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Expectations, second date


oldworld
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Recently I met a woman at a local restaurant and we talked for over an hour about common interests, then decided to exchange numbers. We made a date, had a great time, talked for hours, found out we share values, interests, life goals, opinions. After we listened to jazz and everything felt great. I followed up and we made a second date, again had a great conversation over dinner, laughed, enjoyed each other's company, went to another spot and talked for longer. She kissed me goodnight, generally a sign of encouragement I believe. This was the weekend before Thanksgiving, and she had family coming for the holiday. So when I followed up, told her I had a great time, I gave her a couple of options for a third date- offered to make her dinner or take her out again when she could depending on her holiday schedule. She accepted, said she was grateful we met- a sentiment I returned- and said she'd decide closer to the following weekend. No problem. Everything seemed to progressing naturally, and it felt we were on the same page.                                                                        The day after Thanksgiving, I followed up to ask what she'd chosen so I could plan it. Generally I tried to show interest and willingness to devote time and energy into planning. She sent a text back saying she thought about it. I'll quote direct so as not to misinterpret: "I think you're wonderful and I love spending time with you, you're very interesting and I can have great conversation with you. I just unfortunately don't want to lead you on. I hope we can remain friends." I bumped into her at a coffee shop on Saturday, she sort of played it off like nothing happened, but I was caught off-guard. She did not want to sit and talk. I texted, asked what caused the about-face, she said: "really enjoyed our conversation, it was refreshing to get to know someone I could talk to and I still am grateful we met. I wanted to still give it a chance, but I just wasn't feeling anything romantically. ... I thought about it a lot and felt it was better to tell you sooner rather than later and to keep going on dates."                                                                                                                                                                                So, I know there's some actuarial tables out there where experts say if you don't feel a spark by the second date, there's a 94% chance it won't happen. But my feeling (which she did not ask about) is we live in a society that expects instant gratification- better to cut your losses after date 2 than give something a chance. Despite both wanting to start a family, sharing values, sharing interests, and being able to maintain enjoyable conversation for hours without awkwardness, it's not worth the investment if its not an immediate spark. Am I so old-fashioned to think we could just enjoy each other's company without expectation and if it doesn't lead to a romance, we still enjoyed it? For me, connection leads to a spark, and connection takes a little more time and effort. I don't feel it's leading me on if she's honest and communicates. Heck- tell me you'd rather split the bill going forward and just have fun without worrying. But cancelling a date already accepted and ending any further plans feels a bit like something was withheld all along, and I just hit a dead end. Offering to remain friends feels like a boundary rather than a meaningful category.                                                                                                                                                               Can anyone tell me if I'm being too old-fashioned and not keeping up with the pace of today's world? Do you agree with her and going with the stats, or can you treat someone like they're worth the investment even if you don't feel the romantic connection immediately?

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It's not about statistics or what any other individual would feel. This individual doesn't want to date you.  Might be for the reasons she said, or a sense she got, or her own standards of how long she likes to give before determing if it's appropriate to continue dating.   The end.  Respect that.  Don't ever try to convince someone to date you.

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25 minutes ago, oldworld said:

I quoted her texts and what she told me. By the "stats" I mean the general feeling in today's world that if you don't feel anything by date 2, you're better off ending it and assuming it won't develop. 

But that isn't why she said she wasn't going to continue dating you, is it? She didn't quote stats and percentages. She very kindly explained why.

This one was a no go. That will happen. The right woman will be on the same page as you. This one simply isn't.

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I respected it, I didn't try to convince her of anything. I'm simply asking on an anonymous forum, for my own understanding, do people generally agree with her perspective that if you don't feel chemistry by the second date it won't happen? Do people feel I am old-fashioned for thinking that it can take a little longer for chemistry to develop and if you're enjoying each other's company it's worth the investment? For thinking that people can just have fun and get to know each other, putting expectations aside?

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10 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

But that isn't why she said she wasn't going to continue dating you, is it? She didn't quote stats and percentages. She very kindly explained why.

This one was a no go. That will happen. The right woman will be on the same page as you. This one simply isn't.

That is her reason- she wasn't feeling anything romantically after the second date, and so chose to end it, which implies she doesn't feel it will develop any later on.

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It could be any number of things. For example, maybe she met somebody else. Its not out of the ordinary.

Anyway, I know that you are dissapointed because you though you had something there. But, trust me, she did you a favor. For all purposes that person is a stranger that you know for 2 dates. Its far better that she cut ties now then after you started something. You should always look stuff like that from another perspective. And that is that its her loss and not yours. 

Dont accept her disengenious offer for friendship. Its either out of courtesy or to keep you in reserve in case the other things dont work out. You deserve better then that.

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5 minutes ago, oldworld said:

I respected it, I didn't try to convince her of anything. I'm simply asking on an anonymous forum, for my own understanding, do people generally agree with her perspective that if you don't feel chemistry by the second date it won't happen? Do people feel I am old-fashioned for thinking that it can take a little longer for chemistry to develop and if you're enjoying each other's company it's worth the investment? For thinking that people can just have fun and get to know each other, putting expectations aside?

It's irrelevant whether anyone else agrees or disagrees.  I used to give it up to four dates if I was on the fence about a spark.  Whether it's worth it is a personal matter and nothing to do with old fashioned.  I wouldn't enjoy going on dates with someone I didn't desire to kiss or enjoy kissing (which was my test).  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know men through dating when I saw some potential for a serious relationship and when I felt a spark or potential for one (meaning if I was on the fence at first). 

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know people for friendship -men and women - for that no spark needed.  But I wouldn't go on a date with someone because I enjoyed getting to know them as a potential close friend.

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7 minutes ago, oldworld said:

That is her reason- she wasn't feeling anything romantically after the second date, and so chose to end it, which implies she doesn't feel it will develop any later on.

And that has nothing to do with stats or percentages or the opinions of online "dating coaches" or studies. That was her personal take on the situation.

Unless she specifically quoted stats or percentages I wouldn't presume that's what she based her decision on. 

But again, she wasn't the right woman for you. Good on her for not wasting your time.

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2 hours ago, oldworld said:

Heck- tell me you'd rather split the bill going forward and just have fun without worrying. But cancelling a date already accepted and ending any further plans feels a bit like something was withheld all along, and I just hit a dead end. 

Sorry this happened. Sounds like you dodged a bullet. "No spark" seems like an excuse. You don't really know her or what happened over the holiday. It most likely has nothing to do with you or statistics.

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I understand why you're going down a rabbit hole and talking about "stats" -- rejection sucks. It makes us seek out reasons outside of ourselves to explain the rejection. But honestly, like everyone else has said, it should just be chalked up to "she's just not that into you." She had the decency to tell you before you go on any more dates, saving you time and trouble, and probably money. 

Keep chugging along! 

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2 hours ago, gamon said:

I think what you're asking is if she gave you more of a chance would she eventually develop an attraction.

The answer is, it's irrelevant because she's not interested.

End of story.

I get it, I'm not asking about her specifically on this anonymous forum. I'm asking in general, do people feel you know all you need to know by the second date? Or if you enjoy each other's company and have fun together, do people agree you can put expectations aside and just enjoy spending time together?

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11 minutes ago, oldworld said:

do people feel you know all you need to know by the second date

It depends on what the person is looking for. 

If you're dating to marry or to find a long-term partner, then yes, people will typically feel they know all they need to know by the second date, and don't want to waste their time or the other person's time "getting to know each other" for months on end when they already feel up front that they are not interested in a serious relationship with this person. 

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16 minutes ago, oldworld said:

I'm asking in general, do people feel you know all you need to know by the second date? Or if you enjoy each other's company and have fun together, do people agree you can put expectations aside and just enjoy spending time together?

You are looking at this all wrong. You are thinking that you could have just enjoyed your time together and that she would see how you are the right guy for her along the way. Sure, it could happen. But she already made the decision about you whether because she doesnt like you that much or because she likes somebody more. So it really doesnt matter.

When people like you they would ignore even the biggest red flags for you. When they are on the fence, all it takes is to say one thing wrong and you are out. Its much better that you got clear answer after 2 dates. Then if you planned 5 dates and that she is still on the fence and tells you the same thing. So again, she did you a favor. Now you are free to find somebody that would really like you. Always look at the things like that and you wont be dissapointed about stuff like this.

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16 minutes ago, oldworld said:

I get it, I'm not asking about her specifically on this anonymous forum. I'm asking in general, do people feel you know all you need to know by the second date? Or if you enjoy each other's company and have fun together, do people agree you can put expectations aside and just enjoy spending time together?

I wrote that if I was on the fence about a spark I gave it till date four.  Then my test was I had to enjoy kissing him or desire to kiss him.  There were times on the first meet or first or second date I knew for sure there would never be the right chemistry.  One time I ended at date 2 because he was going to do most of the traveling to see me (where I lived had more going on -over an hour for him) plus he was so into me and so I told him I didn't want to lead him on and have him travel to see me.  He took it well on the phone and then didn't take it well the next day via harassing emails.  I regretted actually telling him the truth.  I think you should appreciate that she tried to be open about how she was feeling and that she thoughtfully didn't want to lead you on.

Your question makes little sense to me -how can I just enjoy someone's company if I know there is no potential for a spark? With some people you just know.  Very often has nothing to do with looks or body type.

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The night I met my husband I had a mad chemical spark with him - the minute I laid eyes on him.  There was nothing that could have stopped me from trying to get with him I was ON FIRE.

If she was into you, you'd know it.  Leave her be so you can find the one that catches fire for YOU.

Lots of hugs, oldworld.  She is out there, just be diligent and don't waste any more time when you get that lukewarm response.

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

I wrote that if I was on the fence about a spark I gave it till date four.  Then my test was I had to enjoy kissing him or desire to kiss him.  There were times on the first meet or first or second date I knew for sure there would never be the right chemistry.  One time I ended at date 2 because he was going to do most of the traveling to see me (where I lived had more going on -over an hour for him) plus he was so into me and so I told him I didn't want to lead him on and have him travel to see me.  He took it well on the phone and then didn't take it well the next day via harassing emails.  I regretted actually telling him the truth.  I think you should appreciate that she tried to be open about how she was feeling and that she thoughtfully didn't want to lead you on.

Your question makes little sense to me -how can I just enjoy someone's company if I know there is no potential for a spark? With some people you just know.  Very often has nothing to do with looks or body type.

I do appreciate that she was open and honest, and I respected her wishes completely. I'm sorry in your case the guy was a jerk and couldn't keep himself from sending harassing emails. 

It's interesting that you don't understand how you can enjoy someone's company if there's no potential for a spark. If expectations are set aside, it's just having fun. Maybe it'll become an actual friendship- not a "friendzone" or whatever else. If there's honest communication, then no one is leading anyone on.  It's like approaching it from the other way around- when you become friends with someone, you don't think about whether there's a potential spark. If that happens later on, when circumstances change, so be it. But it's not the reason for the friendship.

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Wouldn't you be angry if a woman went on five or ten dates with you and then told you she knew after the second date she wasn't feeling it? You could fall in love with a woman after ten dates and in the meantime she knew all along she was meh about you.

I would feel led on.

Years ago I was dating a guy, I traveled with him, spent every weekend with him and met his family and he met mine. And after eight months of this he told me he wasn't feeling it and really hadn't been for a long time. I had fallen deeply in love with him in those eight months. He said he kept trying to make it happen and finally decided to tell me it never would. I still remember how much that hurt. I cried for two straight months. It was awful.

So, again I say good on her for not stringing you along.

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9 hours ago, oldworld said:

Am I so old-fashioned to think we could just enjoy each other's company without expectation and if it doesn't lead to a romance, we still enjoyed it?

No. I also tend to think along the same lines. I don't know if it's old-fashioned. But I do know that not everyone understands that mentality.

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2 minutes ago, oldworld said:

But it's not the reason for the friendship.

But you don't want to be "friends" with her. You said this:

9 hours ago, oldworld said:

Offering to remain friends feels like a boundary rather than a meaningful category.                     

Trying to hang onto someone and pretending you want to be "friends" gets you nowhere but into a world of hurt. 

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7 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

But you don't want to be "friends" with her. You said this:

Trying to hang onto someone and pretending you want to be "friends" gets you nowhere but into a world of hurt. 

These are polar opposites. The first is when you are becoming friends with someone, not dating, no thought is given to where it may lead. It's just circumstance or whatever brought you into proximity to become friends.

The second, her offering to be "friends" because she no longer wants to date, is a boundary- so no, I don't want it because it has no meaning. And as you said, I don't want to hang on.

The point is, I think it's better to be in the first situation- just enjoying the moment without worrying about what may come of it. I don't think you have to make final decisions by the second date and end up in the second situation, keeping somebody at arm's length as a "friend."

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The thing you are missing in all this is that she knows she isn't interested in you romantically and probably didn't feel the spark on the first date but wanted to see if something changed on the second date so she did give you her time and gave it a lot of thought.

 I have told a great many women I didn't feel a spark or butterflies after a first meet because I simply didn't.  I know myself well enough and if I feel like I need to talk myself into seeing someone again then it means I shouldn't.

For me when I know I know and there are plenty of clues.  In the end you do you and others will do what suits them best.

Anything she told you after saying No Thanks was just her trying to let you down easy.

Lost

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