Do Men Fall in Love with Women After One Date?

Do Men Fall in Love with Women After One Date?


I have been a fan of yours for years and have purchased many of your programs/books. I also am an avid reader of your blog and have enjoyed reading about your growth over time. Congrats on the soon to be new addition to your family! Thanks to you I do reasonably well in my dating life but recently was shocked over a conversation I had…

I met a man online and we had a nice date. He is an alpha male who seemed to still be emotionally involved with his ex so there were many red flags that had popped up for me. After talking for a few weeks after the date, he said he was concentrating on growing his business and while I was a charming woman he would like to get to know more, he didn’t feel he had time for a relationship right now. I was fine with that considering the warning bells that were going off. We remained friends and would text occasionally over the next couple of months.

We had lunch a few times. I had been looking at this as a friendship and then, yes you guessed it, he informed me I was invited over any time to have dinner and fornication. I told him I do not make a habit out of sleeping with my friends and politely declined.

A week or so later he told me he had met someone and that it felt “obvious.” I congratulated him and didn’t talk to him for 3 or so weeks. Turns out she was totally unavailable and things did not work out as he had planned. His response is what has me puzzled. He said, “Life is odd and hard to explain sometimes, but you get different vibes with different people. A small few I get a friend vibe with. A much much, much, much smaller group I get the I also trust them and would love to have sex with them! (your group, currently 1 member). Then there is the ‘I want to seriously date or partner up’ vibe. I think I felt that only twice while single, only once really strong – and that was the recent debacle that now has me jaded!”

This conversation took place a month ago and I am still pondering it in my mind. I have no desire to take things any further with him than friendship – that isn’t the problem. I have never immediately gotten an “I want to seriously date or partner up” vibe in my life! Not even with my ex-husband! Is it really that simple for men? Is their decision made after one date? I always agreed with you on the “men look for sex and find love” theory. I have almost decided this guy just trying to get me to have sex with him until someone he feels is better comes along. What do you think? –Cheryl


While you (or he) might feel “in love”, these are merely feelings – feelings that correlate with a flooding of hormones in your brain – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, testosterone, etc.

Most people are unreliable reporters of reality.

We know what we feel – and then when life smacks us in the face because our feelings don’t square with reality – we experience confusion and cognitive dissonance.

A perfect example comes from Lori Gottlieb’s excellent book, “Marry Him”. When she first met my fiancé, Lori writes, “His fiancé was cute but not gorgeous. She was 39 years old and looked her age. She wasn’t impressively accomplished. She didn’t disarm people with a rapier wit. She wouldn’t stand out in any way at a dinner party. She was, objectively, rather average. And Evan was madly in love.”

Lori thought I was supposed to be with a 29-year-old, thin, Jewish, liberal, intellectual property attorney who also wrote for the Huffington Post. Someone like Lori herself – only 10 years younger. How I could have chosen my wife was a source of consternation to this bright and talented author.

“What am I missing here? Why would a guy like that choose her?”

Your guy is experiencing his own cognitive dissonance right now.

But instead of looking for answers or talking to a coach, he’s going to just accept the fact that things didn’t add up – and go on his merry way. The definition of insanity, you know.

It’s the same thing we see on this blog all the time.

People put partners into different categories based on their feelings/passion from the first few weeks of dating, instead of considering the factors that will determine long-term success: how they spend money, where they want to live, how to raise children, how to live in the same space, how to quickly get over disagreements, how to do all the little things to make a partner happy, how to accept a partners’ flaws…

These are not things you can tell from an online dating profile. These are not things you can tell on a first date. These are not things you can tell in a month. These are not things you can tell in six months.

So while you (or he) might feel “in love”, these are merely feelings – feelings that correlate with a flooding of hormones in your brain – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, testosterone, etc.

I know this isn’t the answer your question, Cheryl, but it’s more important than the answer to your question.

Being “in love” has little correlation to whether a couple lasts for the rest of their lives.

It’s about understanding how people operate and finding some measure of objectivity, instead of taking it personally.

Fact is, men do fall in love faster than women.

But who cares? There are way too many variables beyond being “in love” which are far better determining factors of longevity. Which is why I think this tangent is more universal and educational than the question you originally posed to me:

I have never immediately gotten an “I want to seriously date or partner up” vibe in my life! Not even with my ex-husband! Is it really that simple for men? Is their decision made after one date? I always agreed with you on the “men look for sex and find love” theory. I have almost decided this guy was just trying to get me to have sex with him until someone he feels is better comes along. What do you think?

Well, to your first question about falling in love at first sight, yes, it’s often really that simple. It doesn’t mean that love at first sight is wise; but it is that simple – a shot to the brain of love drugs and suddenly you can’t see things all that clearly.

And as far as the guy who wants to have sex with you until someone better comes along? Yeah, that’s about right, too.

If he were wiser, he may look closer to see if he can be himself with you, if you make him feel good when he’s with you, if you’re a fundamentally kind, selfless, easygoing person, if you share a vision of life that can be built together. But I’m guessing that he’s just like the vast majority of the population – driven by chemistry and wondering why things never seem to work out for him.

Let him go – and learn to understand and accept that this is the way many people operate in dating and relationships.

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  1. 61

    Thank you all for your comments. I learn a lot every time I visit this site. Last night, through POF, I chatted with a guy on the phone. He wanted to meet up in 30 mins.  I had turned in for the evening but he was willing to come to my house to meet me.  I’m like huh? A perfect online stranger coming to my house?  I suggest we meet the next evening in a public place for a drink and he goes blank.  He doesn’t know if he could make plans. He’s willing to come to my house in 30 mins but can’t figure out whether he wants to meet for a drink in 24 hours.  Yeah, give me a break. Sometimes Evan, it is just too obvious.  He was totally “shocked” that I declined and insisted that because he was a pilot, he was honorable because all pilots are honorable.  He was volunteering to come to my house as perfect stranger because he was being honorable.  Hello, do online guys understand that there is a very real danger in having perfect strangers show up at my house?  I know I need a dating coach but the guys I’ve met need a dating coach more than me.

  2. 62

    EMK  Don’t you find it odd that others find your wife gorgeous and attractive, hot and anything but average— but you don’t? I think that is odd……  I get it about seeing other things in her that distinguished her but I’m sticking with the idea that I and others see her as gorgeous and high on the hotness scale.  We can do that and still be a devotee of on-line coaching!!

  3. 63
    Karmic Equation

    @Heather 49

    Hi Heather, I’ve read some of your other posts and am aware that you’ve been in abusive relationship(s) that you are working to overcome.

    I’m a believer that sometimes when we make a “course correction”, we swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. This is human. Eventually the pendulum finds its center.

    It sounds to me that because of your past bad relationships (and how you now realize you should not have tolerated the bad treatment the way you did) you may now be intolerant of anything that even seems remotely like bad treatment. In other words, your past experience may be unfairly coloring your current experiences.

    I’ve never online dated…but it appears that there are enough posters on this board with online dating experience who can advise that what you’ve encountered was not out of the norm nor intended to be personally insulting to you. By focusing on the Plan B part (which was *your* own interpretation, I hope the guy didn’t call you that!) you neglected to notice the man’s honesty.
    To me, his honesty was endearing, showing that he’s not an experienced dater. IMO, an experienced dater would have kept that info to himself.

  4. 64

    @Runnergirl…that is weird but can’t say it’s uncommon.  I don’t know why any man would think that a woman would meet him without a bit of back and forth, and no stranger would ever be given my home address either but a lot of people try to go there.  

    I don’t know if these are criminals hoping to find an easy mark or people lacking social skills.  At any rate, what you did was just plain common sense.  

    That sounds really scary.  I can’t imagine he had anything good planned for you.

  5. 65

    Obviously this thread has gone way off the topic of men falling in love with women after one date.

    For some reason women more than men while doing online dating have difficulty with the way it works. ie: dating a few people at the same time while knowing all those people may be doing the same thing all while getting new prospects daily etc…..

    Nathan has brought up some great points and I’ve been on both ends of the “Plan B” thing and it’s just the way the online dating world works now.

    A woman I had 6 emails with and a planned date with. Emails me a final time and says “she met someone she’s interested in and she only dates one man at a time” “Good Luck” No big deal, I didn’t even reply I just thought she was blowing me off.
    2 weeks later she texts me and says and I quote ” Hi JB I hope it’s ok that I am texting you. I regret that we didn’t meet. I decided too soon to close myself off to other opportunities. If you can look beyond my foolish decision and give me a chance, I’d like to meet you. If not, I completely understand.” So I text her back and said “I understand how online dating works and some peoples impulsiveness and I hold no hard feelings so sure” We met last night and had a nice time and talked about it.

    On the other hand…. one woman (who I was one of the first to email) took me 6 weeks to get her to a phone conversation where I found out she’d already went out with 10 guys and none of them was “good enough” so she said she’d meet me “next week” some time yadda yadda yadda. She sounded drained and ambivalent from the process. I never called her again. “Plan B” is one thing, “Plan L” is another.

  6. 66

    @JB 67 You were still pixels on a screen to the second woman and should not take that personally.  What distinguishes you from the other 10 men in her mind before she meets any of them?  You were not judged relative to them in any real way. 
    You believe you picked up that she was burned out on dating and not receptive or able to be open to a relationship (I can sympathize with her. It is too bad she does not recognize it.)  The “not good enough” means she is working down a to do list of try this guy then that guy. That is a fine reason not to waste a date with her.

  7. 67


    What’s odd to me is the underlying connotation that there is disparity or some level of mismatch in their levels of physical attractiveness, and that this is frequently emphasized. If we’re discussing that trait alone, his wife is certainly equally if not more attractive than he.

  8. 68

    @Nicole (66), thank you for the feedback. I don’t think the guy was a criminal but he was out of line in my opinion. Clearly, there was no chemistry or thunderbolt because we had only exchanged three or four very short emails.  I’ve had one other guy suggest that our second date occur at his house and he had the same shocked reaction when I said nope. I guess some guys (not all) may be simply chancing their arms and don’t much like being declined. My goal is to develop a healthy committed relationship based on trust, respect, and honesty. Of course, developing a committed relationship takes a bit more than chemistry and a bit more than one date. That may be too lofty a goal for online dating but I’m not giving up hope. I’ve learned a lot about me, my boundaries, and my values.  I’ve gone down the chemistry road and well…you can imagine out that ended.  
    @Heather, I totally agree with you and your decision.  If you felt like a Plan B for whatever reason, I’d say you are entitled to your feelings.  And congratulations for recognizing and validating your own feelings.  The guy may have just been a bonehead but it isn’t your role in life to teach a guy how to behave appropriately. For me, at 53, I don’t have time to raise a guy, plus I’m raising a daughter! Yup, I’m a one chance and flush  kinda girl too. Since my age range is 40-something to 50-something, I’m assuming the guys in that age range have had some experience with members of the opposite sex and know how to treat a woman?  Maintain your boundaries.

  9. 69

    @SalsaQ #68 “What distinguishes you from the other 10 men in her mind before she meets any of them?”

    I know we’re all “just pixels on a page” at that point but it’s really not that simple. If a woman is more interested in 10-15 other guys than she is in me that doesn’t bode well for my chances of actually having her be interested when/if we meet.

    And you’re right her attitude of being burned out and less than excited about ME on the phone was THE reason I never followed up.

    No matter what is going on my life or has gone on in my online dating world I ALWAYS try and be upbeat, fresh, and positive to whomever I’m emailing or chatting with. Even if it’s an act…

  10. 70

    @JB, I thinkthat what you are describing so much “how online dating works” so much as how some women choose to date period.

    And that is fine.  I definitely know people of both genders who prefer to have one conversation at a time, and I have female friends who definitely like to cast several lines (and you’ll see many of the women who comment here talk about the same thing).

    It’s good you were fine with it, but I think people of BOTH genders would do well to understand that how you approach online dating is not how they might approach it and vice versa.  I personally don’t think it makes sense to put all eggs in one basket with someone you haven’t even met.  At least in the case of real life meeting it might make more sense to stop looking until things run their course, but yeah, too much is assigned to gender when I don’t think that is the case.

  11. 71

    I kind of understand where Heather is coming from, I recently connected online with someone from college (we never hung out, but we had mutual friends). He said he had been wanting to meet me for a while, mentioned his past issues and was willing to be upfront about his past relationships, I declined, and trusted him. 3 months of conversations. He had brought up me coming to visit him (long distance) and I made a suggestion for solidifying this ( by going to visit). He replied, sure no problem, and disappeared. I saw him on facebook, 2 weeks later, and we had a tiny spat about why he was avoiding me (I asked him to delete me rather than continually logging off when he saw me, he said he was talking to a friend on her birthday and I sounded venomous). Stupidly, a day later, I sent him an email, asking if he needed space or had met someone else, just let me know, miss him, take care. He never replied, but did take the time to write a quote about compatibility and making it work as his facebook status a day later, to which the same female friend from earlier liked. Still no word from this guy.
    If he came back, saying he dated her, but it blew up in his face, and would like to give us another chance, I’m not sure I won’t reply by banging the phone on him.

  12. 72

    I am just now starting to heal after being a rebound guy.  I met a girl on-line about 6 weeks ago.  She told me upfront not to have expectations; that her ex cheated on her (he made out with a girl in a bar) and just wanted me to know upfront.  I had other options but let them go soon after meeting her because I really liked her and was very interested after the first date and also because I have done a lot of serial dating and I just don’t like it anymore.  I find it too hard to focus and give someone a chance.

    After the 3rd date, I was really hooked.  Yes the chemistry was intense but I was also interested in other things, i.e., her age, where she lived, where she worked, her personality and interests.  She was also 20 pounds overweight which I didn’t even care about.  She began telling me how exited she was about me, how much she missed me, how she couldn’t wait to see me, etc.

    After a while it was apparent that she was keeping me at arms length.  I told her I was having strong feelings for her and to not contact me unless she was genuinely interested in me.  She did and we went out 2 more times.  She then met me again and dropped the bomb on me that she was going back to her ex.  I was devestated.  Instead of just letting me go she kept in touch with me and it became flirty again and we met one more time.  It was a very intimate date with a lot of romance.  We kept in touch last week and I have barely spoken to her over the last 5 days.  She is starting to disappear.

    Yes my fault for letting myself get involved with someone with unresolved ex-boyfriend issues but the chemistry was there.  I rolled the dice and knew I may get hurt.  I am and it doesn’t make it any easier.

    I can’t begin to describe how “right” it felt.  I’ve dated a lot of woman in the last few years and was waiting for something like this.  My only expectation was that we would be able to focus on eachother for a little while and see if we could have worked out.

    I haven’t been in love in a long time.  I’m not sure what this was but it felt like love and it happened in the first few dates. 

  13. 73

    Chemistry is driven by the clock.  I was the back up to the chemistry experiment but actually dealing with that awkwardness was good practice for the future as it gave us some mechanisms for handling problems.

  14. 74

    I met a wonderful man online who reached out to me with a wink and an email, then a phone call, then lunch….I almost fell off my chair from his honesty and candor of exactly what he was looking for and that he was hoping to spend a lot more time together to get to know each other. The chemistry was off the charts, our kids were grown and gone and we were both 49 years old…so needless to say, we moved in together after 2 months and it has been fabulous. He is calm, loving, kind and wonderful in every way. No guarantees in life but being a little older has helped and I was so pleased that I winked and emailed him back. He said of online dating, that a lot of women do not write back or just want to continue emailing and not meet. He was also looking for a partner in life not a one night stand so that was what I wanted too. Just so refreshing to have someone tell you what they want. I don’t understand why we just can’t tell each other our expectations. What do you have to lose. BTW, his pictures did him no justice, he was absolutely gorgeous!! At least to me. That was a bonus because his heart is gold and his family is somewhat normal, which is also a bonus 🙂

  15. 75

    This is rather interesting and i like the fact it is written “most men” and not all. I am a male and frankly i couldnt really give much care or attention to sexual needs not to say i don’t want it, but when it comes to wanting a relationship i actually look forward to a successful relationship. Being on this side though, i realized, that some women tend to judge first and chase away the ones whom they were looking for, and more often than not, going for the “bad boy” or guys that end up giving men a bad name.. I would however suggest not letting him in your pants for a good period of time and just pure courting and get to know. That way both will see what each other is looking for in a relationship.

  16. 76

    As a woman….if I’m crazy about a guy and he’s willing to “put out”… Sure why not.


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