This week’s question comes from Nancy:
“Hello Orna and Matthew,
Thank you for the opportunity to ask for help in my search for love. I really value your advice. I am going to meet someone for the first time and I need help.
Hopefully I have found the man of my dreams through a dating app. I want to meet him at a special place (this is a long distance meeting). I’ve never gone to them first and I don’t usually pursue, but I am feeling like I really want to this time. Is this ok?
I’m not worried about my safety (even though this will be our first meeting). I have two weeks to get my self-esteem together and do the right thing.
I’m so fearful about screwing this up.”
Thanks for reaching out to us and we’re here to make sure you feel empowered to get the most out of this situation.
When you meet someone for the first time after you have been communicating on the phone, video, and email for a while you can have a lot of expectations and hope about how things will go. It is easy to have heightened expectations about the two of you.
The anticipation of meeting for the first time has you worried that you could screw things up.
We want to point out something very important about dating online and communicating online or via video chat. Nothing is real until you meet in person.
What this means is that you don’t really know what it is going to feel like to be with him until you are in his physical presence. Everything you are feeling is a fantasy you’ve created in your mind. Our intention is not to be cruel or critical – just to point out what we know to be true.
When you meet someone for the first time you want to stay conscious of the fact that a lot of what you think is going on between the two of you has been happening only in your mind.
All of us fill in the blanks as we move through the world. This is escalated when there are a lot of unknowns and our mind fills in the blanks as a survival mechanism. Your desire for love, and your desire to finally meet the right guy, is clouding your vision. It’s time to take a step back and get a little perspective.
Your current situation is very common and we see it all the time. A client reads a dating profile of a man online and sees most of what she is looking for. The next thing we know she’s stopped responding to other men online because she’s already found “her guy” even though they haven’t even communicated online yet.
One of our male clients booked a week-long trip to London after communicating via Skype with a woman, only to discover as soon as they met for the first time that there was no spark of attraction. (Despite the fact that they had been having regular video dates for several months.)
Here Are 10 Tips To Set Yourself Up For Success When Meeting Someone For The First Time:
Have Him Come To You
Your instinct that traveling to him is also pursuing him is correct. You don’t want to step into the masculine role this early in the relationship. The best way to know a man’s intentions are to allow him to pursue you through the dating process.
If this relationship evolves into a committed relationship, over time the masculine and feminine roles become more fluid. Pursuing him and stepping into a more masculine role early in the dating process will only create confusion for you that is difficult to reverse.
A man who wants a committed relationship with you will pursue you for a committed relationship. He will be willing to travel to you, to wait for you and take things at your pace, and do what it takes to make you happy.
One of our clients lives in rural Pennsylvania and she was worried that she wouldn’t find any men to date that are geographically nearby. After a month of coaching with us she has men traveling 2-3 hours to meet her for a first date. You are worth traveling for. Don’t shortchange yourself.
Make The Trip As Short As Possible
When you meet someone for the first time you don’t want to book a three-day weekend only to discover within 5 minutes that you’re not compatible. Try to set up the first meet for as short a time as possible. If it goes well then it will leave both of you wanting more, which is a good thing.
One of our clients met a man who had traveled from out of town to meet her in the city. He planned to stay the whole weekend. Unfortunately, it became clear within the first hour that they were not a good match. After struggling to find common ground the first day, they agreed not to get together for the second.
Don’t set yourself up for a disappointment by anticipating a first in-person meeting to be something big and romantic. Keep it small. Give the two of you the opportunity to get to know each other in a more casual setting. You will have plenty of time to plan bigger trips with plenty of romance if everything goes well.
Have An Agreement About Physical Intimacy Before You Meet Someone For The First Time
This may seem like the least romantic part of our advice, but when you meet someone for the first time you don’t want any assumptions about what may or may not happen to create an awkward situation.
Know what it means to you when you choose to sleep with someone you are dating. Does it mean that you are in an exclusive relationship? Are you okay being casual about sex and not letting it create more expectations?
Have some ground rules for whether and when you feel comfortable sleeping with him. You don’t want to have a romantic dinner with a little too much wine and end up regretting the decision the next day. A man who wants a relationship with you will be willing to wait. The most important role of being in your feminine through the dating process is that you get to set the pace. Never abdicate your power by moving forward to physical intimacy before you’re 100% comfortable with it.
Have Him Book A Hotel, An Air BNB, Or Stay With A Friend
Never have him stay at your place. Simply too many scenarios where things could go wrong. When you meet someone for the first time having boundaries is a good thing.
It is not your job to make things easy or convenient for him. He is a grown man. He can solve his own problems about where to stay and how to get around.
If you want your man to have drive and ambition, then that is how you want to date. Date the way you want to mate and you’ll never find yourself wondering how you ended up with a guy that never takes the initiative.
Another important reason he should never stay at your place is so you have time alone to notice your feelings after the two of you part. This will give you huge insight that cannot be accomplished if he’s in the next room.
Let Him Choose What To Do
You may be the best tour guide for your hometown, but you don’t want to be the man in this situation. Let him decide what he would like to experience. You can certainly give him options to choose from, but ultimately it ought to be his decision where to take you. This way he can budget accordingly.
Yes, it’s the man’s role to pay for you even when he’s the one who has traveled to see you. We don’t want you to date like it’s 1956, however, a man who wants a relationship with you will know it is his responsibility to pick up the check.
If Things Don’t Go Smoothly; Don’t Try To Fix It For Him
It is not your responsibility to make every moment perfect or to ease his discomfort. Show up authentically and relax into your feminine. Leave space for awkward pauses and uncomfortable moments.
A man who wants a long-term committed relationship will want to be your hero. If you continue to rescue things when they get bumpy, you’ll never know if he will step up to fill those shoes. Plus, you’ll get a clearer picture of who he is when you leave the space for him to do all the DOING and you just simply respond.
Even if you feel uncomfortable resist the urge to make things better. Imagine that he is the comedian on stage and you’re in the audience. If you take this advice you will never again have to ask a man three months into dating, “Where is this going?”
Don’t Make Excuses For Him Or His Behavior
Talking on the phone or over video chat will not give you insight into who he really is. Being with him out in the world and seeing how he interacts with valets, waiters, or other service people will reveal more.
If his behavior towards you or anyone else is troubling to you, don’t make excuses for bad behavior. If you have concerns share how you feel. Take note of behaviors that could be part of a bigger pattern that may concern you.
When you meet someone for the first time the desire for it to be magical and romantic can cloud your judgment. It’s okay to be nervous, and to want things to go well. Take off your rose-colored glasses and see him for who he is, not who you want him to be.
Practice Being Present And Not Futurizing Your Relationship
Your question tells us that you are already projecting into the future about this guy. Get present to what is happening right now, not what may happen in the future. Beware of dressing him up in groom’s clothing and instead focus on right now and continue to meet and date other people.
Getting to know another person takes time so don’t rush through the process. Practice staying present to each moment. Notice when you are filling in the blanks or checking off boxes. Let go of any agenda and you’ll have a much better time. Relax and enjoy discovering who he is and know you’ll be okay no matter what comes next.
Stick To Your Plan
What if everything goes perfectly and the two of you really hit it off? Does that mean that he should extend his stay so the two of you can take things even further?
Resist the urge to change the plan because things are going well. If he really wants a relationship with you then there will be plenty of time for the two of you to take your relationship further.
Leaving him wanting more at the end of his visit is exactly how you want him to depart. Express gratitude for the time you’ve shared together and let him know you’re open to more.
When you meet someone for the first time the desire for it to be special should not get in the way of taking things slowly. It takes time to know who someone really is. By taking your time you allow the space for true intimacy to blossom.
A good man is not a unicorn, nor is this guy. Just because you have a great connection on video chat or on the phone does not mean that he is your guy. Release the pressure of needing him to be “The One!” Whatever happens when he visits, know that you are on your way to your beloved.
We encourage you to release your expectations and allow yourself to show up authentically. By practicing these tips you can allow yourself to discover who he is, and if there is a chance for the two of you without putting too much pressure on the first visit.
When you put your lovability in the hands of a stranger, you are giving your power and your worth away. Stay in your power by being clear on your boundaries and enforcing them while remaining cautiously optimistic.
When you meet someone for the first time after getting to know him virtually, you’ll want to feel confident about your ability to judge whether he is a match for you or not. Our complimentary eBook “Recognizing Mr. Right” gives you the roadmap to spot the right man for you. You can also download and listen to the audio version if you prefer.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.