Question: “Being in my early 40’s, successful, not sure I’m going to have kids and single, I’m finding the qualities I seek in a man have shifted from those I sought in my 20’s and 30’s. I’m meeting some great guys, mostly online. They have their stuff together; they’re successful, maybe have kids and possess a lot of what I look for in a partner (fantastic on paper)…but, there’s no chemistry, no romantic connection and no physical interest.  As much as I try to be open, I know a second date won’t stir that spark. If he asks me out again after that first date, what do I say and how do I be honest without hurting his feelings?”

Sherri’s Response: I admire you for not taking the mean girl route out of this dilemma. The good news is that it’s easy to let a guy down after just one date respectfully, but the key is that you must be direct from the outset. Since you are meeting most of these men online, you can simply extend a “nice to have met you” message and wish them the best of luck with their search. This can be done at the scene, via email or by phone depending on the circumstances, and always gets the point across politely as long as you avoid text messaging. If things get uncomfortable, as they sometimes do, avoid taking the blame. Saying things such as, “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m just in a really bad point in my life right now” only keeps the door open for persistent suitors who will say they want to “fix” you or the disgruntled ones who may in turn trash talk you. Instead, you should be friendly and firm in letting them know it’s a not a love match.

It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to know exactly what you want out of life and in a man, but after careful review, I think it may be working to your detriment. Yes there are times, for reasons even we do not know ourselves, when a person just “doesn’t do it” for us. But, often those knee-jerk reactions of disappointment or lack of inspiration that we get on first dates are just as impulsive, irrational and embedded into our subconscious as the electric connections that can ignite passion.  Sometimes, a second date suddenly inspires, and sometimes that early passion is short-lived.  The point is that while we should all believe in love at first “site;” love finds many, and in often unexpected avenues in which to blossom.

One of the problems with Internet dating sites is that they churn out matches at a high-speed and high volume, making it easier than ever before to forego second chances. In order to perpetuate stay-appeal, you may just need to see a person in his/her element for more than just a quick cup of coffee. In fact, studies prove that people who see each other consistently “grow on” each other, which is why romances often unfold in the workplace and turn into successful long-term relationships over time.

For years, Cindy Hazan, an associate professor of human development at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has been looking into why people pair up. Her research has proven that humans connect to people who are nearby and familiar to them. This is precisely the reason why the same tech geek you turned down initially may turn you on over time if you saw him in a different element, like industry events, the local bar or on a regular basis in spin class.

When you have repeated contact with someone, the potential for attraction to them increases, which cannot happen if you dismiss the perfectly good-on-paper-guy before date number two. Now this may not be the words of wisdom you were looking for, but I know from firsthand experience that it’s worth a second try.

This latest question came to me from a JDate subscriber, and now you can do the same. Just send me a note at and I promise to do my best to give you a helpful answer. is a lifestyle destination where singles get advice, discounts and connect with other singles, and share their inspiring personal success stories. To read more articles about the single lifestyle, click here!
  1. That’s a great answer Sherri. I just wish that more women followed your advice because I have found it to be just about impossible to get a second date on JDate. I have been given good vibes by the women, in that they have verbally told me yes they would like to see me again after the first date, but change their mind when it comes to arranging a second date.

  2. I have been on JD about a month and very recently became separated. I have been asked out about 20 times but have not accepted any dates. Maybe I am nervous suddenly being single or is it something deeper?
    I looked over my emails which average 40 a day and often 5 are from one person. In fact most of my emails are from the same men who I never gave any signal I was interested in. Has online dating become a stalk-fest? I would never meet some of these men who are excessively writing to me. Forget a second date since there will never be a first. I an giving JD a chance and maybe i will be lucky enough to accept a date with a person who is like me.

  3. Nothing personal Cheryl but unfortunately there are many women like you on JDate. I have emailed more than 20 different attractive women once about their profile, maintaining a friendly manner. The age difference isn’t all that great. I am nice looking. However, I don’t get any replies. I am sure their reasons are different to yours, maybe a few of theirs could be your reason. It is extremely frustrating to not get a reply to either a flirt, ecard or thank you. Why doesn’t JDate have a standard rejection reply that someone can click onto like I’m not interested due to eg nothing in common or not interested but wish you luck in your search. This would mean guys would no longer waste their time on a particular lady.

  4. Cheryl, JDate hasn’t bcome a stalk-fest. More than likely it has become a rejecting guys fest!

  5. Cheryl you are far too picky! I know of plenty of successful marriages where the guy’s personality is different to the lady’s. Ever heard of the saying opposites attract! Come on, give guys a go! You must very attractive if you keep getting heaps of emails from guys of a vastly different age group.

  6. Andrew: Cheryl didn’t mention anything about age. 🙂

    Jeremy: “The age difference isn’t all that great”? How about emailing women where the age difference is zero or, shockingly, in the opposite direction? 🙂

    I wonder who is being picky! LOL

    P.S: Opposites never attract in the long term. It’s called homophily.

  7. To Cheryl: It’s a common symptom that when you enroll, you get mails like crazy, but as someone who’s been here for like 2 years, I can tell u it’s not always so, regardless of how foxy you are. You should really focous on the profiles, and screen them carefully too. It’s a period of membership u should savor, and from so many mails, there has to be one you’d like enough to check out.

  8. This is OUTSTANDING advice. Both my wife and my second love did not find me a “chemisty churner” or see any fireworks. What they saw was an attractive man who listened and was intresting when he spoke and smiled a lot. The first, my wife, became my great love for 30 years (widower). The other, was my partner for 6 years before life events tore us apart.
    When we did touch in a meaningful way and my passion exploded, the chemistry became a fire that endured many years. I should mention that men also can be too demanding even on a first date. That is as bad as superficial rejection. In both cases, a lady is left alone. You cannot control rude men, but this advice to give it at least 2-3 dates is a road to finding the right man. By the way, both of my ladies were extraordinary beauties, but they didn’t seem to know it. That was my chemistry…a rose who sees other flowers as equally beautiful.

  9. Cheryl,
    The second date factor works the other way too! I dated a woman for 9 wonderful months, but I was not sure after the first date. We ended up wanting different things, but I would not have missed it for the world. It was on date number two that I figured out we had a spark.

  10. Peggy I have emailed attractive women my age and attractive women up to 7 years older and they still don’t reply! The older ones don’t want younger guys and the ones my age are just as picky as the rest of them. By the way, Peggy, Cheryl did mention on another of these current JMag articles that she gets emails from guys aged 25 to 63!

  11. Jeremy…I have heard from many men that the women don’t respond to an email. I do have a word of advice for you. You mentioned specifically they don’t respond to flirts. I personally don’t either. If a man cannot write something in his own words, I don’t even open the email. I want a man who can think, who I know has read my profile and can make a comment on it in some way. Be creative and make a bit more of an effort and use a subject line that says more than “hi” or “good afternoon”. Just like any good ad you have to catch our eye and attention. As for Cheryl, she doesn’t seem realistic.

  12. Ter, thanks for the advice but I had already EMAILED at least 20 attractive ladies, without a response, with a hi in the subject matter and commenting about their profile after reading it. The flirts and ecards were sent years ago, the emails were done recently. Therefore I am completely at a loss as my profile photo is good too.

  13. Ter, what do you suggest I use in the subject matter instead of Hi or Good Afternoon? I really can’t think of anything that can be published on these comments! Your feedback would be greatly appreciated and I hope it can break my dating drought!

  14. I can see where you might be frustrated. I guess like anything else its just a numbers game. I believe it is so easy to hide behind the screen for both gendures. Somehow when that happens we think we can be rude and it goes un-noticed, which is obviously untrue from your comments and many other men I have heard from. I do personally respond to every email(not flirts) even if I am not interested, I say thanks for taking the time to send a note, but I don’t think we’d be a good match and best of luck in your search. Keep trying and keep things fresh, eventually a woman who is truly worth your time will respond.

  15. Sherri,

    I have been dating for 6 years and have always believed that meeting soon after a mutual exchange of emails is important. Talking to someone and meeting will immediately give you a good feel for who your date is. The profile is only a starting point. One must move quickly past it.

    After a first date and if there is some kind of interest, I often will go on a second date. However, if no spark exists after the second date for either I suggest the “next” factor which my sister laughs at, however agrees.

    I have gone out with some truly good women from Jdate and have several friends and relatives who met and married from Jdate.

    So good luck to all, however, meet and see if something is there.


  16. Don’t relationships take time.
    Is one face to face meeting enough to decide that a guy/gal is not worth seeing again ? I personally don’t think so.

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