How To Tell If They’re ‘The One’ From Date One

Wouldn’t it be great if your dates came with little warning stickers? Well, you’re in luck, because they actually do. You just need to know how to spot little clues that say: “I’m unavailable,” “This is only a romp,” and “I’ll probably spill red wine on your brand new duvet.”

So, if you’re tired of your online dates deliberately mislabeling the merchandise, then those pesky three little words:

“Wants marriage: Definitely.”

…are often being taken at face value. In fact, they can often make you feel totally misled. So, before you fall under the spell of your dates gorgeous blue eyes, you’ll want to make sure that they really meant what you read! That’s why it’s so important to know how to do a little romantic fact checking, before the check comes on date one!

The following technique will save you days, weeks, and possibly years of wasted time and romantic disappointment. I call it the “Heartache Prevention Question.”

Step One: Get clear about your own romantic goals. (Do you want marriage and family, or are you just up for some fun? And own it!)

Step Two: When you meet your date for a drink, ask them the Heartache Prevention Question, “So Clark, do you still believe in The Dream’? (If he asks what The Dream is, it’s whatever your romantic goals are!

Step Three: Smile!

Step Four: Pay close attention. Your date will start talking a blue streak, and you’ll want to listen carefully to their response. It’ll be like slipping them verbal truth serum, and they’ll easily give up highly sensitive emotional intel.

At this point, the inexperienced dater will ask me anxiously, “Won’t this just scare them away?” You’ll soon discover that it’s quite the opposite.  In truth, first dates are usually the only time that you can ask such a loaded question without it totally backfiring, because you can’t take this info personally…yet.

Now, for all of you women who’ve only been privy to this type of soul-bearing honesty from men during tearful breakups, I promise that you’ll be totally stunned. Bungling this opportunity usually only occurs when you ask men ‘what they’re looking for’, or give them a laundry list about what you want. This is a mistake, and will just put them on the defensive, or into serious performance mode.

But when you ask them what they ‘believe,’ and then cheerfully go on listening to them (Why not? It’s only your problem if you continue to date him!), he won’t feel pressured to modify his answers to fit your romantic agenda. And you will be rewarded with The Truth!

When you ask them the Heartache Prevention Question, men will share exactly what they believe about marriage, their financial stability, and if they’re adamantly opposed to the state of matrimony itself! They’ll even divulge the status of prior relationships that might impact your courtship, angry exes, and often (stupidly) confess about their current roster of out-of-town lovers as well.  I am so not kidding.

TIP: Listen very carefully about how they talk about their exes, and be on the lookout for any past ‘relationship theories’.  For example, they might tell you that “love doesn’t really exist,” Or, that all of their relationships “end up the same way…in court!” It’s what they believe to be true about relationships, and it isn’t going to change.  This is way more effective than calling the psychic network, because you’re getting a little preview about how he’ll probably be talking about you, right after you break up.

Most people simply repeat their mating patterns over and over again with somebody new, and that could mean you! Bad habits are hard to break, and often steer romantic relationships in the same direction…(south.)  This will be hard to reprogram without divine intervention— or intense therapy! Or a hard smack on the noggin.

For example, he might lean in and say: “I’d like to get married again someday. But right now, I’m just getting back out there.” (Code for: I’m just up for some fun! And if you want to get married anytime soon, you better RUN.)

Dating Like an International Spy

If you’ve followed my instructions, you might notice that your conversation has created a pleasant side effect. Your date will soon become surprisingly relaxed, and even ~gasp~ vulnerable.

Warning: Resist the urge to share your romantic war stories too, or the entire date will turn into one big therapy session. Instead, practice active listening, and just nod your head sympathetically, and say:


“Hmmm…I get it.”

“Wow, you must be really strong to have survived that.”

“That must have been soooo difficult.”

“You seem so well adjusted. Did you go to therapy for that?”

“Waiter, check please!”

 But, if you discover their romantic status checked out and was, in fact, correct, then you can happily bid him adieu…until date two!

Lauren Frances is an internationally acclaimed love and relationships expert, author and Hollywood’s go-to love coach and online dating expert. She’s been featured on Bravo, Extra and VH1, amongst many others, and her “Cyberflirt Podcast Programs” for online daters and “Romantic Reboot” tele-classes have been called “Pure gold.” Frances authored “Dating, Mating, and Manhandling,” now an international bestseller. Plus, her “Man Magnet Makeovers” and online programs have launched thousands of wonderful love stories around the globe.
  1. Please tell us about the ones who tell us everything they “think” we want to hear, all the while just scheming to get “cozy”, get what they want, and get out! I know they are out there, have met a few myself, luckily I caught on very quickly, before it was too late. But I have met women that have fallen for this very type and have been seriously hurt by them.
    Some tell-tale signs would be helpful for women that keep falling into the same trap everytime…

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