Dear Anthea, I’m looking to settle down and get married, but I never seem to meet the right guy! What questions should I be asking on first dates to figure out if he could be the one for me? I don’t want to scare a potential great guy off if I’m too forward about marriage too soon, but I don’t want to waste time if he’s just after a fling. – Maria, 30
What a terrific question! It’s one I hear often from women looking for more than a casual hookup.
Asking questions to help you ‘figure out’ if someone is the one is futile. It’s more about observing their behavior over time. There are no shortcuts. Most of us have public personas and are on our best behavior when dating. It takes many months of spending time together to even scratch the surface of beginning to get to know someone. You need to see a person in a variety of stressful situations, so you can learn more about their character. Just know the process will take time and energy on your part.
Having said that, there are definitely some basics to address during the early stages of dating.
You mentioned you want to get married. Does that mean within the next few years, or sometime in the distant future? Does that include having children? It’s good to be as specific as possible with your dating intention so that men who don’t want anything similar won’t waste your time. You don’t necessarily have to say all this info on the first date, but if you are meeting guys through online dating, it would be a good idea to put it on your profile.
It’s a good sign when your date asks you what you’re looking for. A man who is looking for something serious will want to know your dating intentions to make sure it matches with his. Conversely, their lack of inquisitiveness about what you want for the future is a sign that they are only interested in something causal. Feel free to ask your dates this great question as well. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about wanting to know their dating intentions.
Does he try to rush the intimacy factor without taking the time to get to know you? Let him know you like him and are attracted to him, you’re just not ready to rush into anything without getting to know each other better. If he bolts, it’s a sign that he’s not willing to put the effort into anything serious.
In addition to being clear about your own dating intentions, it’s important for you to know your most important core values. Watching their behaviors will tell you a lot about their values. Do they call when they say they will, or are they always breaking plans? Are they close with their family, or more interested in drinking and partying?
Sometimes women sweep the bad behavior under the rug in an effort to be more accommodating. Consistent and reliable behavior is what you should be looking for. You want their values to match with yours.
Even if you have shared values and long-term goals, this does not mean that you are in an instant relationship. You are still at the very early phases, so you need to keep it casual as you continue to get to know each other.
Sometimes, when we are very excited about someone we like, we can end up doing many things to sabotage or rush the relationship. This is what scares a guy off. Check out my article on Commitment Confusion (smmirror.com/dating).
Finally, it’s good to get very clear on the reason you want to get married.
It’s important to know that a relationship is never a place to get something; it’s a place to give love and share life experiences.
Some people enter into relationships to fill a feeling of emptiness. This can come off as needy and will repel the guys you like.
Make sure you are happy in your own life first and you will be more attractive to the guys you’re interested in. Also knowing all of your special gifts you have to give in a relationship will help you better evaluate if a man is right for you.
Evaluation and observation over time are the keys to finding the right one for you.
Anthea Kerou is a Certified Holistic Health Coach based in Santa Monica specializing in dating coaching. She is available for private coaching sessions, email email@example.com. Alternatively, visit heartfacewellness.com or facebook.com/heartfacewellness for more information.
• Do you have a dating question you would like answered? Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.