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. 

    1. 72.1
      Sandra Wade

      This is the perfect example of why you need to listen to your head and not your heart. I bet the ex will cheat on her again and dump her, but please do not let her come back. She is heartbreak for you.

  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 🙂

    1. 74.1
      Sandra L Wade

      You are very lucky. I just dated a guy I met on Facebook for 2 months, and it did not end well. I wrote a new comment about it.

      And, we are both in our 40s.

  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.


  17. 77
    Sandra L Wade

    I had been dating a guy for 2 short months. Honestly, we met on Facebook and were talking on the phone and IM’ing for the first month and didn’t really meet physically til 3 weeks into it. We would talk for hours every night. I thought, this is great! I’m really getting to know him and like him before we even physically meet.

    What I didn’t know, and just learned NOW, after we broke up, is that he had only 2 occasions where he told a woman he loved her–out of many many dating scenarios, apparently. And both these times, they “fell in love” on the 1st or 2nd date. One relationship lasted 20 years. The other lasted 3.

    So now he thinks he needs to feel that lightning bolt or whatever..he HAS to fall “madly in love” with a woman from the start. So, when it didn’t happen with me, despite the fact that we have GREAT chemistry and attraction, get along well, great intellectual and political compatibility..and so many other great things about us, together..from day TWO he was apparently freaking out. He wanted to “just be friends” and was “afraid of hurting me.”

    The latter part is what really bugs me. So what does he proceed to do? Well, according to him, his motivation was to “try and fall in love with me”, because he thinks I really AM wonderful, amazing, brilliant, beautiful and all that.  When I told him “maybe you just haven’t met the right one”, he said “you ARE the right one. I adore you, I just don’t adore you the way you need. And it’s just not the “madly in love” type of feeling I want.”

    So for the following month, he proceeded to call me every night, like a boyfriend would. We would talk for HOURS. He was really good to me…very supportive and bought me presents. Took me out on dates. HE ACTED LIKE HE SAW A FUTURE WITH ME. For a month. Meanwhile, I had NO idea, he’s actually freaking out in his mind because he didn’t fall “instantly in love with me.”

    And yknow what? We probably could have kept going that way, except he kept telling me about his previous dating situations where he’d break up with women because he didn’t love them.  I saw a guy for 6 months who, one minute said he thought he was falling in love with me; 2 weeks later, dumped me saying ‘the feelings aren’t there.” THIS guy said “oh that sounds like me.”

    I don’t know if telling me all this, he was intentionally waving red flags to get me to ask him what our future looked like, but..that was the effect. I finally did, last Sunday. And he spilled his guts about how he was terrified of hurting me.  YET, even during the breakup conversation, he was making out with me..holding my hand..hugging me..telling me how beautiful I am, and how “I’m probably going to regret this the rest of my life.”


    So yeah, I feel like this guy messed up. I’m a catch. But he’s so delusional thinking that love only comes immediately and you fall MADLY in it.

    i’m more upset that he led me on, despite knowing he really only wanted to be friends.

    And i’m mad at myself because I couldn’t match his behavior with his words, so I THOUGHT “oh he’s just afraid of ME hurting HIM”, , and wasted time trying to convince him of this..meanwhile he was BEGGING me not to throw him out of my life and wanting to be friends.

    I blocked him on everything.


    1. 77.1
      Emily, the original

      Hi  Sandra,

      The guy you dated sounds like 18 shades of what I call “flim flam” — he’s back and forth, he’s in, he’s out, he’s on the periphery …. Like you, I am in my 40s, and that kind of behavior, at least for me, is a turn off. I just want to say to a guy like that: Make up your mind or go away. (It’s obviously easier said than done if you really like the guy.)

      1. 77.1.1
        Sandra Wade

        I totally agree. I hate mixed messages, I really do. He wanted to be friends with me, but I cut him off. I can’t do it. I’ve gone no contact and blocked him.

        1. Tom10

          @ Sandra L Wade #77
          @ Emily, the original #77.1
          “I just want to say to a guy like that: Make up your mind or go away”.
          Lol. These aren’t mixed messages; they’re clear indications that he’s jntiy (if a guy can’t make up his mind he’s actually already made it up). Blocking him was the correct thing to do.

        2. Emily, the original


          Yeah, but this guy Sandra wrote about kept reappearing. You confuse the shit out of someone when you do that. It’s totally selfish. If you know your interest is isn’t strong enough, leave the other person alone.

        3. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          Yes it looks like he was trying to keep Sandra as an option, yet also keep his other options open at the same time. Or to have his cake and eat it.

    2. 77.2

      “I don’t know if telling me all this, he was intentionally waving red flags”

      I had this exact same thing happen to me.  It was early on and she was telling me a story about a friend of hers who was really messed up who did something when a guy came over for dinner.  Well, I was having dinner at her house and she was doing nearly the same thing that this other woman did in the story.  I had no clue how to interpret that.  I was like, WTF is going on here!!!   She dropped another hint when I asked her what her friend said when I met her.  She said that her friend said that she was going to put lead in her shoes so she couldn’t cut and run.  She ended up cutting and running.

      Listen to what these people say and heed the warnings.  I was freshly divorced and totally naive and inexperienced, keyword WAS.

      1. 77.2.1
        Sandra Wade

        Another thing is, if they tell you these stories, they can then say after the fact, “what, you didn’t pick up on what I was trying to hint to you?”

        But yeah..this guy loved my writing and supported me being a writer, so I sent him a thing I wrote about a previous ex who did the same thing..told me he was falling in love with me, and was amazing to me and did all these things that are SUPPOSED to mean he loves you..then 2 weeks after saying “I think I’m falling in love with you”, he breaks up with me, saying “the feelings aren’t there.” Well, this most recent ex READ that story, and he said “I know that guy. I used to be him. I used to be so fast out the door, you wouldn’t see me run away.”

        I didn’t think much of it because we had only JUST started talking online then. Hadn’t even started dating.


        1. Emily, the original


          I wonder if these types think they are really interested, at least in the moment, and then change their minds. Or do they KNOW their interest is middling and they’re waiting for something better to show up ?? Do they realize they are stringing the other person along? Or are they too self-involved to know? Do they not care? I mean, can’t you tell when you’re really into someone? How hard is that to figure out?

    3. 77.3

      my first gf after divorce said that she “had a fear of relationships and tended to sabotage them.”    Then she told me that she might make it hard but not on purpose and not to give up.  I had no clue what to do with that information.    That was very formative and a long time ago.  That was how I washed up on this blog.

      1. 77.3.1


        I can tell you what I do when given that particular piece of “information” by a woman.I get the hell away from her, as in NOW!

        1. ScottH

          At the time, it made no sense to me why someone who was afraid of dating was dating so I didn’t act on the information, especially since we were really into each other.  And I can say with absolute certainty that it was not a case of JNITY.  There are a lot of psychological dynamics in mid-life dating that I wasn’t aware of.  You wouldn’t think that you should need a formal education in psychology for mid-life dating, but it doesn’t hurt.  And the interesting thing was that this particular girl has a PhD in psychology.

      2. 77.3.2

        I have to agree with Buck25. I wouldn’t stay with a guy who told me that. A relationship is supposed to make your life better, not worse. >.< Who on earth wants a hard relationship lol

    4. 77.4
      Sandra Wade

      He neither kept leaving nor re-appearing; nor was it that he wanted to keep his options open, you guys. He wasn’t seeing anyone else; I know this because we talked on the phone constantly. Or IM’d on FB. He had no time to see others.

      The was a classic case of what exactly Evan is talking about–he fell in love with 2 women right off the bat in his life, so he put these standards on himself that, if the “falling  madly in love” thing didn’t happen almost IMMEDIATELY, then it wasn’t going to happen. His definition of love is wack. He’s waiting for that big lightning strike that happens on the first date.

      I even told him this. I think his defintion of love is wack. To me, all the work I’ve done on myself, and all the reading and studying I’ve done, has showed me, REAL love only happens after a long period of getting to know someone.

      Anyway he thought he didn’t love me because it didn’t happen right away, but was perfecrly willing to string me along, until I brought up where the relationship was headed.

  18. 78

    Not really at all even if we like the woman very much since you really need time to let nature take its course since that would really scare the woman off right away. If you happen to hit it off with one another after a few good dates then it can start getting very serious especially if you’re very compatible with one another.

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