Rule of Three Dates vs Instant Spark - Which to Trust

February 3, 2017
▪ 4 mins read

Can you really make up your mind after just one date?

To find out the winner of Three Dates vs Instant Spark debate, I talked to my friend Pat. Having given herself a year (and not a day more) off dating to recover from a long term and sadly abusive relationship, Pat is now in the midst of a "be single, have fun" project and treats it with her typical hands-on attitude and entrepreneurial spirit. Pat has always believed that happiness levels are entirely the result of our own choices and I truly love her for it. She is a champion of the grabbing life by the balls approach and doesn’t allow others - or their inner critic - to spoil its pleasures for no reason. That's why I thoroughly enjoy her company.

Peter from Zurich

This time she was talking to me about her Swiss guy fling, one of many carefully vetted online dating results that seemed to be progressing well. I like to imagine him as Peter from Zurich (pronounced in a harsh, Germanic way of course ;). Divorced, with a 10 yo son (which she doesn't mind at all), a bit of a health freak (which she totally approves of), he’s creative and independent. Interesting dates, meaningful conversations, great sex, usually with healthy (of course) breakfast in bed included.  

A part of me is jealous of this girl who apparently has it all. Not only an awesome professional career, new house, lots of sporty hobbies and an unbeatable sense of adventure BUT also a brilliant dating life, almost as soon as she decides to go back on the market! 'How come when all of my other single friends moan about how lame guys on dating sites are, you seem to land the best lads right away?’ I couldn't help to ask.

Pat's wisdom

Pat patiently explains the details of her dating approach (more on this in another post). Importantly Pat outlines a rule she has of giving a guy more than one chance to spark her interest. She points out;

"You have to understand that unless a guy is a well-trained womaniser, it's unlikely he will make a fantastic impression right away.... The first date with Peter was far from exhilarating, but I could sense there was more to the guy than I picked up during our first face to face meeting. Plus, I always stick to three dates before I decide whether I want to continue seeing a guy. Unless he physically repels me."

My first serious boyfriend at high school quickly sprung to mind. Lu wasn't much to look at and was a bit chubby (interesting as since then I've always preferred skinny geek types). At first, I really enjoyed his company as a friend because he was so switched on, quite charismatic (which is possibly the strongest aphrodisiac for me) and liked getting involved in random creative projects. It never occurred to me though that our friendship could reach another level. Up until we got close enough intellectually and emotionally that the concept of "something more" started creeping in. Eventually, I found myself physically attracted to him too, classic friend-come-boyfriend story.

"It's ridiculous to assume that after 2h hours of a first date you will know for sure whether he is the one."

Instant Spark at 16 vs Three Dates at 26?

Pat's `Rule of Three Dates’ made me think that since all strong friendships are built over time, it's ridiculous to assume that after 2h hours of a first date you will know for sure whether he is the one. Particularly since a lot of decent guys out there may feel a little overwhelmed (having to stand up to the challenge of impressing the awesome woman that you are!) to show off their best side right at the start. Human beings - even guys ;) - are complex creatures and to give getting to know them justice you generally need to commit a little time.

"A day out hiking... as apposed to going for cocktails."

If like Pat you do decide to give a guy three chances before you make a call whether to continue seeing him, it makes good sense to arrange those dates in a variety of different environments so you get the best chance of getting to know different sides of him. A day out hiking, as opposed to seeing a theatre play together or going for cocktails, will give you different perspectives on what kind of person he is. It's also a good idea to let him come up with an idea for a date and organise it (without necessarily checking back with you) while you arrange another one.  

Let's be realistic though, particularly if you are open-minded and date a good variety of people, you will meet guys who you click with "on paper" but just can't stand in physical presence. It's more than expected. In case your body knows there is no remote possibility you would want to be intimate with him, best to say goodbye after the first date (more on best "escape strategies" in the following posts!).

"Inject a little patience into your dating life"

To sum up, if you feel it's the right thing for you, inject a little patience into your dating life this year. Just like you don't like being evaluated just on the basis of a first impression, without having the opportunity to open up and show more of who you are, that is likely to be the case for your dates. As long as his values and beliefs aren't in opposition with yours, and his physicality isn't a no-no, he may well be worth getting to know on a deeper level, over a slightly longer span of time.

May 2017 bring you lots of lovely times with people who are worth your attention, fun and interesting dates included!

Learn more about how changing your Love Philosophy could change your relationship with love by joining us in Commanding Love and tell us who do you think wins in the debate-Three Dates vs Instant Spark.


Hayley x

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About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

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