I just recently answered a reader’s question that I’d like to expand upon. The question was, “How many dates should you go on before throwing in the towel if you just don’t feel it’s right?”
This is a tough question to answer because every situation is different. It depends on what’s making you not “feel right”.
Let’s say the problem is that you’re not attracted to the person. From my experience I’ve found that guys rarely become attracted if they aren’t initially, whereas women often can (and do) become more attracted. That’s why I recommend women go out with a guy a few times before decided that they’re not attracted to them IF they really like they’re personality and enjoy spending time with them. I’ll recommend that guys do the same, but the results are usually not positive.
Having said that, it’s important to realize that there are varying levels of attraction. There’s the Hollywood version, where you are compelled to rip off the other person’s clothing and make wild and crazy “love” all the time, everywhere. If that’s exclusively what you’re expecting to find in a long term relationship, we should probably talk.
Then are degrees of attraction:
- very attracted/always
- sort of attracted/always
- sort of attracted/sometimes
- not really attracted
If you’re in the bottom 2 descriptions, then you should end it asap. You need to be at least “sort of attracted/sometimes” to make a go of it. This goes for men as well as women. If you’re “sort of attracted” then that means that the potential for stronger attraction is there and can definitely grow. Of course, the person has to have most of the other things you’re looking for in a partner. So much for the attraction piece.
Regarding specific qualities, that’s up to you and your list to decide whether it’s worth continuing to date this person. Just make sure you and your list are realistic.
Assuming you’re attracted to the person to some degree and they fit your basic criteria for long term partnership, the decision to continue dating or not to continue should be determined by one simple factor: do you enjoy spending time with them. Simple, huh? If you like being with this man or woman, then go out again. Now, that’s assuming that you have some degree of romantic attraction and they fit your basic criteria for relationship/marriage. But if you are, and they do, then continue dating them. Have fun. Let your feelings for them grow. Don’t fight it. Don’t sabotage it. Let yourself fall…into a relationship…in love.
The bottom line is that there is no magic number of dates to go on before “throwing in the towel”. You need to make your own decision based on your needs, feelings, past experience, and knowledge of yourself (how your mind works). For some the answer is 1 date and for others it might mean 20.
Once you DO know for SURE that it isn’t going to work for you, then you MUST break it off immediately. Don’t make a tough situation worse.
>> If you found this post interesting, there’s a lot more super helpful advice in my book, From I to I Do: How to Meet, Date and Marry Your Mr. Right [Available on Amazon]