How To Date In The Present

asian couple blowing bubbles outside

"Great dates seem hard to come by so if I'm on one, I can't help but think, could he be the one? I get lost in the romance, the fantasy of it all," says Melanie, 29, an account supervisor in Boston. Melanie needs to learn how to date in the present. Is It A Date Or Are We Just Friends?

Picture this: It's the second course of an exquisite meal on your second date with an exquisite guy. From his first wink you thought to yourself, "he seems too good to be true" but, lo and behold, the real-life version measured up to his digital one. 

As you take in every one of his charming words, mesmerized by the way his lips wrap around his wine glass, you drift into fantasyland, thinking, "Wow, he would make an amazing softball coach to our kids. I wonder if he's available the second weekend of June to go to my cousin's wedding. He's a guy I would give up my last name for."

But you know what he's thinking? He's thinking, "I wonder if my roommate is home. Man, her cleavage is hot. We should probably switch from wine to liquor so she doesn't get sleepy and pass out on my sofa." His thoughts are nothing like yours... and as much as we hate to admit it, given how well you know each other, his head is probably the one that's on straight. Here's why.

This guy is brand new. Sure, you know what his online profile says, and you know that he is kind to waiters, likes cologne and drives a Lexus. You're getting somewhere, but you've got a long way to go. Mark, 32, a marketer in Seattle, explains, "If a girl brings up exclusivity early on, it makes me think she wants someone, not necessarily me. It raises dependency and insecurity flags."

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Men and women generally view the future and commitment a little bit differently. Ladies often picture a perma-date to weddings, a co-pilot, a figurative blankie. But guys see a depleting bank account, nights out with the boys turning into tear-jerker movie marathons, endless brunches with your parents. Sure, guys want girlfriends and wives too, but they're not in a hurry. If you vocalize how you see the future, you may drive away a guy who might have stayed if things had progressed at five miles an hour rather than 60. "On a first date, at my place after hooking up, this girl asked me to list the states I'd be willing to live in and if raising my kids Jewish was negotiable. I felt like it was an interview for her future," remembers Jeremy, a 27-year-old sports therapist in Chicago. "That was our first and last date." Advice: I Am Always Scaring Guys Away

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.