Midlife singles often tell me that the biggest challenge with dating is getting a date in the first place. That isn’t what I see as the greatest obstacle, as you could easily go out with lots of people if you adjust your criteria.
In my experience, the biggest issue is finding someone interesting and engaging enough to see again (and they feel similarly), then building some traction. About half of the 110 men I’ve gone out with resulted in one-time-only meetings.
By “traction,” I mean what the thesaurus gives us: adhesion — or sticking together. While I accept second and subsequent dates with men whose company I enjoy, it can be difficult getting beyond good conversation to a more romantic connection. There is a delicate balance between moving too quickly and moving so slowly that the relationship transitions to the “friend” category.
So how does one get traction toward building a romantic relationship, not just a friendship? I think mutual flirting helps, if sincere, as it telegraphs that you’re not just looking for an activity partner pal.
The traction needs to build naturally. If you feel you are always the one making contact, or suggesting getting together, or pulling the other in conversation, you are in a rut and there is no traction to get you out. You are doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship. That isn’t a win/win.
What if you find there is no momentum after a handful of dates? You can continue seeing each other if you like each other, and see if a romantic relationship evolves. I have now-married friends who started out as pals and then they became romantic.
Generally, we expect to feel some spark, some chemistry beyond liking each other. So if you aren’t feeling you’re becoming more connected, then it’s probably best to have the “let’s be friends” conversation. That might inspire him to kick it up a notch and realize he wants more, or he might just agree to be friends.
What have you done if you don’t feel the relationship is moving forward after a handful of dates? Have you stuck with it or relegated the relationship into the friend realm?
Caught not knowing if you should continue or move on? Then get your copy of Real Deal or Faux Beau: Should You Keep Seeing Him?