Five Dating Challenges

1. The photos of your date do not match the person.

I have many friends who have experienced this phenomenon.  Let’s be honest – you have to be attracted to someone to want to date them.  Without attraction, the person is just a friend.  So, you have seen the online photos of your prospective date.  They look cute and sexy.  You set up a date.  You are excited to meet them.  Someone walks into the restaurant and … well, their eyes are the same.  But the photos to which you were attracted were clearly taken several years and 20 pounds ago.  What do you do?  Well, first, have some sympathy.  It sucks that they misrepresented themselves, but we've all done something out of insecurity.  So try to let that go.  Next, determine if you can still see yourself being attracted to them.  To ascertain this, you will probably have to engage them in conversation and see how it goes.  Most importantly, take a deep breath.  The date will end.  If you aren't attracted to them, you aren't attracted to them.  You don't owe them anything, nor do you have the right - as a casual acquaintance - to critique this minor dishonestly.  Let it go. 
2.  Your date is late.  This happens to a lot of daters.  It's hard not to get upset with someone who is late because it is inherently disrespectful.  You don't know this person well and now all you have to go on is a first impression that isn't good.  It is totally different to how you might react if a good friend was late because you know all about them and, in contrast, you only know this new person is late.  So, in order to get the most out of this dating opportunity, dial back your first reaction and listen.  A person who genuinely didn't mean to be disrespectful will acknowledge their lateness, apologize, and offer a reason.  You can of course choose to accept it or not, but in my experience giving someone a chance is a lot more productive then cutting them off.  Now, if you are on date three and he or she has been late every time you meet, it might be time to reassess whether their good qualities balance out this behavior.  And, back to the first date, if they offer no apology or explanation, you might still want to give them a chance, but accept that this is a red flag. 
3.  Your date talks about themselves the whole time.  Now, I'm not saying I should always get to talk - I'm saying there should be some sort of balance on a good date.  Here is a scenario I have heard a few times.  You see your date, it's all good, they sit down and half-an-hour later, they pause for the first time from their monologue about their football glory days to say, "I haven't learned anything about you!"  Yeah, mister, that's because you haven't asked a single question!  Give your date the benefit of the doubt on the first date.  Online dating isn't easy.  You are putting yourself out there for potential rejection and for some people the best way to calm the nerves is to take over the conversation.  Anything rather than an uncomfortable silence.  Let us imagine they do say that you haven't spoken.  Try being direct - say you communicate best when someone asks you questions.  If they respond and do that, the date is back on track.  If they just keep talking about themselves ... well, maybe you want to draw the time to a close. 
4.  The guy is rude to the wait staff.  There are some things at which you should just draw the line and this is one.  No one who is rude to the people serving him or her deserves a second date.  Everyone who has ever dated has certain dealbreakers - kicking bunnies?  A man with long fingernails?  What do you do when this happens on a date?  One option is to ignore it and end the date as quickly as possible.  Another might be to say something - politely of course.  Although there might not be any good excuse for the behavior, it might make you feel better to have defended politeness.  If you need to write someone off, just do it.  It's a first date - you don't actually owe the person anything yet - nor do they owe you anything.  Let them find someone who puts up with that type of behavior. 
5.  He acts like he owns you before you've even met.  So this is often more of a pre-date problem, but sadly it is more prevalent that you'd think and it should definitely be addressed because this can range from inconvenient to downright scary.  If you've dated at all, unfortunately you probably know the type.  You've e-mailed a few times and suddenly, the guy (or girl) starts acting like he owns you and you've never met.  This can manifest in a few ways.  He might get annoyed if you don't answer promptly.  He might ask overly personal questions or volunteer information you don't need to know at this stage.  Something I found really irritating and sort of insidious was when a guy would make generalizations about me - like he'd say I was "selling myself short" because my profile said I was experimenting with several professions or that I was "cold" because I didn't want to exchange racy IMs.  When your date presumes too much, makes you uncomfortable, or is (God forbid) threatening, you need to be assertive.  Cut off contact and block them if you can.  Because you might not figure this out about a suitor immediately, always be cautious about exchanging personal information with someone and be sure to meet only publicly for the first few dates.  
All you readers out there, let us know if you're experienced any of these issues on dates!  We love to hear stories and solutions from you.



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Posted 04-25-2013 8:38 pm by KennethVep

This reminded me of an ... unfortunate date I once had. A few months after I broke up with my last boyfriend, I decided I would try online dating. All my single friends assured me this was the only way to meet people nowadays. With some trepidation, I created a profile on a site that shall remain nameless, got responses, hastily weeded out the obvious sociopaths and those who had never lived outside their parents' home, and scheduled a date with a seemingly normal man.

The guy had programmed me into his schedule for a precise half-hour, between a very important social gathering and a very important business meeting for his very important non-profit global music group. I could not underestimate the importance of either group. He certainly made that clear. 

My date was ten minutes late. Ordinarily I would understand, but we did only have thirty minutes. Also, someone from his next group meeting showed up after two minutes and sat with me. This was not exactly how I anticipated the date progressing but I did not know how to ask him to leave.

The man of the hour arrived. He did look like his photos, which was a plus. Unfortunately he looked like only two of his many photos. Not the handsome ones. The two where he resembled a fish. Unfortunately, I couldn't complain since that was at least partially advertised.

Almost immediately, my date mentioned that he was trying to close a deal on a start-up internet company that would pay him over six figures if it went forward. Ok, he was proud of his earning capacity. That's cool. He then stressed the importance of financial planning. I agreed. He emphasized it again, very forcefully. I began to feel that I was at a training seminar, not on a date. Cautiously, I said sometimes I felt guilty about the idea of having more money than others. Slightly fishy man looked shocked and expounded on the generous things one can do with money. He looked deep into my eyes (with his protuberant ones) and told me he had recently given $20 to a child in Africa. And that as a result that child had gotten clean water for three days.

He waited for my response, looking very proud of himself. I suppressed any urge to laugh and nodded solemnly, making it clear that he had converted me on the subject of wealth. Date boy checked his watch showily and moved on to the next topic, which was also … himself and his business acumen.

My date announced that he was starting a music non-profit and then, as though I had contradicted him, angrily said that no, he did NOT want to promote only Seattle's music. Why? Because, moving out in 'concentric circles' it would take years to reach Russia if you started solely with Seattle. He wanted to take the entire musical world by storm. Then he paused and looked at me expectantly. After an awkwardly long time, I told him, nodding seriously, that it was very important to reach Russia sooner rather than later. He looked relieved that I understood. I should note that the group member was still sitting by me, listening with interest. All three of us were silent for a few moments. My date stood, announced he had to start the next meeting, and swooped in for a kiss. I moved so quickly he nearly kissed the extraneous member of our little group. He looked confused as I darted out of the coffee shop, waving my thanks over my shoulder.

All joking aside, I learned a few things from this less than spectacular date. If you really don't know a person, do make sure your first date is for a set period of time so that either of you can bow out without offense. But just in case you click, see if you can set things up so that you can extend the date.

I had also been very impatient when I was lining up a date. This man had intrigued me a little so I thought it would be best to just get the face-to-face meeting out of the way. In retrospect, I should have taken a little more time to see if we would suit. Obviously, you don't want to e-mail someone for three months before meeting, but a couple more days of communication might have revealed that this particular gentleman was seeking less of a girlfriend and more of an audience.

Lastly? I learned that even absurd dates have their high points. It was, after all, better to be out there than sitting at home bemoaning my boyfriend-free state.

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