The One Thing You Should Absolutely NOT Do When Dating

woman looking at her date, intently

Just because you get this blog emailed to you doesn’t mean you’re on my mailing list.

My mailing list is a completely separate newsletter with completely separate advice that goes out every Tuesday.

If you haven’t already registered for this free weekly advice, please click here:

Below is a copy of the newsletter that got emailed to thousands of women just this morning. I got a flurry of emails in response to it and would love to hear your feedback. This is long, so make sure you have 5 minutes to yourself. Ready?

Real only happens when it’s clear that a man is your committed boyfriend. Until then, it’s all speculation, hope, fantasy, desire, wishful thinking, and potential.

This email was called: The One Thing You Should Absolutely NOT Do When Dating

Have you ever had amazing chemistry with a guy?

Maybe you met in real life and flirted for two straight hours.

Maybe you’ve been emailing and talking on the phone every night for a week.

Maybe you had an effortless first date that lasted until 2am.

If you’ve been reading my newsletters long enough, you know that while such events are all encouraging, none of them qualify as “real”.

Real only happens when it’s clear that a man is your committed boyfriend.

Until then, it’s all speculation, hope, fantasy, desire, wishful thinking, and potential.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today.

What I’m writing about is what you make all of this dating stuff MEAN.

  • The guy who took your number and never called becomes the reason that you hate going to meet men out at parties and bars.
  • The guy who emailed and talked on the phone every night before fading into the distance becomes the reason that you give up on online dating.
  • The guy who took your breath away on date one and then bailed becomes the reason you are “taking a break” from dating.

See, you’re identifying each man as the problem here. But men aren’t the problem. After all, if 50% of all guys are going to disappoint, then this behavior is utterly predictable.

No, the problem is that you EXPECT anything different. As a result, you are continually derailed each time another guy fails to meet expectations.

Before you get angry at me, take a step back.

I am NOT forgiving men for being jerks.

I am NOT telling you to accept all their bad behavior.

I am NOT suggesting that you’re wrong to want guys to act with integrity.

All I AM saying is that based on your own experience, a high percentage of men disappoint.

Your solution is to understand that rejection and failure happens to EVERYONE. The people we like don’t like us. The people who like us, we don’t like.

Men should consider a new outlook as well.

After all, you ever have a good date with a guy but not feel strongly enough to see him again?

Too short, too fat, too old, too nice, too boring, not enough money, too many other dating options? There are literally dozens of legitimate reasons you could pass up a man.

So, if that’s the case, would you want each man to conclude that because of his rejection:

Women are fickle and shallow.
Women have no integrity.
Women give mixed signals.
Women don’t know what they want.
Women play games.
Women are trying to hurt men.
And, finally, “I should just give up on dating.”

A man could draw all those conclusions, but they would be patently false.

THIS is what I see over and over and over again

Your solution is not to change men.

Your solution is not to give up.

Your solution is to understand that rejection and failure happens to EVERYONE. The people we like don’t like us. The people who like us, we don’t like.

But if you stick around long enough, you can witness magic.

Just this morning, I got this email from a client.

Hi Evan!

I just had to give you this update . . . remember the phone session we had last month where we were looking at one of the guys who had written to me on Match. But then after exchanging several emails and a few phone conversations, he told me he was dating someone else and that he would call if things didn’t work out, and I was a bit upset by that. Well, 2 weeks or so after that conversation, he phoned me again, and told me that things didn’t work out with that other lady and asked me out. I agreed to a date (although I did kind of feel like an alternate, or runner up to his first choice). Nonetheless, we went out for drinks and dinner tonight.

Things seemed to go very well. Actually, for me there were fireworks (!) and we had a great evening. I rarely feel as comfortable on a first date as I did with him, like we really “clicked”. I know it’s too soon to say, since I know all too well that a great first date so often means not all that much.

So although we spent a long time getting to know one another and seemed to have mutual attraction, and rather powerful chemistry (ok, we kissed!), I will have to wait and see what happens next. But in this case, I would be REALLY surprised if we didn’t go out again. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks again for all of your help and good advice!


Ask yourself if you’d be as positive, patient, forgiving and confident as she was.

What I love about this email is how it illustrates Lorraine’s growth as a single woman in the dating world.

She didn’t get derailed when the guy disappeared the first time. She didn’t take down her profile. She didn’t give up on She didn’t blame him for courting another woman. She gave him a second chance. She kept her expectations for the date modest. She doesn’t assume that they’re “together” because they kissed. And she has a really great chance of going on a second date with a man about whom she’s quite excited.

Ask yourself if you’d react the exact same way that Lorraine did.

Ask yourself if you’d be as positive, patient, forgiving and confident as she was.

If not — and if you’d like to approach dating like Lorraine, you can reach me here.

Have an amazing day.

Warmest wishes and much love,


His biggest crime, apparently, was that he met another woman first and was honest enough to — gasp! — tell Lorraine the truth about why he couldn’t pursue her right now. Where I’m from, that’s called integrity.

P.S. While it sometimes takes a long time, here’s someone who instantly got lucky after using my e-Cyrano profile writing service:

I have found someone wonderful. We met on RebublicanPeopleMeet. He is in advertising, lives in Santa Barbara. He said it was my story about going to Dodger Stadium w/my Dad and seeing Sandy Koufax pitch a perfect game. He’s not into sports at all, it was that he liked THE STORY. I have you to thank for that, I would never have thought about that had I not listened to your advice.

Best regards,

Not surprisingly, I had a flurry of emails off of this email, including these three:

Like this one a lot.   Particularly timely given that dude that I had such a fun time with and am annoyingly so attracted to has yet to call again.   I’m still hormonal, cranky, and butt hurt about it, but I know that in time, I will return to a place more peaceful and will agree with everything that you’ve written below. -Amy

Your latest Newsletter was frickin BRILLIANT!!!!   I’m bookmarking it. -Melissa

How can you trust or respect the guy who was already dating another gal while corresponding with Lorraine? To top it all off, he said he would call Lorraine if things didn’t work out! How much time and effort did he really give his current relationship? Was it fair to that lady? And who in the world wants to be his sloppy second? I find this man incredibly shallow and disrespectful. Where is his integrity? Will he also do this to Lorraine (have a gal on the sidelines so to speak) in case Lorraine doesn’t work out to HIS expectations? Actions speak louder than words. With the comment he made “if things don’t work out, I will call you” would have most women thinking what a jerk! Conveniently, Lorraine was available-wonder how much respect for her is going on? Being a little hard to get certainly couldn’t hurt – instead, Lorraine appeared desperate? Was this guy leading her on and then dropped the bombshell that he was dating someone? Doesn’t sound like a very secure guy! -Kristy

As you know, reasonable people can agree to disagree.

But what Kristy fails to realize is that, if she were Lorraine, her pride would have prevented her from going on a lovely date with a man who did absolutely NOTHING wrong. His biggest crime, apparently, was that he met another woman first and was honest enough to – gasp! – tell Lorraine the truth about why he couldn’t pursue her right now. Where I’m from, that’s called integrity.

Yet Kristy views this through a prism of her own pain and mistrust. She forgets that EVERYONE online is dating someone else.

You can overrreact to each seemingly personal slight, or you can deal with it in a graceful and detached manner like Lorraine.

I know where I stand.

What about you? Would you rather be “right” like Kristy or would you rather “get what you want” like Lorraine?

Join our conversation (194 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    I couldn’t disagree with Kristy more as far as her logic for not giving the guy Lorraine went on a date with a 2nd chance.
    I currently have 4 or 5 “backups” because I’m focusing most of my attention on one guy at the moment. I’ve told a couple prospects the honest truth of what my delay has been in scheduling a date, and they all take it in stride asking me to contact them if and when the guy I’m focusing on doesen’t work out. Why is it that men take this stuff objectively but often women tend to get “offended” at the same information?
    The only thing that guy is guilty of is being HONEST. If he had made up a lie and said “I can’t see you right now because I’m taking care of my sick mother”… he’d be a saint, but instead he chose to be honest. I think it shows a tremendous amount about his character that he’s focusing on one woman instead of trying to juggle 10… he’s giving her honesty on top of it. Why would we fault him for this?
    Waiting to see the outcome of a handful of dates with one guy or girl while still letting your “backups” know your interested, is not “sloppy seconds”; it’s common courtesy, respectful and being authentic.

    1. 1.1

      If I were in Lorraine’s position, I would probably have given the guy a second chance. 1) Sufficient compatibility and chemistry were already established 2) He was honest, yet respectful about his status and intentions, 3) He let her go instead of stringing her along, 4) He did come back!

      Now, if I messaged a guy and there’s no response and I know he read it – no second chances. It rarely happens that they’ll ever look you up again (happened once but statistically unlikely to go anywhere anyway). They ignored you because they too recognize you’re not the one for them and vice versa. They’re looking for someone different. Anyone who treated you poorly or was irresponsible towards your feelings should not get any second chances. There was not enough chemistry and interest, there isn’t sufficient basis for a relationship.

  2. 2

    Yes, it is a dent to the ego to hear that a guy does not have you as the sole object of his affections when you first meet/first make contact with each other online.
    But if you hardly know each other, how could you reasonably expect him to immediately discard his other female “friends”? Ditto it would be unreasonable of him to expect you to discard your male “friends” when you barely know him.

    The challenge here is to find a balance between being a convenient sloppy second (being content with being anyone & everyone’s 2nd or 3rd choice, regardless of how they treat you) and a prima-donna (insisting on being “the one and only” all the time from the get-go).
    And it is quite a challenge – in my experience anyway – especially when you’re female & north of 40 age-wise. Because there just aren’t as many single guys around as when you were 22, and it’s not as simple anymore (what with divorce, children, ex-wives etc. etc. – all that stuff they call “baggage”…). So – bluntly – you don’t have as many options…. but that doesn’t mean you drop all “standards” either.

    I’d rather have honesty from a man re: his intentions – whether there are other women in his life / he intends to continue keeping other women in his life. Then I know where I stand.

    1. 2.1

      Your right.. i broke off with a guy . I known for two years. How he left his former relatioships, i he doesnt want a commitment. He is seeing other women.   I just told him i cant do this any more it hurts. But i cannot live a lie, before i get in too deep. He has no discretion.   Some men sleep with anybody. Some men use discretion. He 65. Want to date all these women. I told him goodbye yes he treated   good. I hadvto put my foot down. He either does not know what he wants. I told him i am not the holla back girl. Or seconds.   So i went on dating site. Trying to meet other   men.   Plus this man is not streetwise. He allows women to take advantage of him. Financially.   Other   wise. Hes a freaking retired lawyer go figure. I cant grasp it.



  3. 3

    I think I’d be thrilled to know I stayed in the back of his mind long enough for him to get back to me even after having a potential bad dating experience. I don’t see why that’s a bad thing. I think even more so since he was honest about taking one date at a time. That’s a very respectable thing to do, and honestly, I think I would do the same thing if I was in his position.

  4. 4

    I’m in general agreement with this post. But I just wanted to say that you may want to double-check your mailing list, as I’ve gotten newsletters from you before (including after you redid your website, I believe) but I didn’t receive this one.Checked the spam folder and it wasn’t there either.

  5. 5

    Maybe it’s just my bad luck, but my personal experience has been that there are never any single guys around regardless of age.

  6. 6

    Plain and simple, I think Lorraine is a chump and she’s setting herself up to be played. Fine, he’s being honest, and he’s entitled to date other women. No problem there. But the whole “I’ll get back to you in case the person I really want doesn’t work out for me” thing really sticks in my throat. If someone said something like that to me I would have slammed the phone down before he could even finish the sentence. As another poster stated, he knows Lorraine is hot for him so he’s the one with all the power and control. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t proceed to jerk her around like a trained monkey. I hope I’m wrong, truly I do, but . . .

    1. 6.1

      That make sense, I’m in the same situation right now one of the reasons why I am reading and hearing this and with that I agreed with your point totally. Because now I’m enlightened that why would I let someone do something like this for me in the first place I know my worth and I know I deserve someone better that will give his effort and such although I’m not being a “primadonna” it’s just that I don’t see any point sticking to a guy that would make me an option ONLY! although being honest for his part is just good but the moment he started dating you or seeing you he should have just made you his priority he should haven’t seen any other girls and just make you stand by like seriously (He’s a jerk and scum on that part) I’am well aware that people online meet a lot of people at the same time but in my opinion I would higly respect a guy who knows to prioritize one girl at a time… 🙂 Cheers!
        and Good luck to Ms. Lorraine… well everything is just a matter of choice.  

    2. 6.2

      1. OK he’s online looking for potential others while he’s dating someone else. Once someone is into this habit, he or she will have it for the rest of   their lives (it’s addictive and it shows a high amount of insecurity). While I understand their existential, sexual need to feel “safe” and “nourished” at all times.
      2.   The author of this blog wants to make us believe once you give up your pride it opens more opportunities for you to find love or a relationship. In some scenarios this may be true, in others may be a recipe for disaster teaching you you should have taken care of your dignity no matter what. So I both agree and disagree with this part, and would advise readers not to digest it as some hard science like this article is suggesting. Each story is unique and must be interpreted in a unique way.

      3. The girl has been out on just one date, so what’s the hype? First dates are often fantasy.

      4. In the comments section, I have found some contradictory statements such as “I am focused on one guy but have 4 or 5 as backups”. If you have these backups then you are NOT focused on just one guy. It’s oxymoron.

    3. 6.3
      April r

      But that isn’t what he said. You’re reading your own bias into it. He said he was currently pursuing another person. He was honest in saying if he wasn’t or if the current focus didn’t work out he’d like to pursue Lorriane. That’s pretty open, real, and upfront of him to not string multiple women along. Nothing he said indicated his pursuit was better than or more desirable than Lorriane, just happened to be going on before he met Lorriane.

    4. 6.4

      Your right.. i broke off with a guy . I known for two years. How he left his former relatioships, i he doesnt want a commitment. He is seeing other women.   I just told him i cant do this any more it hurts. But i cannot live a lie, before i get in too deep. He has no discretion.   Some men sleep with anybody. Some men use discretion. He 65. Want to date all these women. I told him goodbye yes he treated   good. I hadvto put my foot down. He either does not know what he wants. I told him i am not the holla back girl. Or seconds.   So i went on dating site. Trying to meet other   men.   Plus this man is not streetwise. He allows women to take advantage of him. Financially.   Other   wise. Hes a freaking retired lawyer go figure. I cant grasp it. Lorraine is a chump i would tell him to go to hell this is not Macy’s   you cant buy me and return me. After you worn me..


      Best to get out now!! Hes a wanna be. A loser   in my book.



    5. 6.5

      I’d be the same Jayne. I wouldn’t want to be made to feel like ‘sloppy seconds’. The type of guy that would say “I’ll get back to you if it doesn’t work out with my other dates” would seem like an egotistical jerk!

    6. 6.6

      I just did this to a woman.   I started seeing someone and then another contacted me.   I told her that I was getting to know someone and if it didn’t work out that I would contact her.   Things didn’t work out with the first person and now I’m happily seeing the 2nd one.   There was nothing personal about what I told her and I even apologized to her for it and she told me not to worry, that’s how it goes.   I thought it was pretty cool of her.   It’s not like I looked them both over and picked one over the other and then settled on the runner-up after the 1st place person didn’t work out.   Online dating is tough enough without letting a delicate ego get in the way.

      1. 6.6.1
        Emily, the original


        The order of things was different for your experience. You were already dating someone and another contacted you. It didn’t work out with the one you were ALREADY dating, so you contacted the other one.

        With the OP, she writes: But then after exchanging several emails and a few phone conversations, he told me he was dating someone else

        Why would it take several emails and a few phone conversations to tell her he was seeing someone else? Surely, he would have known that in their initial communication. It sounds like (though I’m not sure) he started corresponding with the other woman at the same time (or around the same time) of his initial communication with the OP. He chose to date the other woman first.


        1. ScottH

          maybe I didn’t explain it correctly but my experience was very similar to Lorraine’s.   The only difference is that we didn’t talk on the phone like she did.   We exchanged a few emails while I was seeing the first one.   I really like this 2nd one but it’s still very early.

        2. Emily, the original


          But why did he tell the OP about the other woman at all? He reconnected with the OP just 2 weeks later! Why did he chuck the OP for the other woman so early in the game? He had no idea if it would even go anywhere … and it didn’t. Why not just ask both the other woman and the OP out … and a few weeks into it determine which woman was a better fit … or maybe neither was, and move on. His announcement to the OP was premature and would have rubbed me the wrong way. I assume a man is dating other women. He doesn’t need to tell me unless he decides to get serious with one of them.

        3. danielle

          i agree with emily. why was ANYTHING necessary to say.   i mean did he become exclusive with this woman and then dump her in 2 weeks?! why did he have to mention anyone and why even reply to a message online if you are pursuing someone else and you are not interested in dating someone?? i would just not reply if i wasn’t looking!   it sounds like these men want to keep women on the back burner just in case and to me that is a turn off.   sounds weird as hell to me

      2. 6.6.2
        Emily, the original

        Also, we don’t know if he broke things off with the other woman or if she did. It puts a different spin on things if the other woman turned him down. Then the OP did kind of win by default.

    7. 6.7

      i agree with you jayne.   we would need to know how this relationship ended or progressed to really gauge this situation because from my view point, he’s arrogant as hell. no thanks.

  7. 7

    Seems obvious to me there is a huge difference between exchanging a few emails and phone calls with someone and dating them for months – a distinction Lorrain grasped, but Kristy apparantly doesn’t. The guy in question was completely honorable.

    Sloppy seconds? ?? How many times have you dated someone for a few weeks, couple months only to conclude they just aren’t for you? What is wrong with giving someone you “met” earlier a chance to get to know you if that were the case? I haven’t done internet dating, but I thought the presumption was anyone you met via that venue was dating others unless they said otherwise. And not to expect exclusivity from the start. Something to be aware of in offline dating as well.

    I’d say the one thing you should absolutely not do when dating is to assume your particular expectations are the same as someone elses without them being verbalized.

  8. 8
    Sam P.

    I’m with everyone else on the subject of giving someone a second chance who at one point had to put you on hold for another relationship. Sometimes you might meet a great person a week after another great person. If you have integrity, and you want to watch out for your own self-interest too in case the first relationship ends after a few weeks, you don’t date two people simultaneously. If you’ve said no to someone after a first date because you met somebody else that person is going to have a harder time forgiving you than if you put him or her on hold a few days before a date was supposed to take place. A rejection hurts worse after you’ve gotten dressed for, invested hope in, driven, and possibly paid for a first date than it hurts if it’s just phone correspondence that’s being suspended.

    I email multiple girls at a time, but only date one, so sometimes I have to suspend things. I don’t like doing it, but I think I’m doing the right thing for them, me, and the girl I actually am seeing.

  9. 9

    When you’re online dating, it’s always best to have a pair and a spare. I don’t know where I heard that line–it might have been here. But the point is that we all need two or three irons in the fire in case one doesn’t work out. And then if it doesn’t, the rejection doesn’t hurt so much knowing you have two other guys in the wings!
    Maybe people don’t like being thought of that way. But I once told a guy who emailed me that I was seeing someone, and if he didn’t mind, I would write to him if the other fella didn’t pan out. The other fella didn’t pan out, and guy #2 and I went out on two dates.
    He didn’t pan out either. But, it was good to know that option exists.
    Whenever I get rejected by someone I really like, I remind myself how nice it is to feel those sparkly feelings for someone else, even if they don’t return them. How often does that happen? Not often enough.

    1. 9.1

      What a very positive spin.   “Sparkly Feelings.”   Haha. Well done. 🙂

  10. 10

    =( Jayne. You sound like you’ve had some bad experiences, but you could just use your instinct after a first date to really determine if it was a bad idea. Why not? Give it a try. If he’s nice, great. If he’s what you said he could be, then let him go.

  11. 11

    Jayne- #6-

    You said it perfectly. I’m in total agreement…I’d rather be a nun than someone’s backup. (At this point, I’m closer to the first one anyway….LOL ).

    1. 11.1

      Theres not honey they are either dead. Druggies or viagra taking old farts. Really. Or gay . Im like jerry Seinfeld.. what is the deal?

  12. 12

    I think it’s important to delineate between whether or not the two of you have actually met in-person and gone out, and whether or not this has just been a phone/internet experience. If the latter, I definitely think it’s okay to be put on hold. Maybe I started corresponding with a guy earlier and so we went on a date earlier. Or the correspondence with both guys began around the same time but one guy asked me out sooner. If I was the type of person who only went out with 1 person at a time and asked to put the 2nd guy on hold, it had nothing to do with the 2nd person at all, and only timing. Now if you’ve actually been on a date with the person, you are clearly their second choice and timing didn’t have much to do with it. In this case I can understand why some people would rather not date the person again in the future.

  13. 13

    I agree w Jayne #6. Though it’s true, you meet someone like this and you don’t know each other and most people DO do this, there’s something to be said about being classy when handing the situation.

    Women like a guy who makes them feel special, especially at the beginning, as the man is the one who should be trying to impress the woman. Letting her know she’s on your B list won’t cut it.

    Besides, I don’t meet up w a guy and tell him how I’ve been dating numerous others from Match so let’s see how he stacks up – I concentrate on my time w him.

    Honesty schmonesty – this guy should have kept his mouth shut then asked her out when appropriate. And then said, “sorry I’ve been out of touch, was caught up w things but was wondering if you’d like to go out sometime”. Then, if things go well, tell her once they get to know each other.

  14. 14

    Even though that sentence “I’ll get back to you if things dont work out” does seem a bit disrespectful, i guess its only the way you say it makes it so. I have told men i cant date them because i am dating someone else. Only i don’t say i will get back to them. Its upto them if they are still available. (I guess saying i’ll get back to you if it does not work out seems like the guy does not expect you to be with anyone else.)
    But still there is nothing wrong with forgiving people and giving them a second chance. They might surprise you… Keeping grudges never gives good results. You are the only one who ends up hurt in the end with no real mistake of the other person if you think about it objectively.

  15. 15

    Dating is sort of like business, as illustrated by this email. Sometimes the timing isn’t right, but if you keep the connection alive and stay open minded the opportunity can happen later on with all the fireworks you want. Bravo to Lorraine for sticking with it.

  16. 16

    I personally think that Lorraine’s kind of desperate. Sadly, a lot of women in this country are, right now, because of the lack (whether it’s true or a result of the media circus is another topic) of eligible men. So, when people are desperate, they hold on to crumbs. And I think being someone’s backup is crumbs, regardless of whether you’ve met them, etc. And of course, the way the guy explained it to her was completely insulting, imho. If he’s talking to her like this now, what kind of stuff is he going to be saying if they get more deeply involved?

    I know everyone talks about compromise as a necessary part of dating, but there’s compromise, and there’s behavior that smacks of low self-worth (or fear that no other man is going to come along). I think this is more of the latter.

    1. 16.1

      So right!!

  17. 17

    @ Downtowngirl #13

    How should he have kept his mouth shut and asked her out when it was appropriate? They had exchanged a few emails and calls – should he have abrubtly ceased all contact with her without explanation when he decided to focus on someone else? Only to call her out of the blue for a date weeks later when he realized that relationship wasn’t going to work out?

    The disappearing, then reappearing act would have put me off much more than the honesty this guy showed. He DID ask her out when it was appropriate and I imagine he did so knowing that she might have found someone else herself during the interval they weren’t communication.

    Really what is to be pissed off about? They hadn’t even met in person yet for Pete’s sake.

  18. 18

    I think the people (including Lorraine) who are offended by the idea of being “sloppy seconds” need to get a grip. Should Evan’s wife be angry that she’s “sloppy 318th”? Solipsism much?
    Guess what, every time you meet someone new, both you and that other person have dated LOTS of other people. And since the whole point of online dating is to be able to meet a bunch of people at once so you can get through the numbers game faster, you can’t blame the guy for corresponding with – or even going out casually – with more than one person at once.
    It’s a little shocking to me that people are actually suggesting that he be disingenuous with her in order to protect her feelings. It seems to me that the guy did her a favor, both by being honest and by putting her in a situation that highlights her own self-centeredness, because if she doesn’t get over that she’s never going to be a great partner for anyone.

  19. 19

    @A-L #12- I agree with you.
    If Lorraine and the guy had already met and he decided to pick woman X over her, then clearly she came up a bit short in his eyes and it would be reasonable for her to feel slighted.
    But since they only had phone and email correspondance his decision to continue dating the woman he had already met, in order to see if it went anywhere, doesn’t seem strange to me at all. And Lorraine’s acceptance of a date with him after the fact doesn’t automatically make her desperate in my eyes.

  20. 20

    How do you know Lorraine wasn’t trolling for guys herself during the time in between the guy’s “you’re my backup” call and his “wanna go out” call? Would that be dishonest or desperate? I don’t think so.

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