Some coaches advise going on three dates -- with the goal of making it to the third date. My clients, on the other hand, say I’d rather use my gut and decide if I’m attracted to the person first. This is because, quite often, something physical happens on the third date and… that could be really awkward if you’re just robotically sticking to the three date rule for the sake of your own commitment to hang in there (regardless of whether you’re actually attracted to the person). So, if you’re really not attracted to the person, and you feel like you’re leading them on, it makes sense to have a plan for what to say about not wanting to continue dating them.
Ghosting is a total copout. It’s also a missed opportunity to practice your dating skills by talking about what’s working and what isn’t and communicate that in a constructive and respectful way. If you are the person that’s getting that message, it’s important to hear the difference and opinion of that person and work to not go into feeling rejected and upset by it. Everyone has a right to their opinion and if they don’t think it’s a match it’s not a match. So shake it off and move on.
If you suspect that something physical will happen on that magical third date (for example), it’s really important you have a sex talk before the third date -- so that sex doesn’t just happen (because this is generally a surefire way to end any hope of a lasting and healthy relationship). You’re not a kid anymore, right?! So, having an STD talk (and knowing how to have one) is really important. Here're a few tips:
Be clear, honest, and direct.
Make sure that you’re clear that this isn’t a come on, but that it's something you want to be sure you talk about, because you respect them and believe in transparency and honesty.
Talk about your STD history. Ask them for their‘s.
You both might want to take tests to make sure -- especially if either of you have had (are currently having) unprotected sex with another partner. It is really important. None of us want surprises -- be they pregnancies or STDs!
Talk about birth control and pregnancy.
Find out what you’re both comfortable using and who’s responsible for securing it. Condoms…? Who’s responsible for making sure you have a supply on hand? And the super tough conversation: what are your options, should you get pregnant? Mood killer -- for sure, but then, so is an unplanned pregnancy.
Talk about other sexual partners.
Now, this is a sticky topic and often met with “that’s none of your business.” But having this come up later as a misunderstanding or “getting caught” is a lot more sticky. And, if you can’t be honest, it’s possible that it’s too early to move to being intimate with each other.
Talk about things that you like and don’t like -- sexually.
I will be putting out a guide on how to manifest your sexual fantasy -- and talk about it. This will help your potential sexual partner understand your sensual preferences. (Be on the lookout for that!) You may have everything in the world in common, but if you don’t align or connect sexually, that can really put a strain on every other aspect of your relationship (if you’re in a sexual relationship).
In my groups, people tell me that they want to have me on the wire so that I can tell them what to say when they’re really uncomfortable -- but uncomfortable conversations are a part of any healthy relationship. So, get up your courage and rehearse what you’re going to say -- and then just say it! Work through that feeling of discomfort and nervousness -- and don’t forget to rehearse it! Then, after you say it, don't forget to reflect back and think about what you did (or didn’t do) well, so that you learn as you go.
And remember… You know how good it feels when you’re with someone who’s confident, grounded, and really clear about what they want? It’s a little intoxicating -- isn’t it? Isn’t it such a relief, also, when what they say doesn't feel pressuring? Don’t you feel more safe? So be that confident and grounded person. Even if you’re not at that moment -- remember my advice from the first blog I wrote about dating —- act like a secure person and talk like a secure person. Fake it until you make it really just means practicing what’s difficult -- not actually faking it or ignoring it.
Likely, before you even get to the sex talk, you’re going have to have the COVID talk. People have all sorts of different rules that they follow in COVID times, such as whether they’ll: be vaccinated, date only vaccinated (or recovered), kiss on the first date, wear a mask, or limit the types of places they are going to go, etc. Everybody’s different and everyone operates within their own unique set of experiences and circumstances -- so, it’s super super normal that everyone has a different spin on it. What’s most important is that you respect the other person's boundaries, needs, and comfort level. A sign that someone is not the right match for you is if they’re trying to talk you into doing something that you’re uncomfortable with. That includes anything -- from meeting in person all the way to sex. So go with your gut here and stick with what keeps you feeling safe and comfortable. That’s the key: how are you going to stay grounded and confident, if you’re giving up what you value and what makes you comfortable?
Lastly, let’s get one thing straight: you are just dating. You're not marrying this person on the first, second, or third date. You probably won’t even think seriously about marrying them for at least a year or so, so you’ve got some time to chill and just enjoy the process of getting to know someone new -- without all of the pressure of determining whether they’re your future spouse. Sometimes, I coach people to just lighten up and get to know someone to see if there’s a connection. The connection doesn’t always happen right away -- and it often won’t happen at all if there’s a ton of emotional pressure to find a connection.
If you turn down a second or third date because you realize that your first name doesn’t sound good with their last name (or vice-versa) you’re going way too far. Pull your thinking (way, way) back. Practice being in the present moment.
Do you like the conversation you’re having?
Are you breathing?
Is there something else (anything else) you’d rather be doing?
Do you need to redirect the conversation into something that interests you?
Do you need to initiate an activity so that you feel interested and excited?
Are there things that you’re noticing in the conversation that are making you uncomfortable? Can you talk about that?
If you’re going to get anything out of dating (excluding getting married within the first week), maybe you can focus on getting more clarity about the parts of yourself that you may need to develop, so that you can be more and more yourself and get to the point where dating is actually comfortable and even fun!