couple on a third date

The third date is an opportunity to get to know the person on a deeper level and make sure both are comfortable enough to gauge chemistry. Is a third date a good sign? Yes! If you get past the first two dates, the third date might lead to something long-term.

What does a third date mean? Maybe you’ve heard something of the third date rule but unsure what it is? Here I’ll address everything you need to know when you are beyond the first and the second date, including third date tips and potential third date sex.

Why is the third date so important?

The third date is essential because you’ve made it to this stage in the dating process, where you start getting to know each other better. This is also one of the dates you’ll gauge whether you’ll want to become exclusive. The way the third date goes can set the tone for your future relationship.

While the first date was about getting to know a guy on the surface level, the second date was an opportunity to make sure you’re compatible with each other. Now, the third date is all about your shared chemistry.

However, when someone mentions the third date rule, this shouldn’t mean you must become physically intimate. Once you feel like you’ve gotten to know each other and gauged your compatibility, the third date is to make sure you share an emotional and physical attraction.

What’s the third date rule, and should you follow it?

couple on third date on a boat

The third date rule could imply two things. When saying “I have a third date rule,” girls often mean that they wait at least till the third date before sleeping with a guy. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to jump into bed when the third date comes. Three dates are the minimum time to gauge the relationship potential, and if a girl really likes a guy, she may want to wait longer before getting intimate with him.

On the other hand, when you hear guys talking about the third date rule, it will most likely mean that they expect to have some physical interaction on the third date. Some guys use a baseball analogy to describe sexual activity during the dating process and refer to those milestones as bases of dating.

Testing the waters of physical intimacy can lead to casual sex, unplanned pregnancies, and relationships that never quite reached their full potential. As far as dating norms go, I believe one should follow their own set of rules. In fact, the third date rule might be outdated. A study of 2000 US adults showed that most people would wait for an average of eight dates before they jump into bed.

Testing the waters of physical intimacy can lead to casual sex, unplanned pregnancy, and relationships that never quite reached their full potential. Click To Tweet

Does the third date rule mean sex?

Physical intimacy doesn’t imply a relationship, especially in the mindset of a man. Usually, guys who invest little time and effort before having sex with a girl do not seek emotional connection. There is no universal rule when a couple should get intimate, so it is essential to make your own decisions considering your emotional and relationship needs.

The third date doesn’t necessarily mean sex. It should be about delving into getting to know your partner on an emotionally intimate level, not just physically.

Doing so helps set the tone for the relationship and creates an emotional connection between you. And there’s something to be said for a certain level of comfort and safety in a guy’s presence. That’s what actual chemistry is all about – a sense of comfort with each other.

12 tips to make it past the third date

guy and girl holding hands on a third date

The third date is an important milestone as it will allow you to figure out if you have a future potential with a guy. You can feel a bit pressured because you assess your compatibility with the other person while simultaneously discussing your emotional and relationship needs.

There are a few things you can do to make it past the third date. Here are some practical tips that will allow you to have a smooth third-date experience that will hopefully lead to many more dates.

1. Let the chemistry unfold naturally

The third date is all about becoming more comfortable with each other. Now that you know the guy, it’s the third date that sets the tone for your relationship. The idea is to relax, be yourself and allow the guy to be his true self. Establish a sense of comfort together.

Chemistry stems from a combination of feeling safe with the other person and being yourself. You’re a team, and tonight is all about gauging how well you sync together. You should feel the connection and energy between you.

Is there a sense of comfort when you are with the guy? Are you able to relax with him? Can you be your true self? Does he make you feel safe? These are questions you should ask yourself before progressing with the relationship.

2. Don’t invest yourself emotionally too fast

There’s a difference between physical attraction and emotional investment. Men respect and value someone they emotionally invest in, and they have an inherent desire to feel as though they’re stealing your time. This doesn’t mean to make him beg for a date with you. It means men have a need to truly value the woman they’re seeing.

If you invest too much of yourself and start projecting the relationship too quickly, things can go south. Here’s a silly but accurate analogy. When a man buys a Hyundai, he tells his friends how he got one over on the dealer with excellent mileage. He didn’t have to save for it. He negotiated and paid under a sticker. He takes it home, but the minute a better offer comes along, that Hyundai is history.

With a Corvette, though, he’s saved his entire life for it. He doesn’t talk about the price. He talks about the way it drives, how it’s the anniversary edition. He’s waited his entire life for the car of his dreams. Don’t be the Hyundai. Be the investment of a lifetime.

If you invest too much of yourself and start projecting the relationship too quickly, things can go south. Click To Tweet

3. Try to connect on a deeper level

While going to a movie might seem like a good idea, it’s good to spend the third date doing something that allows you to communicate freely versus sitting in a hushed theater.

An outdoor picnic or a long car ride gives you some time to talk to one another. The third date is the point you will decide whether or not you’ll choose to proceed with dating him and allow a relationship to form. Therefore, it’s the right time to get to learn more about each other.

While it is important to find out the other person’s passions, views on the topics that interest you, and find some things that you have in common, try to avoid controversial topics, such as politics or religion (unless they are essential for you). They can go terribly wrong and turn your date into a heated argument real quickly.

4. Determine if you feel comfortable with him

couple having lunch

By now, you likely know the guy well enough to begin to feel comfortable in his presence. It can take four to five dates to start feeling truly safe with someone new, and it’s the third date you’ll begin laying that foundation for it.

I don’t mean to say you should feel comfortable going back to his place yet. Instead, it’s time you’ll begin to have that feeling of comfort. Now is when you’ll be gathering information about whether or not you can trust the guy.

Your feelings of safety can play into your choice about dating him. Deciding whether to trust someone is an important choice that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

5. Ask personal questions

Asking personal questions can establish the feeling of safety and help you decide whether or not you are compatible before you become fully invested in the relationship. It would be a travesty if you were to dive into a relationship only to discover that it’s just not the right person for you.

That said, proactive questions can help you establish whether or not this guy might be The One. You want to determine if you’re both on the same page about the things that matter in life. So, consider what’s important to you in a relationship.

How does he spend his holidays? Does he prefer a flat in the city or a home in the suburbs? What’s his family like? Is there anyone in his life who inspires him?

Don’t hold back the essential questions that will allow getting to know the guy better. You have a chance to find out what the guy’s dreams and goals are and whether they align with yours.

You want to determine if you're both on the same page about the things that matter in life. Click To Tweet

6. Don’t talk about exes

There is no need to hide the fact that you had a relationship before. Still, if you focus too much on past relationships, it can feel as though you’ve invited the exes to your date.

When a guy acts like a wounded bear and spends the entire date lamenting over how his last relationship ended, he is probably not quite ready to move forward. If he speaks highly of his exes, this reveals something positive about his character. However, it is best to leave the exes in the past. While there’s no doubt they contributed to shaping who you’ve become, now it’s all about the future with the person sitting in front of you.

7. Watch out for red flags

Keep an eye on the red flags that something does not feel quite right or that the guy is not the person he portrays himself to be. By the third date, when comfort is established, those warning signs tend to appear.

Red flags can be anything that causes your proverbial antennae to go up. If you see a red flag, this is a potential indicator to be wary of. While your intuition is usually spot on about most things, people with high empathy or those who are sensitive or feelings-centered often want to see the good versus the bad.

Sometimes we’re willing to overlook red flags because we find it easy to “fall in love” with the ideal image you created in your head and not with who the guy truly is. While it’s okay to have an empathic response, it’s never a good idea to ignore the red flags.

8. Don’t fall in love with his potential

couple standing close and looking at each other

When you fall in love, it should be with the person, not with his potential you see in him. I can’t even begin to tell you how many clients have come to me to help them get over a broken heart. A number of these women have said things like, “I just don’t understand why I’m having such a hard time getting over this relationship. He’s a selfish jerk. I know what he can be like, but I just don’t understand why he can’t be like that with me!”

My response to hearing things like this is often, “The question is, can he be like that all the time, and is this who he truly is?” Falling in love with someone for who and what they are and falling in love with someone’s potential are two different things. Do your future self a favor and keep your perspective sharp.

9. See if your life plans mesh

The third date is an excellent time to compare notes about your life plans. While it’s always wise to omit the “Where you see yourself in 5 years” question, it’s acceptable to inquire more about the overall vision of life.

Regardless of how intense the connection feels, if your dream is raising a family in a Victorian house and the guy’s dream is to become a nomad, how would this align?

Take the opportunity to delve into his ideas about the future and mention how you envision yours. Shared perspectives will reinforce the feeling that you’ve met the person you could possibly build your life with.

The third date is an excellent time to compare notes about your life plans. Click To Tweet

10. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries

Now that those feelings of attraction begin to develop, and sparks might be flying between you, you can expect to see some signs of affection. While there is no hard third-date rule about physical intimacy, some couples enjoy kissing when they meet, sitting closely, or even holding hands.

If you find yourself in a situation where the guy brings up the third date sex talk, it’s important to make your own decision. Remember, the only rule is that you feel comfortable. An easy way out of an uncomfortable position would be to say, “I’m just not ready.”

There’s no need to explain yourself. It’s perfectly okay to set boundaries. The guy who genuinely cares about you should value and respect your decision. You might lose out on a real jerk, though, which isn’t such a bad thing, is it?

11. Don’t feel guilty if the chemistry takes over

Have you found you’ve been swept away by those sparks, and you woke up at his place? Don’t panic! You felt it was the right thing to do, and there is no need to regret it.

Don’t make excuses like “I never do this…” as this would sound like you always “do this.” Instead, be your naturally confident self. While being intimate within the first few dates does not mean that the guy is emotionally invested in you, don’t feel guilty about your personal choices. Sex doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never call you again, so turn your mindset around. Maybe you enjoyed yourself – good for you!

12. Keep your expectations realistic

couple sitting in a restaurant

After going on a few dates, women often assume that the connection they are feeling equates to a commitment from a guy. Remember, you just met him, and while you may think he’s the cutest thing after your favorite teddy bear, you’re only on the third date.

Empower yourself with a positive mindset and keep your dating expectations realistic. It’s all about how the two of you mesh and whether there’s potential for the long term.

Too many women believe they need to impress the guy. It shouldn’t be about games. It should be about how the two of you experience the connection. While it’s okay to let a guy pursue you, it’s wise to keep a handle on the proverbial remote control of your emotions. Are you feeling a connection? Is he? And most importantly, are you both feeling it?

What should you know by the end of the third date?

By date number three, you’ve learned more about the guy and about yourself. You’ll have met and gotten to know each other, assessed your compatibility, and gauged the potential of your shared chemistry.

If enough time and communication have passed, you’ll also have a pretty good feeling about what you both want and need in general in a potential relationship. You’ll know because you will have discussed your hobbies, interests, and activities you could do as a couple.

You’ll have a pretty good idea of the guy’s intentions regarding your relationship. And most importantly, you’ll have a sense of whether or not you are interested in dating him.

Now, armed with these tips and aware of the possible red flags, you are prepared for your third date. You are ready to test the waters and see if you’re both comfortable in each other’s presence. Relax, be yourself and most of all, have fun!

Helena is an intuitive spiritual counselor, adviser, and coach, who helps people successfully navigate their relationships and reach exclusivity and union with their partners. She specializes in love and relationships with a focus on soul connections, including Soulmates and Twin Flames. Helena is the founder of the relationship support group Twin Flame Sacred Connections. You can follow her on Instagram.

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