It Takes This Many Dates To Know That You Like Someone, According To Experts

It can be very difficult to discern sometimes whether you genuinely click with someone on a sexual and romantic level or whether you simply enjoy spending time with them. Some go on a date and from there either know that they’re super into whoever they met up with or that they definitely, definitely aren’t. Other people need a little more time to figure out whether or not that “spark” is there. Perhaps your ice cream date with the person you met on Tinder was pleasant enough, but not anything to rave to your friends about. Perhaps the person you Netflix and chilled with last week was good in bed and had a good sense of humor, but you aren’t sure if you really want to get invested beyond a Friends With Benefits level of commitment.

You may need a little time to sort out your feelings, but how much time is too much time? Clinical psychologist and author Dr. Seth Meyers cuts right to the chase and offers up a concrete number: two to three dates. Though he acknowledges that long-term compatibility cannot be gauged through this few meetings, Meyers explains that “after two or three dates, you will know if this is a person you inherently feel comfortable with” and “whether this person is someone you have a natural fit with.” Therapist and relationship expert Nicole Richardson came up with a similar answer; she explains that it is normal to be unsure during the first date or two, especially if this person is different from the ones you have dated in the past, but that “if the confusion persists beyond a couple of dates that is likely an indication that you aren’t feeling into that person.”

During a first date, you may be nervous or on edge–you’re meeting someone new for the first time, or even if you are going on a first date with someone you’re already friendly with, you’re meeting them in a new context for the first time. Once a few dates have elapsed, though, you’re going to have to choose whether it’s worth it to continue seeing your potential love interest or whether the connection just isn’t there.

If you’ve been on two or three dates with a person already and you’re still not quite sure whether to proceed with seeing them, here are some things to consider.

Do you feel comfortable around them?

It’s true that some couples don’t start out feeling super connected or even start out disliking each other, but the majority of long-term couples say that they have felt a certain level of comfort with their partner from the beginning. You probably aren’t going to open up right away about everything, but beyond the first date–because some of us get nervous about those–you should feel relatively at ease. If it’s difficult for you and your date to carry on a conversation because you have literally nothing in common, your senses of humor don’t align, or something just feels really off, then it probably isn’t going to work out.

Is the physical chemistry there?

This is kind of a tricky one because chemistry is something that can build up over time and sexual compatibility is something that can be worked on within any relationship, even one that’s already been established. There are so many factors that can go into whether you’re feeling it with someone: how nervous you are, how long you’ve known this person, and how sexually experienced each partner is, to name a few.

If you’ve taken things further physically and you had a fine time but don’t really feel anything special, Richardson says that it’s ultimately up to you whether you want to call things off or wait it out to see if you two are more compatible after getting to know each other more. She also says to keep in mind that even if the chemistry you are feeling with your date is different than what you’re used to, that might not necessarily be a bad thing–you just have to tune into your intuition and determine whether you’re into it or whether you’re settling. Don’t settle. Live your best life and move on if you genuinely feel that the attraction doesn’t exist.

If you enjoy spending time with them as a person, you have nothing to lose by hanging out once more.

According to the book Modern Romance, a collaboration by actor Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg, your potential partner should be given another chance as long as the answer isn’t a definite no. If your first two or three dates feel average, they suggest that you continue interacting to see where things go because unique traits and quirks that take longer to pick up on may provide some guidance as to whether you are developing feelings. They actually recommend that you go on at least four dates, arguing that sustained interactions will help you develop a more accurate picture of who the person is and what you have in common. If you’re not sure if deeper feelings exist but you enjoy spending time with your Tinder match, there’s really no harm in meeting up again–you could always call it off later.

Good luck with your dating and don’t forget that even if all goes badly, Ben & Jerry’s will always be there for you. Ice cream > first dates, always.

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