The Most Important Question to Ask on a First Date

First dates can be pretty daunting experiences, but they can be downright annoying or painful if both parties are not on the same page from the beginning. Being 'on the same page' means wanting the same type of relationship that the other wants. And research shows that many singles start and continue with relationships without ever getting clear on this issue from the beginning?.often with heart-breaking consequences.

How many singles have dated someone for months - even years - without realising that they have different relationship goals. One of my clients dated a lovely man for over 6 months only to realise he was still living in the same house with his 'ex-partner'. "But we have separate bedrooms!" he said in righteous justification. Another male client was 'going steady with' a woman who he kept wanting to propose to, but every time he asked to meet her friends or family or do something more than say home and have pizza and sex, his date got edgy and they ended up staying home and having more pizza and sex. Eventually he realised she enjoyed his company but had no interest in going further?but had 'forgotten' to mention this to him. And my favourite example is from couples who decide to move in together and one partner says, "Let's just see how it goes", and the other thinks it's a definite precursor to marriage.

All these examples are people who are not on the same page, who have not discussed clearly enough 'what they are up to' in the relationship game.

There are 6 Types of 'lover' relationships

1. Marriage

2. De-facto

3. Let's see how we go (live together, but not necessarily committed)

4. HugBuddy (non-committed, respectful, sensual, non-sex partner )

5. BonkBuddy (non-committed, respectful sex partner)

6. One night stand (wow, yes! a one-night stand is a form of relationship!)

Each type of relationship requires the same amount of honesty, clarity and respect (yes, even the one-night stand!). So what type do YOU want?and are you willing to talk clearly and honestly about that to your first-time date???

KNOW YOURSELF FIRST

Before you go questioning a potential date about the type of relationship they want, it could be useful to start with some clarity about yourself?

1. What sort of relationship do you want

2. What sort of relationship are you capable of having/doing?

It can often be best to start with the second question - what sort of relationship am I actually capable of?? It's important to know the difference between wanting something and being capable of doing it. For example, you may have just come out of a relationship and know you're not fully emotionally clear of it, but decide you want some companiable sex with an old lover/friend. You go ahead and have sex a few times, but then start getting keen on him, and then jealous and angry when he tells you he is going out with other women (even tho you previously agreed that either of you could do that). So even though you thought you wanted a BonkBuddy relationship, you're not actually capable of having one. (By the way, if you're curious about the idea of HugBuddies and Bonkbuddies, read 'Succulent Relationships for Singles" by yours truly)

Or perhaps you want a committed relationship, but you don't have a job, in fact you haven't had one for over 2 years and you're deeply in debt, but you'd really like a lovely relationship to keep you warm at night.

These people want a certain form of a relationship (i.e. BonkBuddy or Committed) but they are not capable (as yet) of sustaining that particular form of relating.

Here are some factors that get in the road of being able to start or sustain a committed relationship.

o Not complete from previous relationships - emotionally, financially, physically

o Not financially self-sustaining.

o Living with parents - especially if you're over 25ish

o Going thru a big change in life - i.e. solar return, work change

o Depression or other debilitating mental states

o Poor communication skills

o Poor understanding of what love and relationships require.

So let's say, none of the above factors apply to you?.you know what you want?.and are ready and available for a committed relationship. You're not desperate, you just prefer some deep relating in your life. And you've decided that you only want to go out with people who are on the same page as you. Why? Because life is too short and beautiful and precious to waste with people who don't want the same things as you.

You put your profile up on a dating site (AwareConnections.com is a great one for people who want to be a bit more conscious in their relationships.) In the body of your profile, you state clearly that you're looking for a committed relationship. Sure, you're going to turn off a few people, but since you're turning off people you don't want, it's a bit of a plus really.

At some stage early in the proceedings on a first phone call or first date, it is essential to pop the big question nonchalantly into the conversation. Just be laid-back and not treat the whole thing like the Inquisition - men, especially, hate being 'inquisitioned'.

"Tell me about the sort of relationship you are looking for at the moment?" (Oh mi gawd, how can I ask that? they'll think I want to get married on the first date!!!)

If they get edgy, just explain, that despite the fact of their incredible good looks, sexy body, rolex watch and bursting bank account, you don't want to get married to them yet, you just want to know if they are into the idea, in general i.e. would they be into a committed relationship if they met someone with all the boxes ticked?

Then, if they actually say they are keen to have a committed relationship with the right person, ask ?

"WHY would you want committed relationship? What's the purpose of a committed relationship for you"

As a coach, I'm not often a fan of 'Why?.?" questions, but in this situation it can be really useful for 2 reasons. Firstly, it can be a great way of deciding if your potential partner is just saying stuff that sounds good (i.e. lying, so they can get to look like a nice, decent person who only wants nice, decent committed relationships when in fact, they just want another date, or get you into bed)?.and secondly, 'why' questions usually get people to go inside and search deeper to bring out what is important to them. It can be extremely interesting to find out what they mean by 'commitment' and whether their meaning jells with your meaning.

By the way, what do YOU mean by "commitment?? Commitment is known as a 'fluff' word?.as in, it means many things to many people. I had a friend who married a guy because he was into commitment ( and a few other things :) Trouble is, they didn't discuss to see if they shared the same meanings. She used to come home from work in the beginning of their life together and find him on the phone with his back to her, talking animatedly to old girlfriends. Even though he said he wasn't sleeping with any of them, and she believed him, his behaviour just didn't feel like 'commitment' to her.

So when your date answers, listen carefully to see whether your meanings and needs and theirs match up. If they just want some companionship or sex, it doesn't matter how spunky and wonderful they are, it would just be a waste of time continuing going out with them. Beware of the 'they'll change, once they get to know me' story. If you want a 'deeply intimate, spiritual, tantric' type of commitment, and she wants a 'nice comfy, lets-not-rock-the boat, you do your thing, I'll do mine' sort of relationship?it's best to move on while the going's good.

Remember, Clarity is Power and dating can be fun and successful as long as you take responsibility for finding out all the information you need.

Frances Amaroux is the director of Australia's first holistic internet meeting place - AwareConnections.com - launched in August 2004. The major aim of the site is to connect like-minded people (Cultural Creatives) together and provide a wealth of information and education to support people in having more conscious and sustainable relationships.

She is also the resident 'LoveCoach' on the site - with 15 years experience as a relationships educator and Counsellor/Coach. She has facilitated 1000s of individuals and groups - including "Unleash the Flirt Within!... how to become more playful, succulent, and irresistible." .

She has also co-facilitated a series of forums called "She says /He says - Peace talks for the battle between the sexes" and is writing a book called, Succulent Relationships for Singles - HugBuddies and BonkBuddies.

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