09/04/2013 08:09 am ET Updated Nov 04, 2013

Who Gets A Second Shot?

Boomers, and particularly those recently out of long-term relationships, frequently find it puzzling to decide whether or not a second date is warranted. A common response from the question, "Are you going out with him or her again?" is typically, "I don't know, I just can't decide." A dating dry spell can contribute to creating fantasies around a first date based on little information and a lot of hope, and those fantasies may also be fueled by an overwhelming desire to be in a relationship. Every boomer dates to meet someone special, but a lack of criteria can make the process more harrowing than necessary. A second date depends at least in part on quantifiable factors. Your time is valuable, so how can you decide who gets a second shot without inadvertently eliminating someone worthwhile?

While physical chemistry is a factor in determining second date potential, there's equally important non-sexual chemistry between men and women in relationships. Most of us are at least a little nervous when meeting a first date, but nervousness aside, what's important is whether or not you felt comfortable with your date. Did you feel a familiar resonance with your date, or did your date seem like he or she was from another planet in terms of not sharing any of your core values and beliefs?

Did your date seem like he or she had friendship potential? Never discount friendship because it's a major factor in every successful relationship. A date that is uncomfortable around the notion of friendship in a relationship is a red flag, because friendship is all about trust. A date that's lacking friendship potential may have trust issues, or equally problematic, may buy into the myth that men and women in a relationship can't be friends. I've had half a dozen best men friends for decades, but my partner is also a best friend, which means that I trust her implicitly. And, like my best men friends, her advice is always meant for my benefit, and not necessarily hers. The foundation we are building our relationship on is equal parts friendship and physical chemistry.

Did your date show real interest in you and your life? Did he or she ask you a lot of questions? A frequent complaint from men and women is a first date that didn't stop talking about his or her life and never asked any questions about theirs. This is also a red flag because it suggests a self-involved person, and self-involved people don't make good partners, for obvious reasons. A second date will only confirm this so don't waste your time.

Did you and your date connect as peers? Did he or she seem equally intelligent, capable, and worldly? Did your achievements and goals dovetail? A one-sided relationship gets old fast, particularly when one person is living a full, rich life, and the other isn't. Remember that opposites attract is the failed dating philosophy of the clueless that no relationship expert supports. Your peer has the best partner potential.

And at the top of the list of criteria, physical, sexual chemistry is vital, although I'm not suggesting second date sex. In fact, I advocate for boomers to refrain from being sexual until both feel confident a relationship is viable. This helps avoid the bad feelings that accompany rocket ride, failed relationships that became sexual too quickly. But a satisfying relationship embodies a powerful physical chemistry that's typically obvious on a first date. If that physical, chemical attraction isn't strong initially it's unlikely to become so later. This isn't just my truth, but that of thousands of men and women that have commented on my articles over they years. Don't sell the importance of physical chemistry short, and don't believe it will develop to an acceptable level if you don't feel it from the start. It's too important to naively hope for the best.

Lastly, when your first date was over, did you look forward to a second?

Of course there are other factors involved in determining a first date's second date potential, and I'd be interested in hearing yours.

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