There are probably several questions on your mind when you go out on a date. Do you look OK? Will your date be as cute in person? Who's paying for dinner? Should we kiss? These are all totally relatable and normal to think about, but there is an important question that trumps all the rest. It's the one question you should ask before you develop feelings for your date, so you won't get in too deep before you're clear on their intentions. Nothing sucks quite like developing feelings for someone and then realizing they're not interested in committing. So before you start getting butterflies, ask, "What are you looking for?"
Falling for someone who doesn't want the same things as you can be rough, why is why a relationship expert recommends asking them what they're looking for before falling too hard. And although it's a pretty simple question, it can be scary to ask. "If you are looking for a serious relationship, this question should be asked on the first date," Anita Chlipala, dating and relationships expert, tells Elite Daily. "People commonly believe that asking this question will 'scare' someone off." But the thing is, if you want a serious, committed relationship, then asking this question is necessary. You don't want to fall hard for someone who is just looking for a fling, right?
Try not to worry about "scaring off" your date by asking them what they're looking for. "If the question scares them, then they were probably emotionally unavailable or the timing wasn’t going to work anyway," Chlipala says. And she's right! If someone gets scared off at just the mention of a serious relationship, then they probably aren't the person you should be with anyways. At least, not right now.
Additionally, asking your date what they're looking for is a good opportunity to learn more about their future life goals. "You also want to make sure your goals align," Chlipala explains. "If you want marriage and your date doesn’t ever want to get married but does want a long-term committed relationship, you can decide more clearly if it’s a deal-breaker than when emotions are involved."
It isn't completely necessary to ask someone what they're looking for, but if you don't, Chlipala warns there may be consequences. "You may be forced to make a decision between your partner and your dream," she explains. "If you want marriage and your partner doesn’t, but you love them and don’t want to lose them, you may have to give up marriage and stay in a long-term relationship." Ask yourself if you're willing to compromise your dreams and desires to be with someone you love.
When you ask someone what they're looking for, you'll also figure out why they're even out on that date in the first place. "If you meet someone online, you want to determine why they are online," Chlipala says. "Some people are bored and want to fill their time, or they just got out of a serious relationship, and have no plans on dating anyone seriously. Others got burned in a divorce and swear off marriage, but are OK with a long-term relationship."
You deserve to be with someone who wants to same things as you. All relationships involve compromise, but you shouldn't have to give up your desire for a long-term relationship just because you like someone who doesn't want one. Ask away, and don't be afraid to ask on the first date. The worst thing that can happen is that you don't waste the next month on someone who you're not on the same page with. And since it's still early, ideally you're not emotionally invested at this point anyways. Ultimately, this just means less heartbreak, and more time spent on finding someone who does share your plans for the future.
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