Its like looking for the dating equivalent of the Holy Grail but does it exist?
What am I talking about? The elusive spark!!!! We all look for it in some form or another when meeting potential partners for the first time, some people absolutely insist on it being there whereas others are more patient and for them the spark is more of a slow burner than an instant inferno.
I think the “spark” we are looking for definitely changes over time, when you are in your teens you are generally fuelled by hormones and lust and what attracts you in the opposite sex is mainly visual, their looks, the way they dress etc. As you get older, what you want from a partner changes, from a short term thing to a longer term relationship to marriage and probably someone to have children with, as these changes occur then the spark you are looking for also changes from what they look like on the outside to considering what is on the inside, what makes the person you are talking to tick, do they make you laugh? Do they interest you? Or are they completely boring and you can feel yourself falling asleep as they drone on about their Stamp collection. Getting older still and their personality takes precedence to looks, although there still needs to be that initial visual attraction to hook you.
So why is it so important for that spark, and after talking to a few people why do women rely on it more than men? My male friends I have talked to about it don't seem to think the spark is the be all and end all of a first date, and if they get on with someone then a second date comes into play to make their mind up whereas the women I have talked to about it know within an hour of meeting someone whether there is a spark and if they are likely to see that person again. So its more of an immediate thing for women, which means, that us men have 60 mins max to impress a woman on the first date.
Can a possible relationship work without a spark? Well, obviously it would be a lot easier with that “something” that attracts you both to each other but even if its not there but you both like each other then that is something to build on. I think it would be churlish to hold out looking for something you might not find, you might not get the wow factor or butterflies in your stomach when you initially meet someone but by the end of the date they might have piqued your interest enough to want to see them again.
It is strange going back into the dating game after a number of years in a relationship, for a start the older you are, the pool of available partners is smaller, maybe you are more selective about what you are looking for, you may have certain standards looks-wise or personality-wise. No smokers, no people with children etc etc. Then its a case of weeding out the genuine people from the players. In my experience and from talking to others there are definitely both male and female players out there, by that I mean people who have no intention of a relationship but are possibly serial daters, happy to be wined and dined at the others expense and then not see them again but ove onto the next “victim”. Then there are those that just want to meet up for sex, a few drinks, maybe a meal and then back to the bedroom. Over time it definitely gets easier to weed out the ones who are looking for a relationship from those that aren't and notice the signs which indicate what they want.
Moving on, you have had a successful first date, you'd like to see them again, how long do you leave it before getting in contact, or even waiting to hear from them. There are no right and wrong answers but that period after the end of a first date till you hear from your date is always quite nerve racking, do you get the “thanks, but no thanks” text or do you get the “I'd love to see you again” text. I think what we all want at the end of the day is honesty, not to be fobbed off with some excuse, if they don't like you in that way then its better to be told that than to receive a cliché “It's not you, its me”, “I'm not ready for a relationship” or “Im sorry, im still in love with my ex”, all things which beg the question, why on earth go on dates if you still feel like that!!! But assuming you get the second date then its a case of making sure they know you are interested, the odd text or phone call here and there and then meeting up and hoping its the start of something new and long lasting. We have all been happy before and there is no reason why we can't be so in the future.
Be open and honest with yourself about what you want and what you are looking for and be honest and open with your dates as well, start as you mean to go on!