters here are some common phrases from guy speak decoded. “We should hang out.” This really means “I want to ask you out.” But he doesn’t want to risk rejection. So instead he’s using this little phrase to evaluate how interested you are. If you are, give him your number or email. If not just say “Yeah.” But don’t give him your number thinking the two of you are becoming friends. And if you’re interested give him your number. Don’t just say yes and not follow through, or else you’re sending the message that you aren’t interested in him. “I really like your tights,” means “I really like you.” He finds you attractive but doesn’t want to be too forward. Instead, he’s paying you a roundabout compliment to show how he feels about you. He noticed your legs but didn’t want to come out and say so.
“Maybe we should take a break,” or “…take some time off.” He’s thinking that perhaps it’s best if he keeps his options open. He doesn’t want to hurt you, but he doesn’t want to fully commit to you either. Lots of women think that this isn’t a big deal. But he’s not that into you. And if you are looking for a long term, committed, monogamous relationship, it may be best for you to seek greener pastures. If you two get in a fight and he says “I am listening!” it means he’s hearing what you are saying, but he doesn’t want to get into a long drawn out argument, that might get emotional, at the present time. He may feel overwhelmed. Meanwhile, women usually take this statement to mean that he’s stopped listening. Men are far more to the point with their conversations and sometimes get lost in a woman’s way of conversing. Why not couch it as a problem you need him to help solve, or need his advice on? Guys are great problem-solvers. Or ask if he has the time to commit to a long story. “You’re too good for me.” If you hear this line, believe him. He does think so. But more importantly he is getting out of the relationship but wants to spare your feelings. Let him go. He’s not that into you. “I think I’m falling for you.” This means he thinks he loves you, but doesn’t want to commit to saying those three little words until he’s sure he’ll hear them coming back his way. So now your mind will be better suited to separate what he says from what he means. For more on this topic, read For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn.