How Many Dates Does It Take?


I recently started online dating (in 2016, I know, I’m late to the party). I resisted for a long time because it felt artificial, but once I entered my mid-30s, it became harder to meet people in real life, on my own.

Prospects have been wider so far, which is good, but I’m not sure how many dates to go on with a person I met online. In previous relationships, I’ve met the guy in person at work, through friends, out in the community, etc., so there have been common interests, things to talk about, and a sense of attraction or chemistry even before we started dating. I would go out with a guy because I knew I wanted to. With online, it seems like all of that has to be established on the first one to two dates. Sitting with a stranger is awkward (at least for me), but I can’t tell awkwardness from lack of chemistry.

Recently, I have been out with a few guys one or two times and haven’t felt a spark. How many dates do I have to go on before I can be sure whether it’s worth continuing? I don’t want to overlook a gem too quickly, and I also don’t want to be rude and reject a guy after a mere 60-odd minutes, even if nothing in that 60-odd minutes makes me want to stick with him. (I would ask my friends but they are all married or in long-term relationships and none of them ever did online dating, so they are no help.)

– How many dates?


I wish there was a magic formula for this, but it varies. I do think that unless a first date is a definite no, it’s worth a second try. And if you find yourself asking questions about chemistry after a second date, you might as well have a third because it means you want to know more. Just make sure you’re going on dates out of curiosity, as opposed to obligation. If you’re saying to yourself, “I would so much rather watch robot boyfriends on ‘Westworld’ than have to sit through another dinner with this person,” don’t go. Dating is supposed to be a little awkward, but it shouldn’t make you miserable.

One thing to consider: As you plan second and third dates, think about changing your scenery so you can accomplish more getting-to-know-you in less time. Sometimes it helps to see what someone is like at a museum, as opposed to a dark restaurant. Second and third dates might be more revealing if you avoid duplicating everything you did during the first.

– Meredith

Readers? How many dates did it take you to click with someone you met online?

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