In theory, we date to find a relationship we want to stick with. In practice, people date for lots of different reasons, and it can be hard to figure out if you’re on the same page as the person you’re going out with. Here’s how the women of Reddit make the call.
The advice here is given by and geared towards female-identified people, of course, but much of the advice is pretty applicable to everyone. Here’s how you decide if you want to keep seeing someone throughout the dating process.
Don’t ignore your gut
Always listen to your feelings about someone. This applies when you’ve been seeing someone for a while, but it came up most around meeting strangers off dating apps or on first dates, as u/ModernLullaby says:
In the past year when I was online dating, I wanted to give everyone a chance. I thought that keeping an open mind is key to finding a fulfilling relationship because I didn’t want to judge people based on their appearance and what they have on their profile. Now, there is a difference between being open-minded and simply going on dates for the sake of going on dates.
If initially, you are not attracted to a person, trust your gut and don’t go out with them. The chances of you feeling attracted to them is very very slim afterwards. I can say 100%, I was not attracted to any guy I did not find attractive initially before the date.
Other app black belts, like u/sixtyneeni, suggest taking precautions when you go on first dates, like sharing your location with a friend and making sure the date is low stakes, easy to get to — and easy to leave!
Respect your own boundaries
Dating can be brutal; if you haven’t met anyone you like in a while, it can be easy to question your own standards. Women are often threatened with eternal solitude if they’re too “picky,” but as many commented, it’s better to be alone than with someone that makes you feel bad or unsafe.
This can mean setting standards for who you meet with, as u/kaseylegg described:
FaceTime required first before date! Then it’s game [over] if he passes. Saves time.
While I would never in a million years Facetime someone before a first date, personally, I respect that this is someone’s standard, and so should their date.
Boundaries can also mean being clear about what you want with someone you’re dating, as u/smalldollparts explained:
I’m chill myself, but I’m not chill when it comes to my feels. I’m going to be forward on that because my life has been so much hurt. I told my boyfriend up front that I don’t like to be fucked around with and that talking like adults about things is the way to handle anything.
It’s hard to set boundaries and follow through with them because it’s worrying that no one will be there, but waiting for one guy who is as emotionally mature as you are is better than “chilling” with 10 other guys.
If you’re not sure what your boundaries are, sit down and make a list of what your deal breakers are, then think about why. Some may turn out to not be as big a deal as you thought and you can let them go. The ones that remain will be even more important.
If you want commitment, say so
There are some people who don’t want to commit; if you do, why are you dating them? If it’s just for sex, well, I respect that, but at some point you’ll need to pursue what you really want in order to get it. Wise poster u/smalldollparts commented again, saying, “Communicate your needs up front and don’t compromise being FWB if you want a relationship. Don’t waste time, there’s only so much of it.”
And u/DavidlikesPeace agreed with the ladies:
Guy here: this is so on point.
I like labels. Let’s label the problem. If a person doesn’t like labels, it’s often a sign they’re Avoidant (by personality or circumstance, it doesn’t matter if it affects you). Avoidants won’t magically change because of how much intimacy you throw their way. In fact, trying harder often scares/annoys them.
To rephrase, a person has to want to change to change. Nobody is going to change for a person who they find clingy or if they’re already getting what they want.
It’s possible to come on too strong too early when you’re just getting to know someone, but if they say they’re not looking for anything serious and you are, cut rope. This person isn’t for you.
Communication is key
This is the golden rule of all relationships: talk about a problem as soon as it becomes one, and don’t assume anything. The OP shared their own bullet points for dating, which include these highlights around what needs to be communicated:
until explicitly confirmed, assume non-monogamy/non-exclusivity.
communicate, communicate, communicate. but even then brace for disappointment. just because you make it clear how you expect to be treated doesn’t mean you will be treated that way. at least you know you made your standards clear, and if people can’t respect that, let ‘em gooooo.
don’t be shy to ask about STD histories or request proof of STD results. you will be the only one putting your health first, so do it.
don’t assume that you KNOW a person because you’ve been texting/talking for a few days. it’s one thing to get a sense of a person, it’s another to know them.
in a world that’s increasing more and more text based, remember that actions still speak louder words.
We aren’t born knowing what we want, and what we want can change over time. Be honest with yourself, be honest with the person you’re seeing, and learn from the process.