By the fifth date there are no guarantees that you have a long-term partner or someone who you are going to fall in love with. But you should have a pretty good idea by then if the fledgling relationship is something worth pursuing.
So why the fifth date? Isn't the third date the one where you should either be having sex or saying goodbye as a result of too many red flags?
Well, that is the exact reason why I recommend five dates before you take the time to seriously reflect on your prospective partner.
There is too much pressure on the third because of all the hype around sex. Some people give up at this point. A man might shy away if he has been rejected for sex and a woman might be reluctant to pursue anything if she thinks the man isn't genuine. Alternatively if you have had sex, then there is the uncertainty of whether the other person is keen to continue dating or whether they will disappear now that the deed has been done.
So whether you have already had sex or not, give it a couple more dates to avoid the pressure of the third and then have a really good think about whether this person is worth investing in.
Naturally you will have been looking for red flags along the way. Many people will have abandoned hope well before the fifth date, but if you are still going then these are the qualities and traits you should be looking for.
What To Look For
They Are Fun: They don't need to be super extroverted and permanently living on cloud nine, but you need to see a little bit of fun for things to be worth carrying on. Naturally we all have different ideas of what constitutes fun, so it depends on your compatibility. If someone completely bores you by now, chances are it is only going to get worse. You need a little bit of a fun to keep things interesting while you are dating and you will most definitely need it when the spark dies down in years to come.
That You Feel Yourself Around Them: In the first couple of dates, you will naturally put your best self forward and try to minimize the exposure of your shortcomings. However this requires a lot of energy, and as time goes on you won't be able to keep it up. You won't want to anyway, as you will eventually need to let your guard down so you can start to get to know each other properly. By the fifth date, you shouldn't have dropped all barriers and should still to a large degree be putting your best self forward. But by this stage you should be able to work out whether you feel comfortable and good about yourself in their presence to start letting your guard down in future.
The Conversation Has Gone To The Next Level: In the first one or two dates conversation tends to follow a safe and predictable script. “What do you do?” and “What music do you listen to” are the common types of easy and standard dating questions. By the fifth date you should be well past this basic small talk and conversation should be flowing in a more natural unscripted fashion. If this hasn't happened then it becomes awkward and perhaps the reality is that you don't have much to talk about.
That They Aren't Coming On Too Strong: There are a time and place for opening up to someone. That time isn't by the fifth date. It's a fine line, because you need the conversation to start getting real, but at the same time, you shouldn't be going straight from basic small talk into a deep and meaningful about your inner most thoughts and fears. Coming on too strong means a potential relationship is more likely to go boom and then bust. Take things slowly and look for a partner who wants to take things gradually in this regard as well. Both you and they will need to open up in time, but this comes later. If they come on too strong too early then this is a red flag.
There Are Shared Interests: By now you should have an understanding of what your date is into and what they do in their spare time. You don't want to share an interest in everything, as you will need your own pursuits if you get into a serious relationship, however you should have at least a couple of shared interests. These will be needed to sustain the relationship later on, so they are quite important. It can be anything and everything from sport and fitness to travel to cooking to the type of movies you like.
There Are Shared Values: You will find it much easier to date and find a partner if you know what your values are and you know what values you are looking for. Do they share some, most or all of your values? If your date is following the advice above and not coming on too strong, then you probably wouldn't have had a big discussion about this. That's fine, because you don't need to. As long as you pay attention to what is mentioned in passing and in casual conversation, you should be able to tell whether this person is at least potentially compatible in terms of values. If they are blatantly incompatible in this regard then you may need to think again. You can handle different values while the infatuation period continues, but once those rose-tinted glasses come off then this is an issue that will become much more important.
They Have Humility: One of the most important things to have in a partner is someone who is able to have a frank and open discussion about their own flaws and shortcomings. If the relationship progresses conflict will inevitably emerge at some stage and both of you will need to be humble enough to accept that you are not always right and that you have flaws. Again this is not something that you should be discussing early on during dating, however you should have a good feel for whether the person you are dating has any humility or not. If they are the brash arrogant type that is always right and can never be wrong then it might be a good idea to think about moving on.
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