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Bad Timing: 6 Mistakes that Can Derail Your Dating

Bad Timing: 6 Mistakes that Can Derail Your Dating

Timing mistakes can negatively affect a relationship that has promise.


There are so many ways that timing mistakes can negatively affect a relationship that has promise. Have you ever made one of these timing mistakes?

1. Being chronically late for dates. "Oh no," you think to yourself as your car comes to a standstill in traffic 15 minutes before you're supposed to meet your date at a restaurant. Waze estimates you won't get there for another hour.

Your date will appreciate your text or call apologizing and giving a new ETA. But he or she might not take things in stride if this isn’t the first time you're late. Your date may view your chronic lateness as an indication that you're irresponsible or inconsiderate of other people's schedules. If you're too embarrassed to let your date know you're running late, you'll just compound the problem.

2. Taking too long to ask for another date. Your first date went okay, but you're not sure about asking her out again. So you think about it for a day or two, maybe ask a friend what he thinks you should do. If you finally decide to call her three or four days after your date, don't be surprised if she turns you down. She would have said yes a day or two after your date, but once that passed she realized you might not be interested. She may have toyed with the idea of calling you, but was afraid she'd seem pushy or desperate. Instead, to get past her disappointment she started to think of reasons why you weren't right for each other. By the time you call, she may have convinced herself it won't work out and will say no.

3. Making the first date too long. Your first date is going really well. You felt comfortable right away, and your conversation's been flowing. If you feel like stretching that after-work cup of coffee or drink into a longer date, remember that both of you may not have eaten since lunch and suggest you both have a light meal. Or, if you've been engrossed in after-dinner conversation and suddenly realize three hours have gone by, end the date on a positive note. "This has been so nice that I lost track of the time. I'd like to keep talking, but I have an early day tomorrow. Can we call it a night?" Hopefully, your second date will be just as enjoyable.

4. Too much time between dates. We've all got busy lives - demanding jobs, school, work-related travel, personal obligations. When we'd like to continue seeing someone but our schedule makes it difficult to get together, something's got to give. At first, we may be okay seeing each other every week or two, but once we start to make a connection we need to build a momentum that propels our relationship forward. That can only happen if we make the time to date more often, ideally twice or sometimes once a week. Otherwise, we may see ourselves as two people who spend some of our rare free time together, rather than as a couple that is developing a relationship.

5. Dating Too Often. Your dating is going so well that you'd like to see each other almost every day. You may feel great about getting together so often, but it might be too much for the other person. Many people need time between dates to process their emotions, and much of that processing takes place subconsciously, as they go through their daily lives. Too-frequent dating can leave someone feeling overwhelmed or that they "don't have time to think,” because there are so many thoughts and emotions they have to sort through. Their once-positive feelings about the dating may turn to ambivalence, which they may mistake for an indication that something's wrong with the relationship. Aim for going out twice a week; three times is pushing it.

6. Opening up too early. You may be so comfortable with the new person you're dating that you feel as though you've known each other all of your lives. It's as if you can talk about anything with each other. And so you open up about something that's weighing heavily on your mind - the big argument you had with your dad a few days ago. Your date seems to understand what you're feeling, so you go on to describe the difficult relationship you have had with your father since you can remember. You feel so relieved and connected to your date when you're finished, and look forward to going out again. The problem is that your date's not interested in continuing. Your sharing deeply personal and upsetting details with someone you barely know made your date feel uncomfortable and wonder about your ability to maintain personal boundaries.

November 28, 2015

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Marcia Naomi Berger, December 8, 2015 11:03 PM

Maintaing Boundaries is Key in Dating

Thank you for the helpful article. The writers made excellent points, especially about the importance of limiting personal disclosure on a date you don't know too well. A balance is needed between sharing too little or too much on an early date.

(3) Anonymous, December 5, 2015 9:03 AM

YIKES! i think i've violated the Rule against waiting TOO LOOOONG to ask for another Date. You're probably correct that this Wait could suggest to the Woman that i'm not really interested, and that she's simply my Back-Up Plan because i have no other Plans. I'm going to try a Rule of Three: as long as a Date goes reasonably well, ask for another Date soon after the prior Date, and after 3 Dates, evaluate whether it's worth continuing. This Rule of 3 is based on my experience that it usually takes 3 Dates to begin to get a sense of the Real Potential.

(2) Rob, November 29, 2015 5:31 PM

Depends on context

Other than the rudeness of being consistently late, all the rules are stated without qualification of context. For example, if one of you has traveled a long distance for a date, it is not reasonable to expect short periods of time before each next date. The time, expense, and effort of dating for long distance dating can be substantial, especially with the complicated obligations and schedules of people who are raising children. Phone calls and Skype can help sustain momentum between traveling for dates as long as expectations of both parties are kept reasonable.

(1) scott, November 29, 2015 8:07 AM

There are no rules. This is what I did.

These sound like rules. The first is the only hard and fast rule. There's no excuse for being late to a date and not calling. My wife was a hour late to our first date, but she called three times. Because it was important to her that I didn't think she was treating the meeting lightly.

The rest...if you like someone, call the next day and make plans again if you wish. It's just a second date not a proposal. If I attend a dinner party I thank the host the next day. If you don't want a second date don't ask or don't accept. But make the call.

I always had a two location strategy for a first date. A snack or coffee someplace that could be followed by drinks or dinner. If I'm not interested I don't suggest the second location. If I do and she's not interested, she'll beg off and get out of a situation that she's not interested in. If she accepts, that's a sure sign of interest.

Too often or not a grown up. If you're dating for marriage and both of you are interested meeting should be a priority. If you can't make it once or twice a week either there's no interest in you or you are not really interested in making getting married a priority. If you both want to see each other every day (and its not about physical intimacy) then woo hoo! You may have hit the jackpot.

As for disclosing too soon. A date is a meeting. Treat the date like you would a professional acquaintance you're fond of until the third or fourth date. Each date should be longer and involve more talking. Past that if you don't feel you can tell them almost anything, move on.

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