Readers’ dilemma: How can I bag the elusive second date?

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I’ve been on a dating site for around three years. I’m picky about who I talk to, so only go on dates with guys I think will be a good match for me. Every time I go on a date, we get on really well and sometimes there’ve been kisses or I’ve gone home with them (not that often!). But they never ask to see me again. Either I don’t hear from them or they make excuses – the usual stuff about being busy with work or wanting to just meet as friends. I’m not sure what’s going wrong. How can I bag the elusive second date?

Michael, via email

The Guyliner replies:

The very simple – and indeed boring – answer to this is that there is no secret formula to nabbing yourself a second date. There’s no miracle, cure-all thing you can do that will ensure you get a callback. But that’s not exactly what you want to hear. There are, of course, things you can do to encourage your first dates to get in touch again, but even if you’re the best company ever, have oodles of sexual chemistry and end the night with promises of “next time” or “soon”, you can’t predict how it’s going to turn out. Why? Well, to put it simply, dates don’t just involve you; it’s about two people – or three if you’re polyamorous but let’s try and keep things as vanilla as possible here, I don’t have much room.

When you go on a date, you’re not the only one with a multitude of hang-ups, aspirations, expectations and insecurities to deal with. Your date’s head is chock-full of stuff too. So while you may have been the perfect date – charm itself and sizzlingly sexy at all the right moments – your date could be open to outside influences. Maybe there’s an ex still on his mind. Don’t forget he might not be telling you everything. Breakups can take a long time to get over and it’s possible there’s a former paramour either on the scene and causing complications or, worse, has totally moved on and your date is trying to prove to himself he can too.

You may also be coming at the date from totally different places. For you, this is a search for Mr Right. You’re hunting for the elusive One. For many men, though, dating is a social activity – a way of meeting new people or simply getting out of the house. Dating isn’t about looking for love for everybody – hell, it isn’t even about sex for some people, incredibly. Some men want to play the field a bit.

So what can you do? You say that you’re picky when you choose who to date and only go for guys who you think would be a perfect match. This could be the issue. Your expectations sound too high and your criteria too narrow. What about trying pot luck? Go for men who don’t sound too obvious on paper (or on the screen). Bring a little bit of randomness and spontaneity into your life and you’re more likely to end up surprised than disappointed. Take more chances, go on more dates and widen your net. I’m not saying you should settle for second best, just be a little more flexible. Some of the most unexpected pleasures are hiding in plain sight.

Need some good old-fashioned advice on matters of love, life or relationships? Email me in total confidence on I can’t respond individually and your emails may be edited for on

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