6 questions to ask yourself after a date

Apr 10, 2024
mature couple on date

If you’ve been following Dating Evolved for any length of time you’ll know that I advocate a “slow burn” approach to getting together with a guy.

I didn’t always think like this. Like many women I thought there had to be “chemistry” at the beginning to make a man worth pursuing. If I didn’t fancy a guy right away I didn’t see any point in getting to know him better.

And where did this lead me?

Into the arms/beds of sexy guys, who were perhaps charming, charismatic, a bit edgy and challenging, and good looking obviously. But as you’ve probably experienced yourself, these kinds of men tended also to be unreliable, narcissistic, avoidant, or just not that nice.

So this led to very unhappy relationships. Or it led nowhere.

Enter the “evolved” way of meeting men…

Once I came to understand, via my research background, the trade-offs that happen in men’s personalities and how to identify guys that I could be happy with in the long term, I understood that I’d need to take a very different approach – one that involved getting to know a guy for a while before deciding yay or nay.

So… I first met Rob at a singles event in a bar in Edinburgh. We got talking and I discovered a fun, friendly guy – gentle but strong. I wouldn’t say there was a massive spark, but I liked him, so I told him about some classes I was running and he decided to come along to them.

Because he was coming to the sessions straight from work, he’d arrive a bit early and that gave us a chance to chat before the class. We got to know each other a bit over the next few weeks, but it was when I heard him sing in a pub session that my interest really got sparked.

We started seeing each other soon after that, but I was still far from “sure” that he was for me in the long term. We got together just once or twice a week at the beginning, but then over the months my feelings grew as well as my physical desire for him.

According to research by Kevin Kniffin and David Sloan-Wilson, this isn’t unusual. Their studies suggest that if we like a person and spend time with them, our physical attraction to them increases over time.

So my feelings for Rob got stronger and developed into something far more powerful than those feelings of instant infatuation I’d felt for guys in the past. Rob is the love of my life, and I’m so glad I learned to give things time.

But how do we know whether to give it time?

This “slow burn” approach has worked really well for me, and for many of my clients, and has led to lots of lovely relationships. I’m not suggesting that you’re absolutely not going to have a great relationship if you feel an instant desire for a man. Of course this can happen. But it’s important to give things time so you know whether he has the qualities and personality to make you happy in the longer term. And it’s important to realise that if you don’t feel overwhelming sexual attraction from the first meeting – it may well still be worth giving the guy a chance to grow on you.

But of course, I’m often asked:

“Well, how long do I give it? How do I know whether to keep seeing a guy?”

There’s no definitive answer to this. Relationships develop at different rates for different pairs of people. But there are some things that are well worth considering after you’ve spent time with a guy to give you an idea of whether or not he’s worth pursuing.

So I’ve compiled 6 questions to ask yourself after you’ve been on a date with a guy, the answers to which will give you a good idea of whether you should repeat the performance:

1. Do I like who I was when I was with him?

Do you like the person you are when you're with your guy? Does he bring out the best in you?

I know in the past I've had a relationship where the guy showed me no respect and constantly flirted with other women. I ended up being anxious and jealous and just not the sort of person I wanted to be. Now with Rob, I feel secure, trusting, open, brave and adventurous – someone I like a lot more!

It's so important to find someone you can be the best version of yourself with. It's not just about liking him - it's about liking YOU.

If a man makes you feel bad about yourself this is a big red flag and I’d suggest steering well clear. But if he makes you feel good about yourself and like who you are with him, I reckon it sounds promising.

2. Did I feel relaxed with him?

Do you feel secure and have agency around him, or does his sarcastic humour, or “negging” put you on edge? It’s worth thinking about since this will be a good indicator of how you’re going to feel further down the line.

If he’s super-attentive and he’s doing and saying all the right things but something is making you feel uneasy, you may be unconsciously picking up on undesirable “Dark Triad” traits. Listen to these feelings of uneasiness and give the guy a wide berth.

If, on the other hand, you’re not sure you could fancy this guy but you do like him – he makes you laugh and you feel very comfortable with him – isn’t it worth giving him a chance to grow on you?

3. Did I feel heard by him?

A common complaint from women is that men on dates talk incessantly about themselves and rarely ask questions. A lot of guys do this, and in many cases it’s an attempt to impress you and often it’s a cover for nervousness. Sometimes you might have to make clear that it’s time for you to get a word in edgeways – in a light-hearted way. But if they don’t respond to that, if they don’t listen and actually hear what you have to say, then maybe they’re not focussed on a relationship with you specifically.

While you might be super-attracted to the guy and feel bowled over by his charm and charisma, if he doesn’t seem to be interested in your opinions or needs, it’s not going to be a happy outcome. But if he properly listens to you and shows real interest then he could be a keeper.

4. Did he make a real effort for me?

Did he organise the date with you in advance so you knew what was happening? Did he make an effort to arrange something he knew you’d like?

It’s important to look out for someone with a high “welfare trade-off ratio” – that is, someone who’s prepared to put himself out for you. A man who has a welfare trade-off ratio skewed towards your welfare, he’d literally give you the coat off his back to keep you warm in a blizzard. He’d put your needs first in any situation. You want a man like this!

5. Am I curious to know more about him?

Maybe there isn’t a massive spark right away but are you at least interested to find out more, to listen to more of their stories, find out more about their life – even as a friend? If so, that’s a good basis for starting the slow burn.

6. Is my liking for him increasing as I get to know him?

It can take a while – weeks or even months for desire to properly develop – as I found with my man, but if the ‘liking’ is going in the right direction over time then it would seem well worth sticking in there and seeing how things go.

Dating intentionally and consciously is what we’re about here at Dating Evolved, and if you’re aware that you’re going to be answering these questions after your date, you’ll train yourself to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings while you’re with him.

Get into the habit of asking yourself these questions and jotting down answers each time and you’ll get clear on the qualities in a man that are important to you. It’ll help you make objective decisions to steer you towards future happiness.

Good luck, and let me know how you get on!

And if you can think of any other questions you feel you should ask yourself after a date, do share your thoughts in the comments :)

Mairi Macleod PhD