Do You Think About A Future Before There’s A Present?


Have you ever gone on a really great date and instantly started thinking about the future?

I’m not talking about signing his last name with your first name or picturing what your kids will look like; I’m talking about the short-term future.

The second you start feeling something for him, your unconscious thoughts begin to arise:

Putting your future first is sabotaging your ability to form strong connections AND causing you to get hurt unnecessarily.

But don’t worry, you can change.

“Will he get along with my family?”

“Is he financially stable?”

“Does he have a good relationship with his mom, his sister, and his exes?”

“I hope he’s good in bed.”

“Is he a keeper?”

“I hope he doesn’t disappointment me.”

“Where is this going? I don’t want to waste my time.”

Sorry, if I just read your mind. It’s just that I have women confessing this sort of thing to me all the time. Putting your future first is sabotaging your ability to form strong connections AND causing you to get hurt unnecessarily.

But don’t worry, you can change.

My advice may sound logical, but I want to acknowledge one important thing: it’s hard to help yourself when it comes to the passion of new love.

In the cold world of being single – with so many random dates with so many awkward guys, it’s thrilling when you finally find a guy who excites you.

But what happens when you get too excited about a new guy?

Well, look at your past. Most of the time, your excitement is premature.

The guy turns out to be a total flake or a selfish jerk.

The guy turns out to have issues that are a big turn off.

The guy turns out to be Mr. Right Now, but definitely not Mr. Right.

You couldn’t have known this on Exciting Date #1, but history tells us that most of the time, things aren’t as rosy as they seem.

I feel very strongly that a man isn’t “real” until he’s your boyfriend. He has to be exclusive with you before you get too excited.

Otherwise, you set yourself up for repeated heartbreaks.

This post is to warn you about taking the OPPOSITE tack: assuming that things are going to go wrong sooner or later.

It’s not an unfair premise. 99 out of 100 guys are NOT your future husband.

But what happens when you’re going into the date with that mindset?

The first thing you start thinking is: “Don’t waste my time.”

And to protect yourself from investing your time in a guy who – statistically speaking – will probably not be your husband – you go into full interrogation mode…

The “right” guy probably wouldn’t feel too good when dating a woman who treats him like a common criminal…

You start probing about his former relationships.

You subtly feel around for a sense of his financial well-being.

You hint – or say outright – that you’re looking for something serious.


How’s that for a statement to the new man you’re seeing?

Understand, I make no defense of men who are jerks or players or time-wasters, but, believe it or not, most men are out for a real relationship.

They may date and date and date until they find the woman to whom they want to commit, but they really do want to build something. If you find that you’re attracted to “player” types (and I should know: I was one of them), the information I’ve compiled in Why He Disappeared is priceless.

Learn how to turn a player into a devoted man, just by learning to TRUST him.

If you still think that trust is a bad idea when it comes to men, consider the plight of my client, Jessica. A 37-year-old lawyer from Chicago, Jessica had been burned by men too many times, which is how she found herself single for 11 years after her divorce.

After dealing with multiple cases of infidelity, the hardest thing in the world for her to believe was that there were some truly nice men who would be loyal to her forever.

As a result, Jessica came up with a whole set of “rules” she lived her life by: do background checks on each new man to make sure he’s on the up-and-up, don’t waste time with a man if he’s not completely in love after a few weeks, don’t sleep with a man for at least 3 months, and so on.

Well, guess what? Jessica’s rules – designed to protect her – pushed every single guy away – for 11 years. She thought that this just meant she hadn’t met the “right” guy.

What she hadn’t considered is that the “right” guy (myself, for example) probably wouldn’t feel too good when dating a woman who treats him like a common criminal, who refuses to sleep with him, and who doesn’t understand why he won’t say “I love you” until he’s really positive he means it…

Jessica means well, but her methods are backfiring and preventing men from connecting to her.

Which is why, no matter what your past experience is, it’s always in your best interests to play it cool. Take it from a guy, you may think you’re being smart by gathering information to protect yourself, but all it does is drive most men away.

No matter what your past experience is, it’s always in your best interests to play it cool.

The hard truth is that he doesn’t know yet whether he wants to be with you in the long-term. He won’t know after three dates. He won’t know after three months.

(By the way, YOU might not know if you want HIM long-term either. You just want to make sure that it’s YOU who’s doing the heartbreaking, not him.)

My overall message is that you have to let the relationship play itself out at an organic pace, instead of trying to look into the future. The more you push for clarity – especially when he doesn’t have any himself – the less likely that he’s going to stick around.

I illustrate this, and so much more, in “Why He Disappeared.”  Click here to learn how to leave the past behind and stay in the present with each new guy…

Join our conversation (48 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21

    #18 Diana

    But I get the message: no one wants to feel pushed, untrusted or being toyed with, so learn to go with the flow, stop it with all of the expectations, over analyzing, and negativity, and just enjoy each others company and see where life takes you.

    Well said!   I think it’s instructive for women to talk to themselves using this kind of language  when they are feeling anxious about the need to know where he’s at, what he’s thinking, etc.   What works for me is to  visualize ‘leaning back’, take a deep breath and tell myself that God has a plan for me, so relax and enjoy the moment and the rest will take care of itself.  

    What’s interesting to me is that I don’t understand why letting a guy know what you’re looking for or talking about former relationships (even in the beginning) means that you don’t trust him. If he lets me know what he’s looking for or asks about my former relationships, does that mean he doesn’t trust me? Maybe it has to do with whether they seem to be interrogating you?

    Yes, it’s not the questions per se, it’s how they are being asked and in what context.   If it’s appropriate for the conversation that’s going on, asking a man if he ever sees himself getting married again doesn’t seem to violate any trust in my mind, and I think he would agree.   Vice versa as well.   Asking about all the intimate details about his past relationships and then commenting on things could bring up some trust issues (even trust in regard that  he’s not going to be accepted for the person he is).  

  2. 22

    #15 Valley Forge Lady

    🙁   I think we can sympathize with you.   It’s always somewhat of a crap shoot when we get involved with someone. There is always the chance of getting hurt, even when things are 100% ‘perfect’ (believe me, been there, the timing of our lives was off, very disappointing).

    It sounds to me like your femininity feeling is on the low side.   When that happens, we have less passion for ourselves, less passion for men, less passion for life.

    Femininity = Obtaining resources from men (time, attention, labor,   humor, affection, money–some or all of these) + Purpose greater than self

    I have no idea what your situation is, but would suggest, if you’re not already, to not rely 100% on on-line dating.   Interact with men in PERSON everywhere you go, it doesn’t matter if they are married or single, that’s not the point.   The point is to have them open doors for you (labor), to chat with them in line at the grocery store (attention), have them   help you with something (labor), have them make you laugh (humor)–I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying.   If you can do this, and pay attention to the way you feel as a result of those interactions, you will feel your femininity get a boost and your outlook will change.

  3. 23

    Denise……….. You are a dear to address my concerns. Actually I have wonderful problems….I know that men find me attractive but finding a significant connection is a challenge.   I did find Evan’s article on Pretty girls who cannot find boy friends…..on the upper right of this blog.     It made a lot of sense….it is a numbers game and it does take time.   On this New Year’s Eve I celebrate that I am not in a dead end relationship and that I know the New Year brings lots of promise in the economy and in my love life.   This is true for all of us if we take on the right attitude!   ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING….THAT IS WHY WE ARE HERE!

  4. 24

    I think there are ways to discover things about a date in a casual way without interrogating them. And you can have physical intimacy with someone without having sex right away. In my experience, a man who truly likes you will wait until you are ready for sex, and I’ve only had one man move on because he didn’t get laid by the 3rd date. Not a big loss.
    Lots of people present a facade online (and off). That’s why I believe in dating more than one person at a time in the beginning and getting to know each other gradually. Two or three months is certainly a reasonable amount of time to take to see if someone is relationship material, which is what dating is all about. Most people won’t be.

  5. 25
    Katarina Phang

    Amen…brother!   The more you are relaxed and enjoy the experience as it unfolds, the better you get whether it is ballet, football, sex or dating/relationship.
    I have put it to test first hand.   It works wonderfully.

  6. 26

    I think I may have this dating thing figured out: act like a man; but on the other hand, don’t act like a man.   What??

  7. 27

    LOL Star!

  8. 29

    When you’re really keen on meeting someone, or feeling deflated from going on numerous dates and not meeting the right man, that’s often when you’re more likely  to think about the future and not pay attention or enjoy the present moment. Coupled with fast-paced lifestyles that many people lead, they feel that they do not want to waste time (as they do not have much expendable social time) so they approach dating as a potential employer seeking a husband. Of course, this is not going to bring out either their best qualities or that of their date’s, potentially resulting in them losing out on a great realtionship opportunity…

  9. 30

    AS, this might be related to your point. As a guy, I am noticing–my experience and that of my male friends–is how women often seem to come to a “yes/no” conclusion at the end of a first date/meet-up, in a way that doesn’t serve anyone.
    The thing is, it seems that they say “no” so quickly that I’m wondering if women are passing up on second dates with guys who would be great for them. Many of us guys are scratching our heads here because the first date/meet-up seemed to go well, with easily flowing conversation, a kiss by the end of the night, even holding hands. We’ve basically got our lives together too. But she still doesn’t want to see us again. What did we do for her to be certain there’s no point in us seeing each other again? She still doesn’t know us! What was she looking for?
    And then when they do say “yes” to a second date, they overwhelm the guy with all this talk of The Future. We start to feel crowded here. Just because we agreed to a second date doesn’t mean that we’re thinking of settling down or that we want to stop dating other people. Can’t we just enjoy each other’s company here?
    What I am getting at is that as a male, it seems that women and their selection criteria is out of whack. On the one hand, your gender seems to be writing off guys who might actually be great for you in the long run because we don’t check the boxes off some arbitrary list. On the other hand, you meet someone who is clearly all wrong for you but go for him anyway because of “the chemistry”. [The “Rockstar” blog is a little extreme, but it was along the lines of what I was thinking about.]

    1. 30.1

      You want to kiss and hold hands on a first date but not be crowded if you get to the second after that whirlwind first? Hmmmm. Sounds like you think a woman who accepts a first date kiss/hand hold is implying a future date–and you get mad when it turns out they don’t–yet you don’t want to hear any such talk on a second date… Bit of a double standard.

      Also, women have these same complaints about men. It’s a unisex complaint. One side thinks the first date is incredible and assumes the second only to find out it’s not happening and have no idea why… But if you’re a woman, you read this book and understand why.

  10. 31

    This is what I am saying: I (and my male friends) have gone on plenty of dates that seen to have gone quite well. What has happened after that about 95% of the time:
    (A) No second date (75% of the time)
    (B) Second date with the woman thinking we are further along than the guy is ready for (20% of the time)
    It’s either drought or deluge. No in-between.
    I’m not seeing where my expectations are unreasonable or a sign of a double standard… Kissing seems to me to be pretty normal first date stuff, holding hands maybe less so but it happens far less often (I should have put “even *sometimes* holding hands”). On the other hand, thinking that going on a second date makes you a couple just seems off to me. I mean, what’s the rush to decide?

    1. 31.1

      Just remember that they’re probably dating numerous people, not just you. (Same as you are doing.) So maybe they had two other first dates that week/month. Perhaps they connected more with someone else… Or perhaps they felt you moved too fast and implied “the Future” on the first date!

      As a woman, I’ve experienced a lot of your (B) (except with a guy, instead of a woman, since I’m straight.) I call (B) “rent the chapel” guys. They know nothing about me, really, but they’re practically ready to tie the knot! Both sides think they experience that: either drought or deluge. No in-between

      Which is why Evan’s advice, though targeted towards women, works for both sexes!

      Your (A) may feel about you how you feel about (B): I mean, what’s the rush to decide? And then just never follow through.

      Actually, someone may have a great third date with someone else after that handholding first date with you and she goes with the other guy… If you want less expectations from someone on a second date, it’s only fair you carry those same low expectations into date #1. Don’t you think?

  11. 32

    Michael17, unfortunately both men and women can be dismissive after a first date – without even really knowing you. I often wonder whether the reason behind this is that we are now spoilt for choice – i.e. with accessibility to single people via dating services that we did not have 10 years ago, people have become more judgemental knowing that if X date does not work out, they can just go back online for example  and find someone else.

    As for women thinking that there is a future as you have agreed to a second date, maybe you should hold off kissing (other than on a cheek) and holding hands on a first date  and see if that makes a difference?

  12. 33

    Michael- #30-

    This sounds a little like us girls who wonder why guys don’t call back when everything is going great. 😉 I can’t speak for guys (or other girls either), but for me, when I’ve most likely left guys wondering why a second date didn’t happen, it was because I just saw some ‘red flags’ on the first date that made me think that this guy wouldn’t be one to go out with again. But this didn’t mean that I wasn’t enjoying his company in the present- especially since I knew I wouldn’t see him again.

    It’s hard to draw a generalization on why all women or all men do or say a certain thing. Haven’t you ever failed to call a girl back, or just abruptly ended things? If so…what was your reason? Chances are, women who do such things are thinking along the same lines.

    When on a date, I try to ask questions (in a non-confrontational, natural way) that delve into what a guy’s character, future goals, etc. are like. If I’ve gotten the distinct impression that they’re not a fit for me, I don’t go out with him again. But that’s no reason not to hold hands, have an easy conversation, etc. on the first (and last) date, because you’re just having a good time in the moment.

  13. 34

    Also, women may be much less likely to talk about the future and consider exclusivity on the second date if men were much less likely to  attempt to  escalate physically on the third.

    “She still doesn’t know us!”

    Ideally, how many dates should it take to find out if you *want*  to really  know someone? Dealbreakers can be revealed fairly soon, and  they’re often possessed by very kind people with whom very nice conversations can be had.  Also, if someone dates someone for a month, doesn’t discuss a  committment  and makes the decision that the answer is “no”, a woman could  still  be accused of sending mixed messages and being flaky  if they  end a casual dating  relationship the way people do – by not returning calls and leaving no explanation.  Furthermore, women are regularly  pressured to give men they aren’t  at all  interested in a chance, and that’s what they give them  – A chance… not two months worth of chances and a warm bed before they decide that yeah, I’m really not interested in that guy. Do you really want to have your time, energy and money wasted like that?

  14. 35

    Red flags? I mean, I have a good job, good energy, get along well with my mom… So do my guy friends. So I’m not sure what you mean, #35 Sayanta.
    OK #34 AS and #29 Cat, so if women are so swimming in options, e.g., all these dates that are going so well for them, then what’s the problem? Where do you all go afterwards?
    I ask this not to interrogate (hope it isn’t coming across that way), but I am curious. There’s a lot going on in the minds of women when they decide whether to see a guy again, from how she felt when she was with him. to other things. I definitely don’t know it all, but I would like to know more.

  15. 36
    Harriet Bond

    I have not yet been on any dates through this, but like others think I am going to find it difficult to get the balance right…. do you question and be cautious or just be casual and see how it goes? My resolution is to try and be casual and not to expect too much of someone until I know them better, but also keep my boundaries in tact. I have spent my single time building these up and I think it’s important not to sacrifice them no matter what. As for ‘scaring off’ men, if they’re right for me, they will not be scared off I presume? At the end of the day, life itself is trial and error, and dates and relationships can’t be pre-empted or controlled by me. I probably just have to take my foot off the accelerator just a little bit and have faith!!!

  16. 37

    Ideally, how many dates should it take to find out if you *want* to really know someone?”

    I really liked your post # 36. Summed up the frustration of dating only to find out “he/she just isn’t that into you”   after 2 months very well. Especially when it was someone you “gave a chance” to, that you may not have considered before.

  17. 38


    I didn’t mean ‘red flag’ as in there’s something inherently wrong with a guy (sorry if it came out that way). I meant ‘red flag’ as in the guy and I wouldn’t necessarily mesh together as a couple. You can have two perfectly nice people who just are wrong for each other.

    BTW- you didn’t respond to the rest of my post 😉 I asked whether you hadn’t ever failed to call a girl back or decided after a date or two that she wasn’t the one for you. I’d be very surprised if you’d never done this, but I guess anything is possible. If you have, what was your reason? Chances are, the girls who are doing this have similar reasons.

  18. 39

    Sometimes the man or the woman can’t say specifically what it is about the other person that makes them not want to spend time with them.   There will be no answers or closure, so one must just go on.

    I know for sure there are men that I didn’t go out with again that thought the same thing as you Mike.   One I can think of from late summer–nice guy, great job, active and had a lot to offer.   There was something he said (grammar) that just made me think, “I am not going to correct him on what he just said, but neither can I hang out with him and hear him say that without saying anything.”   He also had a teenage boy that sounded challenging, something I wouldn’t want to get involved in (I have teenage kids).  

    These things may seem small, however, I am not in the ‘any man will do’ mode, I want to be happy and I want to accept him for exactly who he is.   Plus, I have a full life and don’t have a problem being single.   So like Jadafisk said, why put the guy through the dates if I knew I didn’t put the effort in myself.

    Hopefully that gives just an idea of what goes on in someone’s head.   I am positive things like this go through a man’s head as well as things are coming up on a date.   (Like when, on the first date, she scolds him for something he just ordered, that’s a good example!)

    #36 Jadafisk

    if men were much less likely to  attempt to  escalate physically on the third.

    I enjoy a man who is sexually confident and ‘spicey’.   I like to know that he’s sexually attracted to me and not afraid to tell me.   It makes me feel powerful as a woman–not that I’m going to use that power manipulatively in any way,  I  feel very feminine when that happens.   (I haven’t been with a man that is crude or immature about letting me know.)   What I have found when it doesn’t happen, even when I know the man is attracted to me but he’s not communicative about it, I lose interest.   What it comes down to,  in my mind, is the man is supposed to initiate the sexual interaction, the woman can always say no.   (Obviously this doesn’t apply in a long term relationship :).

    Keep in mind too, biologically, men are all about sex, they can’t help it, that’s the way men are made.    So  I don’t hold it against  them because ultimately I’m the one, as the woman, that decides if and when sex will take place.

  19. 40

    You answered my question Sayanta and I thank you, so yes, I will answer yours…
    Yes, I have not called a girl for a second date. And the first date went well. What happened then? She was was nice enough to join me for an evening, and as it’s my life too, I like to make the most of the present moment and have both of us have fun. I’m also feeling a couple sparks of attraction here and there, but that doesn’t mean I’m truly feeling it beyond friends, or even that I could ever imagine being truly into her. I can appreciate and enjoy who someone is, without feeling that she is the one for me.
    If I’m really into you, I’m actually tightening up somewhat. Maybe it’s even cute… 😉
    Did I answer your question?

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