Sunday, February 6, 2011

"One and Done" vs. Second Date = Second Chance

Before I started dating, someone, possibly a teacher, told me that one should always go on a second date unless the first date was a really, really big disaster. The reasoning is that sometimes people are nervous on a first date, or you don’t get to know them really, or perhaps they’ll grow on you. I know plenty of people who subscribe to this philosophy as well, and I include myself in that category. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that my experience (and when I say “my experience” it’s not only my personal experience, but also when consulting others who are dating) seems to indicate that this is told a lot more to girls than it is to guys. Guys are given more leeway to end things earlier while girls are pushed to continue and try it again.

My second thought is that the line is not always clear. How does one define what qualifies as a bad enough first date that a second is not worth a shot? In a case when the date was awful, and you were miserable the whole time, there were major problems or issues that came up, and you kept waiting impatiently for it to be over, then it seems clear that it was a “one and done.” Especially if your gut reaction to the thought of spending another minute with the person is, “Noooooo!!”

That type of situation has only happened to me twice, and in both cases the hardest part was dealing with shadchan/ the person who set us up. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by telling them that they were very off target, especially since in both cases I matched up on paper with the guys, and it was just a matter of a lack of connection in person, which they could not have foreseen in advance in either case. So then I end up explaining that the person wasn’t for me, while assuring them that it wasn’t awful or so far off. But if it wasn’t so awful or far off, then the person is curious as to why I am refusing to go on a second date. At some point, I just have to tell them to trust me on this one.

The thing is, what about when it’s not clearly awful? What about the cases where it wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible? You know, where you might have had an awkward silence here and there, but overall conversation flowed and your date wasn’t completely unattractive? In some of those cases you can still just have a gut feeling that this person is not right for you. It doesn’t always need to be awful for you to feel that it is not going to work. This goes back to my post about being picky- it is as though if I don’t give a guy a second chance, even though I can tell it is going nowhere, then I am accused of not being fair and being too selective. Which is why I hope that the guy will say no so that I won’t have to, and if he does, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. No one can blame me this time. It seems to me that if a date is in the mediocre category, guys are more quickly to be done with it than girls are.

After a first date I try to think about how much the guy was really able to get to know me, and sometimes I feel they got a good gist of it, while sometimes I feel like they barely know me at all. I mean, really, how well can you know another person after a few hours? How can you be sure after a few hours that a person is definitely not the right one for you, if there were no huge outstanding issues? I ask this sometimes, yet admit that I am guilty of being quick to trust my gut. Which is not a bad thing, because it’s usually right. In both of the cases where I went on completely awful dates, I had a feeling the date would be bad within the first 3 minutes of my phone calls with the guys.

Usually, unless I can’t picture spending another minute with the person, I believe in second chances. This is because it can’t hurt to try again, whereas if I say no too quickly, the risk is losing my bashert. Some people, however, subscribe to the other philosophy; unless there was something special about the date, then it is not worth going on a second date. No need to justify it. Once was more than enough, thank you very much.

Food for thought: What is your approach? Do you believe in second chances? Do you believe it is possible for people have a gut feeling after one date, or do you think that is ridiculous since you barely got to know the person?



  1. I do believe in giving people chances bcz you never know what happened that first time, but if there is something horrendously wrong the first time, and if you cant wait to get away from the person then i think its a pretty safe indication that its not going to work..

  2. I'm not sure if it is so easy to lose your bashert. I know of quite a few situations when either a guy or girl kept saying no (rather unreasonably) then they end up with that person. But my premise is never to say no to a second date if the person is a mensch. One can always tell. If they say no, well, that's not my problem.

  3. There is NO problem saying NO after one date when you know it will not go anywhere. There IS a problem when you say yes to a second date only because the alternative is being accused of being unfair, because you will be wasting someone's time (invaluable) and possibly money.

    Which brings me to my second idea. Girls do not invest much in the first couple of dates because all they have to do is be taken out. (I am not having the discussion now of for whom dating is harder.) Guys have to invest in the first couple of dates. They invest time traveling to and from the girl, and they pay for transportation and the activity. So it is no surprise that girls are told more often then guys to always go out on a second date- they aren't the ones footing the bill or spending 2 hours in traffic to get to a date!

    That being said, from my male perspective, I will only say no after one date if I can't get past someone's looks (we're talking Medusa, here), lack of intelligence (I'm not judging, just trying to find my life companion), total mismatch of hashkafah, or if my date did something totally inexcusable or majorly turn-off-able (like a "frum BY" eating non-kosher - I kid you not).

    Shidduch dating is extremely superficial in the initial stages and totally unnatural. There are too many false and unhealthy pressures placed on daters that can sabotage the natural progression of a relationship. That is why, barring what I said above, it is important to go out more than once, if only to see your date in another setting or in possibly a different mood.

    One anecdote: I dated someone who I thought was not pretty on the first date, but I loved her personality and hashkafic view. One the second date, she wasn't bad looking but not good looking. On the third date, I thought she was pretty. To me, this shows that the more you see someone, the more chance their appearance will grow on you, or at least subside as less important than the pedestal automatically created at the beginning of the first date when the door first opens.

    And "Bashert." Don't get me started. I call it, "Playing g-d." It's not for mortals, so don't overanalyze. This is a HUGE discussion by itself, Stern girl.

  4. LSDrunk,
    She ate treif in your presence?

  5. QED,

    no, I would not have let my date eat treif. Rather, she told me that she once ate treif in a moment of weakness. But, based on what I knew of her, she would be easily prone to moments of weakness or would put herself in those situations that would lead to eating treif. (I am looking for someone with just a wee drop stronger character of avodas hashem.)

  6. aminspiration- well put.

    Bookworm- Hmm. Good point. One does hope that you can't make any decisions to stop yourself from ending up with the right person.

    Lawschooldrunk- very interesting.

    To your first point- I agree that going out a second time when you KNOW it will go nowhere is a waste of time. But it is easy to get pushed into a second date if you're mostly sure, but part of you is not really sure.

    In terms of your second point- I hadn't thought about that, but I agree! I don't think guys should spend money early on. Why spend money on someone you don't even know? But some people would call me crazy cause they claim if the guy doesn't spend money then he is being cheap. That is ridiculous.

    I think the reasons you named for saying no after one date are valid.

    About your anecdote- that is something I have been thinking about writing a post about for a little while. Does attraction really grow? I am impressed by your story, since I have yet to have that experience. I have dated guys that I really liked and enjoyed spending time with and despite getting to know them I wasn't attracted to them. Even though I wish I was because I liked them. People tell me attraction grows, but I have yet to see it for myself.

    I'm surprised a girl admitted to eating treif on a date! At least she was honest...

  7. I actually disagree with the assumption that girls are pressured into second dates more. People assume that the reason the guy is saying no because of her looks and isn't attracted to her, so they try to convince them that attraction will grow. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes not. But from anecdotal evidence, I have heard many times where the guy went out again, purely because he thought she was ugly and didn't want to hurt her feelings. I personally have only said no to a second date twice. Once when I commented to the shadchan that she needs to talk more, and the girl thought she talked alot, and the second was when she looked exactly like her brother who was a friend of mine. It freaked me out and i couldn't go out again with her.

    Otherwise, I always so yes to a second date, mainly because I try to give it a chance. My general approach to dating is to only think about if i want to spend more time with her, not long term/fit for marriage terms. This lends itself to saying yes to a second date more often than not.

  8. harry-er - it's true that people assume that if a guy says no after one date it is due to looks. Asking "do I want to spend more time with this person" seems like a good practical question.

  9. I can testify to the attraction increasing phenomenon. There was one girl I gave 4 dates because I liked everything about her except for one odd facial feature that I simply couldn't get over, no matter how hard I tried, and that was bery difficult for me. There was only one time I had a one and done, but it was mutual for hashkafic reasons.

    Another date SHOULD have been a O&D, but the shadchan pressured ME, despite my complete confidence that she was crazy brainwashed-flipped out and professed her intention to do kiruv that way too which is not my style at all. That one ended after the 2nd date when I refused to give in again to the shadchan's pleas.

  10. SoG - It is frustrating when shadchans try to pressure you. In the case of one of one and dones, I spoke to the shadchan three or four times before she finally got the message that there was no way I was going on another date. She kept telling me to think it over. The more I thought it over the more sure I was that I would not like to spend any more time with that person. The first date was unpleasant enough.

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