When You Like Your Date

For every 50 first dates that read like a horror movie, sitcom scenario, or dull documentary, there will be the fortuitous chemical connection. This will be the date that you actually want to see again. And again, and then again. As things progress, and as your time together begins to take on the faint markings of exclusive dating, you may wonder how to transition your time with Online Date #50 into a relationship.

Before the evolution of online dating provided us with literally hundreds of potential partners at our fingertips, we didn’t much have to be concerned with whether the person we were dating was dating multiple others. Having met your person of interest online, however, you have every right to speculate that when your Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t right there, he or she may be getting right online to write emails to other persons of interest.

Here are a few dating tips to guide you toward the relationship you want with your person of interest, who you happen to have met in the slightly muddier waters of online dating.

1. When to have the talk. As much as you like online date #50, do not invite any conversation regarding exclusivity for at least the first four to five dates. Lose the intensity and enjoy getting to know the person on pressure-free terms. This is not a race to see how fast you can establish an exclusive relationship.

2. Gauge whether you need the talk. This isn’t junior high, you don’t need to be asked to go steady. Read the signs. If you’re spending every day together and his or her online profile has been inactive for several weeks (yes, it’s okay to check!), chances are you’ve transitioned into a relationship without ever having had to utter the official words “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.”

3. How to have the talk. If the signs aren’t sure, and you’ve waited a reasonable amount of time to go forward with the relationship talk, you can introduce the topic in a fairly benign and non-threatening manner in order to avoid putting your date, and your heart, on the spot. You can jokingly ask if his or her other online dates are as fun as time spent with you. You can mention you’re no longer looking online to meet others. If your potential partner feels the same, he or she will view this as an opportunity to let you know he or she reciprocates your interest. Also, don’t be afraid to be direct. It’s okay to let him or her know your feelings and that you’d like your time together to head toward a relationship. (Remember, don’t do this on date #2! Give it time!)

4. Sprinkle a few grains of salt onto my dating advice. Remember that every situation is unique. I imagine there are two lovebirds out there somewhere who met online and were married by date three. Similarly, I imagine there are those who dated for months before establishing exclusivity. What I offer is simply a guide that tends to work for me and my fellow online-dating friends. If you read your situation as an exception, then trust your judgment and act accordingly. Good luck!

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