Picture this: You're on a date and (belatedly) realize you've somehow fallen down a conversational rabbit hole, during which you've spent at least 10 minutes talking about your recent breakup in all its deep, painful details. You look up at your date and notice they're just staring at you, eyes glazed over — or, even worse, darting toward the exit. Whoops. It's a common mistake, but one that Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League says should be avoided whenever possible, particularly on the first few dates. "Dates should be light, fun, and about the two of you — not about you and your ex. If you talk about your ex on a date, you’ll hurt your chances for a fun, romantic connection with the other person," he tells Elite Daily.
Listen, dating can be confusing, and it can sometimes feel like you have to play so many games. No one could blame you for wanting to just keep it real and put it all out there from the start. That kind of honesty is admirable. That being said, there's a time and place for everything. And the experts agree that a first date is neither the time nor the place to spill all the details of your most recent breakup. Here's why they advise holding off on talking about your most recent relationship on a first date.
It's A Huge Mood Killer.
Going into detail about how your most recent relationship ended is a very effective way to kill the vibe on a first date, Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily. “When you meet someone new, chances are they're single because of a relationship that didn't go the distance. When you bring up your ex and the breakup, it not only puts you in a sad state, but it sends a sign that you might not be over your ex,” she explains.
Eric Resnick, professional dating profile writer and online dating coach, agrees that when you discuss your breakup, it can easily give your date the wrong impression about your availability. “If you are over your ex, they should be the furthest thing from your mind when you are getting to know your next partner,” Resnick tells Elite Daily.
This can make it difficult for the relationship to move forward, particularly if your date is serious about meeting someone new because it may create the sense that they're just a rebound, says Spira. "No one wants to be a transition person, or be compared to your previous SO, if you find yourself suddenly going down that rabbit hole, or your date talks about their ex, try to change the conversation, and say, 'We all have exes, but I'm excited to learn about you.'"
Here's When It's Appropriate.
While talking about your most recent breakup should be avoided early on, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if your date directly asks you about your previous relationship. “If they ask you about it, you can discuss it briefly, but keep it short. No one asks that question wanting a response that sounds like a three-act Shakespearean tragedy,” Resnick advises.
It's also natural to gain a deeper understanding of each other's dating histories with time. In that case, Resnick says it’s fine to open up, so long as it's reciprocal. “Once you start to get to know someone and you begin to get invested in being with them, that's when it is OK to talk more about where you've both come from, relationship-wise," he explains. "With that said, you are looking for an exchange of stories at this point. Both of you should be sharing. If you find that you are the only one willing to speak, it's a good sign that you have either severely over-shared or the other person doesn't feel comfortable enough to talk to you about their history."
What To Consider If You Can't Stop Talking About Your Breakup.
Knowing that you shouldn't talk about your exes on dates is one thing, but it may be even more important to consider why you feel compelled to return to the subject, says Barrett. “It might mean you’re not over your ex. Perhaps your heart is still hurting, and you’re dating to try to distract yourself from being sad and missing that person,” he explains. Barrett says that if this is resonating with you, it might be smart to press pause on dating for a bit to give yourself some time to heal. “But keep being social,” he advises. “Instead of dating, meet up with good friends and family, or take up a new hobby, take a class. This helps you feel a social connection, which is very healthy, without ‘getting back out there’ on the dating scene too soon,” Barrett concludes.
Ultimately, avoiding the subject of your most recent breakup on a first date is probably the best course of action. But if you slip up, it's hardly the end of the world. No one is perfect at dating, so don't be too hard on yourself. Just try and do your best to honor your feelings and be present. If you need more time to get over your breakup, then take it. The most important takeaway is simply to do what feels right for you. But also, maybe save that ex talk for the fourth date.
Connell Barrett, Dating Transformation founder and dating coach with The League
Eric Resnick, professional dating profile writer and online dating coach
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships