Can’t Get Past The Second Date?

If you’re not making it to that all-important third date, these 5 clues could help change all that.

By Stephen F. Milioti

he first date is unbelievably stressful. You spend so much time marketing yourself that you forget to be yourself. Luckily, your marketing tactics are good and you usually move forward to the second date, where you get to relax more and let your personality show. Then on the third date, you… well, you can’t really answer this question, because you
It’s that third date where relationships are so often made.
don’t often make it to the third date. “The second date is easy to get to,” says David Ludwig, a fashion showroom owner in New York, “because you still don’t know much about the other person.” It’s that third date where relationships are so often made. Can’t get there? You may be surprised to see just what you’re doing wrong:

Date don’t #1: Looking at everyone but the person you’re with
“The wandering eye is a big problem,” says Tonya Reiman, who’s a motivational speaker and body-language expert. “Glancing at, say, the staff or another patron at a restaurant shows a real lack of interest.” Your date thinks you’re either bored or want to leave with the bartender. Stopping yourself, says Reiman, takes conscious control. “Right before the date, you have to say, ‘I’m with X tonight. I have to stay with X and focus on X.” That means meeting X’s gaze, not just staring at her hair. “Maintaining eye contact,” says Reiman, “is a dead giveaway that you want to move forward.”

Date don’t #2: Touching too much ...or not enough
On date number two, it’s normal to begin to show your feelings with some physical contact. “With touching, there needs to be a happy medium,” says Reiman. “You don’t want to go overboard and be all over someone, but you can do little things to show you care. Best way to go is to lightly touch the back of your date’s hand, or their elbow. It makes a statement without being pushy.” That way, you’ve communicated the right amount of contact to pave the way to a third date.

Date don’t #3: Yammering and rambling
It’s OK to appear genuinely interested in someone’s life and work, but gabbing aimlessly isn’t sexy—it’s annoying. So is firing off questions, especially when those questions get personal (exes, family, money). Too much talking is usually just a sign that you’re nervous. But to your date, you look self-centered. So before you tell the person sitting
I still think a great second date is dinner and a movie.
across from you that you have a corn on your toe or that your mother still does your laundry, take a breather. Say, “But enough about me, seriously,” take a sip of that drink, and start listening instead.

Date don’t #4: Choosing the wrong place
Sometimes the reason you don’t make it to date #3 is that you’ve made some bad “where should we go?” choices on dates #1 and 2. You may think you’re showing your fun side by suggesting a cruise-y dance club or trendy art show, but in the initial stages of a relationship, there’s something to be said for relaxing, low-key venues. “I still think a great second date is dinner and a movie,” says Chip Wass, a cartoonist based in New York. “It gives you a chance to talk during dinner and allows for conversation afterward, because you have this shared world of the movie.”

Date don’t #5: Moving too fast
It’s one thing to let your date know you find them attractive. It’s another to suggest you two head to bed. Even if you think your partner’s interested, it could make it look like you’ve got your priorities wrong. “If your primary goal is to date someone,” says Dr. Mark J. Evans, a psychotherapist with a private practice in New York, “you have to have some restraint in the sexual arena on the first few dates. Your objective is to show interest in developing a more substantial connection.” Take it slow and the odds of getting to date number three versus burning out early will go way up.

Stephen F. Milioti is a writer and editor in New York. He says his getting-to-third-date rate is less than 50 percent, but he’s diligently working on improving it.
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