I recently went on a first date. And while it was pleasant enough, I didn’t feel any sparks or butterflies in my stomach. Should I still say yes to the second date?

This post was contributed by dating coach Rishma Petraglia (@rishma_petraglia). She has a podcast called You Are Worthy of Love, which talks about dating, relationships, love, and heartbreak. Listen to it on Spotify here.


I know there are many single people out there who have the same question. They feel like they need that instantaneous attraction and chemistry with the person they’re dating. They think, “if I don’t have the ‘butterflies’, then why on earth would I move forward in getting to know this person better?”

I went through this same stage as well. My non-negotiables when it comes to my partner were a) a strong attraction to him and b) having impeccable chemistry. Leading with these desires got me into a lot of trouble as I attracted many unhealthy relationships. Those relationships were based solely on attraction and were never sustainable later on.

That got me thinking – are such expectations unrealistic? We see it all the time in romantic comedies where the characters knew right away that they’ve met The One. As a result, we feel like we need to aspire to that level of chemistry or attraction, otherwise we’re only “settling’.


Don’t get me wrong. You need some sort of attraction to the person you’re dating, but it doesn’t always need to happen in the initial stages; it can happen later on. When you meet someone and expect fireworks right away, you could be setting yourself up for failure when it comes to dating. Because what happens when it starts to wear off? Do you then break up because the relationship is now missing that initial spark?

There is a quote that goes, “If you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soulmate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.” [Ed’s note: from Clown Girl by Monica Drake, in case anyone’s wondering.]

I completely agree with this. Instead of looking for someone who gives you butterflies in your stomach, try looking for someone who gives you that feeling of calmness and peacefulness.

So about that second date – consider the following questions:

  • Do you feel calm and peaceful around your date?
  • Did you feel lightness in your heart?
  • Was it easy to just be yourself and relax?

If the answer is yes to any of them, I would say go on another date and see what happens! And remember, in the age of instant gratification and Tinder, relationships will take time, effort and energy. Do the work, and enjoy the ride!

Have a question for dating coach Rishma? Email us at CLEO@sph.com.sg.

Image: DDP on Unsplash