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Ask a Therapist – What Should I Do When Dating?

Today’s modern dating scene is messy and confusing, and there seems to be conflicting advice all over the internet. Every tiktok, instagram reel, and magazine article seems to have a different list of “Do’s and Don’ts.” While we might not be able to help you determine exactly what you should do, this second part of our Dating FAQ blog series might help give you some direction. Read on for answers to common “What should I do?” questions!

Should I double text?

A man lays on a couch while texting on their phone. Learn how individual therapy in Los Angeles, CA can help you learn more about dating and how an online Asian therapist in New York can offer support. Search for culturally sensitive therapy in New York to learn more.

With much of dating communication now happening over text, it can be difficult to determine how much or how often is appropriate or ideal. When it comes to double texting, or texting again before the other person has responded, it can depend! Some of our therapists say yes, and some say that there are cases in which it might not be necessary.

  • Therapist A says: If you’re in the talking phase and/or just on the dating app, it might be worth a shot. If you’re wanting something serious, then I don’t think there’s any risk in taking the initiative. But keep in mind that no communication is also communication.
  • Therapist B says: Communication styles can differ! You and the other person might have different preferences, in regards to frequency of communication, and you may or may not be okay with that. If you are okay with it, then by all means!
  • Therapist C says: I think it’s best to be straightforward to avoid misunderstandings and assumptions. At the same time, do your best to be aware of patterns in previous conversations. Are you always the one following up and/or initiating conversations? If you are, then you might want to reconsider and move on.
  • Therapist D says: Before I answer the question, I want to know what your negative thoughts are about double texting? Assuming that your communication will be perceived as negative only hurts you in the end. And if it’s perceived as negative, then they’re not worth your time anyway.

Should I sleep with someone on the first date?

One aspect of modern dating culture that can feel particularly complicated is sex and physical intimacy. While casual sex is becoming more common and acceptable (i.e., hook up culture), there is still a wide range of comfort levels in regards to physical intimacy. Some folks may feel comfortable early into a connection, and others may prefer to spend more time getting to know the other person. Our therapists say that it entirely depends on you.

  • Therapist A says: Sleeping with someone on the first date isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re clear with your expectations (and ideally with your partner too). But a few things to ask yourself: are you okay with this being a one-night-stand, do you think you might be more or less interested in the other person if you have sex on the first date, is sexual compatibility very important to you?
  • Therapist B says: I think it just depends on what your goal is! Sex does often build a feeling of connection, so that can make it hard to determine whether this person is actually a right fit for you long-term (if that’s what you’re looking for). What are your personal values and boundaries around sex and physical intimacy?
  • Therapist C says: Sex can affect our perception, particularly if it is a positive experience. Think about what kind of relationship you want, what sex means to you, how might it affect your impressions, what information you will get, and what information you might miss. Additionally, before sleeping with someone, consider whether you have talked about safety (e.g., STI or pregnancy risks).
  • Therapist D says: Think about yourself, and what you are wanting and needing from this connection. For example, do you want to figure out physical compatibility, do you want more emotional connection, are you for something fun and casual, or are you feeling pressured in any way? If you are feeling pressured, then it’s definitely a no.
A woman sits alone on a wooden dock overlooking a lake. This could represent the isolation when dating that individual therapy in Los Angeles, CA can offer support in overcoming. Search for online couples therapy in California to learn more about culturally sensitive therapy in New York and other services.

Should I disclose my sexual trauma?

For those who have experienced sexual trauma, it can be challenging to determine if or when you should disclose it to your dating partner. Sex is already a vulnerable experience, but it can feel even more vulnerable if you have experienced trauma around it. It is also possible that disclosing your trauma can be traumatic in and of itself. Before we offer our thoughts, know that you are not obligated to share more than you are comfortable.

  • Therapist A says: It can be hard to know if and when you’re ready to pursue physical intimacy, as the trauma can affect how you navigate it. Make space for both the worry and fear, and acknowledge that there’s a part of you that probably wants connection, intimacy, and pleasure. It’s up to you if you want to share your history as you pursue this kind of intimacy.
  • Therapist B says: Many people can find it hard to talk about because it’s heavy, and we’re often afraid that others will change how they think about us. It can help to consider green flags in your date, and allow yourself to set boundaries around how much you want to share.
  • Therapist C says: Let yourself take as much time as you need to regain trust and build comfort with others. Does your date respect your boundaries, are they rushing or pressuring you, do they follow through on what they say?
  • Therapist D says: There’s no right answer! Do you feel ready to disclose personal information, and do you feel emotionally secure with them? How long that takes can depend. Know your boundaries for yourself in your physical, mental, and emotional triggers.

Importantly, we want to highlight that it is entirely okay to take your time to disclose, and to take your time to be intimate with your date. While positive experiences can help with healing from trauma, it can come at your own pace.  You can always change your mind too.

Should I keep seeing someone if I don’t feel chemistry but they tick my boxes?

It can be difficult enough to find someone that shares your values and relationship goals. And when you do find someone that seems to fit everything you’re looking for, it can be confusing and frustrating when there doesn’t seem to be a spark. Unfortunately, not everyone who could be compatible will experience chemistry. That being said, our therapists suggest that chemistry can grow during the dating process too.

  • Therapist A says: First, how do you define chemistry, and do you find that it is something that can grow over time? How important is it compared to your other boxes or values? Compatibility won’t necessarily change, but attraction might! 
  • Therapist B says: Attraction and chemistry may not occur on the first date, as the more information you have can increase what you may feel. Plus, your mood and environment around the date may affect things too. Relationships are about what you and your partner co-create and generate together. Soulmates are made not found!
  • Therapist C says: If all your boxes are checked, and you don’t feel chemistry, how do you define it? Do your boxes contribute to chemistry or not? I say give it a few chances, but if you still don’t feel anything, then let the other person go.
  • Therapist D says: I think it’s worth going on more dates to see if things can develop. Are they meeting your standards, and are your standards realistic or unrealistic? What are you willing to compromise, and what do you value? Are all your boxes necessary?
A couple hold hands while sitting across from each other at a restaurant. Learn more about the help that individual therapy in Los Angeles, CA can offer support with dating by searching for online couples therapy in California. An Asian therapist in California can offer support today.

How to Move Forward in Dating

Dating can be messy, confusing, and exhausting, and everyone seems to have their own thoughts about best practices. But we hope that you will take the time to identify your wants, needs, goals, and values first and foremost. You are allowed to date in the way that feels best for you. By guiding your efforts with yourself at the center, it will be easier to stay true to what you feel is a meaningful relationship.

Begin Individual Therapy at Yellow Chair Collective in Los Angeles, CA or New York today!

At our Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, NY-based therapy practice, we have many individual, culturally sensitive therapists who can help you explore your attachment style, relationship trauma, and romantic values. For your added convenience and simplicity, we offer online therapy for anyone in the state of California or New York. We know that dating and relationships can be complicated, and we want to help you work through whatever’s holding you back from a thriving relationship. Follow the steps below to begin.

Other Services at Yellow Chair Collective

There are many options for treatment using online therapy in California and New York, it just depends on what you’re needing. And while we certainly service Asian American folks, we also work with individuals from other cultures, too. So, whether you need support in overcoming anxiety, burnout, trauma, or PTSD, we can help. Likewise, we serve teens and couples in need of support, too. So when you start online therapy with us, you can bring your whole self, including past struggles, cultural impacts, and more.