Set yourself up for success.
View dates as an opportunity to share a single evening getting to know a new person. That's it. If a second date follows, great! If fireworks explode, even better! Blossoming romance is a bonus of a date, not a fundamental.
Be a realistic romantic.
Having reasonable expectations does not mean turning bitter and jaded. It is possible to keep your heart open and your spirit hopeful, even as you remain grounded and practical.
Know that your date owes you nothing.
In the beginning of getting to know each other, the only thing required is that your date treats you with kindness during your time together. Beyond that, you're on your own. Your date does not owe you a second date. Your date does not owe you a phone call later in the week. Your date does not owe you an explanation of why he or she does not want to see you again.
Be truthful about how much you can and cannot give.
If you don't feel like kissing on the first date, don't kiss on the first date. If you can't afford an expensive dinner, don't agree to an expensive dinner, unless your date insists on treating you. If you are tired and want to get to bed after dinner, get home and get to bed after dinner. If you don't want to have sex outside of a committed, monogamous relationship, don't have sex outside of a committed, monogamous relationship. Giving more than you are ready to give is certain to leave you resentful and heartbroken.
Let the relationship reveal itself to you instead of trying to steer it where you think it ought to go.
You have no way of knowing where things are headed. Keep your mind in the present and surrender control.
Allow for a natural ebb and flow.
Getting to know somebody is a slow process with its own rhythm. You come together. You pull apart. You come together. You pull apart. Don't freak out if you seem to be drifting in different directions. This is the natural way.
Keep your life.
Keep seeing your friends. Keep flirting with strangers. Keep your routines intact. When you first meet someone it can be easy to float away in an all-consuming, love sick bubble. This is natural and wonderful, but someday the bubble is going to burst. Keeping some semblance of your own life will make your fall to reality all the easier.
If your date seems disinterested in you, move on.
If you are disinterested in your date, move on.