Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I keep getting pressured into second dates I am not excited to go on. Last week I went out with a guy once and did not connect with him at all. But of course, I was told that not giving a guy a second date is “rude” and so I went out again. So, I wasted another few hours of my life! Let the shadchan go out with the guy again if she is so insistent! If I don’t have a good time on date number one, why must I go on date number two?


No Dos


Dear Dos,

Many of you will agree: the mushroom is a delicious vegetable, uh…fungus. Food! Mushrooms are food. They are also truly masterful, giving us awesome words like umami and portobello. So, it was shocking, (shiitake!) when my son did not like mushrooms the first time he tried them. He objected to their looks, their taste and their origin. He didn’t like them in a sauce, in a salad or in a quiche. He was appalled at the idea of them masquerading as a “burger,” and thought they were an insult to barley. But mushrooms are wonderful and so we begged him to try them just once more. He said that would be against his morels and a total crimini. (Yes, you read that correctly.)


Love at First Sight…

I hear your frustration loud and clear. You have gone on enough first dates to know that you are just not a good “match,” and don’t want to embark on a second date already doomed for failure. You know your own mind and have a handle on your own feelings and don’t need to be told that you need to make even more of an investment. You are able to decide if you would like to go forward on a first date and the absolute expectation of a second date is both foolish and presumptuous. Or as you so kindly put it, a “waste of hours of my life.”


Is Possible, Maybe…

Sure, I have heard of the concept of granting a second date when someone flies in from another state as a courtesy, but the reason we encourage second dates is not due to the “rudeness” you mentioned. First dates are often fraught with nerves and there are those that are simply unable to put their best foot forward. This small window allows daters to barely scratch the surface of personality, temperament and shared interests. We are all human beings; fallible, and not always at our best. If a first date is our “only shot” and we don’t present as we hope, then in your scenario we lose every time. (This doesn’t apply when the first date includes something egregious such as anger, violence, etc. Then a first date will always be the last date.)


But it Pays to Take a Second Look.

Finally, I object to the words “wasted hours” and your disregard for the dating process. Every single date you go on is valuable and a part of the journey that will lead you to your future spouse. The attitude that an imperfect date is going to lead to a second that will “waste hours of your life” is frankly shocking, and a call for self-reflection. You are not the president; you are not the queen. Your time is precious, but not too precious to date someone who might surprise you the second time around. Revisit your outlook on dating, and your approach to the people you are blessed to meet. Remember that every one of them is giving YOU their valuable time as well. Second chances exist to surprise us with their unexpected gifts when we greet them with open hearts and minds. Don’t commit the same crimini, and welcome possibilities.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.