The Question You Need to Ask on Your First or Second Date

How to avoid relationship doom

Posted Mar 22, 2012

Dating is never easy and trying to figure out if this is the one can be daunting. But by asking at least one particular pointed question during the first few dates, you can improve your ability to assess relationship potential and avoid what I refer to as "relationship doom." This is particularly helpful for those who fall in love too quickly. So what is that question? It is simply, "Are you in love with anybody?" Basically, you need to find out whether the person is in love with someone else. If someone is in love with someone else, actively in love and currently in love, they are not available for a new relationship and emotionally unavailable to you. You need to know that.

There is a scene in one of the recent King Kong movies where Kong is on a rampage stomping through the streets of New York City, scooping down and picking up random blonde women and flinging them away the second he realizes that they are not the blonde woman he loves. It is understood that Kong only wants his woman and of course has no use for the random blonds. Nobody would want to be those random blonds. This illustrates my point: if someone is in love with someone else, you don't stand a chance with that person even if they declare that they have feelings for you too.

Many therapy hours have been devoted to helping my patients recover from the inevitable disintegration of a relationship when one person was still in love with someone else. It seems almost obvious that you should avoid getting involved with someone who is in love with someone else yet it happens all the time. People lament, "If only I knew." Even worse is thinking that the person will instead fall in love with you despite being in love with someone else. Nobody wants to be the rebound, but it happens a lot. By simply asking a question, you might very well circumvent a doomed situation.

I recommend asking the question as soon as possible, on the first or second date. I've been asked "How do you ask that and how do I know that I'll get a truthful answer?" You ask the question matter-of-factly as you engage in getting-to-know-you small talk. Some examples of how to ask the question are, "Have you ever been in love with anybody?" And if yes, "Do you still have feelings for them?" or "Is there a love of your life?" And if yes, "Do you still have feelings for them?" or "Do you have a soul mate?" or simply, "Do you still have feelings for your ex?" If the answer is ever, "yes", run, don't walk, and move on. And by asking the question very early on, you will most likely get a genuine response since there is no investment yet in a relationship.

To reiterate, the important question to ask is, "Are you in love with anyone?" Of course I've been asked "How do you know the difference between 'loving someone' and 'being in love?'" The difference is in the answer. If someone responds with, "What's the difference?" or "I don't know what being in love is," you're pretty much in the clear. It's when you get a "yes" answer that you need to panic. So, "Yes, I'm still in love with my ex-wife, ex-boyfriend" is an answer that should be taken very seriously. The person is basically informing you that they are emotionally attached to someone else and therefore emotionally unavailable to you. And even though they might have said that things are over between them, it would not be the first time that someone drops everything to be with the person they are in love with even if they have supposedly "moved on." We all deserve to be loved and cherished. So, on your first or second date, don't hesitate to ask the question, "Are you in love with anybody?" You really need to know!