What a fairy tale-His and Hers Olympic Gold Medals! But the romance of dark-eyed skating stud Evan Lysacek and flaxen-haired gymnast Nastia Liukin was so speedy, it may have broken a record. On Monday morning they were seeing each (by her account), by evening it was all in her head (by his). "I'm single," he told ET. "I'm lonely."
Nastia, poor thing, will bounce back (with a perfect 10, no doubt), but I felt such a creepy sense of deja vu, I started dialing up experts: Hi, quick question: What are the three most important things to ask on a first date? So let me share. If you're tired of taking emotional spills, find your dating style, and write these questions down:
YOUR DATING STYLE: Let's see what happens
"On a first date, you don't want to grill him," says psychologist Diana Kirschner, PhD, Today Show regular (check out her Date Him or Dump Him quiz) and author of Love in 90 Days. "The idea is to get him talking, and then read between the lines." Her top three questions:
1: "How did you come by the job you're in?"
This will give you a sense of how he operates (assuming he's working, which would be good to know). Does he settle? Is he a go-getter? An ambivalent guy who's not sure he's in the right field?
2: "What's your favorite thing to do on a date?"
Here's a gentle way to find out about compatibility. Does he like to stay out partying while you'd rather meet up early and go for a hike?
3: "If you could have your dream life in five years, what would it look like?"
Code, perhaps, for, "Do you want to get married and have a family?" but much less threatening. And who knows what else will come out?
YOUR DATING STYLE: Weed out the losers, fast!
"You need to know he's competent, and look for red flags that he's out of control," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist (aka Dr. Romance) and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. Her key three questions:
1: "What do you like to do with your friends?"
You're just making sure he actually has some.
2: "How long is your commute?"
A bit of a trick question, designed to elicit whether he has: a) his own place and b) a job. "You can't have a working relationship with someone who is still living at home, doesn't have an income, or is unable to make lasting connections," stresses Tessina.
3: How is he behaving?
That's for you. Are his eyes wandering? (You may be looking at a guy who cheats.) Has he been snarky to the waiter? (He's likely to eventually criticize you.) Does he seem drunk? Did he "forget his wallet?" Impending disaster.
YOUR DATING STYLE: Just cut to the chase
Dan Ariely, PhD, professor of behavioral economics at Duke University and author of Predictably Irrational, studies how people make decisions. You want marriage and kids? Don't keep your options open, he says. Ask these questions:
1: "What was the worst fight you've ever had with a girlfriend?"
How did it start? Did it escalate "as usual"? Who made up first? If everything was her fault, that's a flashing "Exit" sign.
2: "What are you best at?"
One element of a strong relationship, Ariely says, is when each partner admires something that the other does better.
3: "If you had kids, how would you raise them in terms of religion?"
Don't even waste a question on, "Do you want kids?" Ariely says. "Focus on your core values because that's what you'll come back to when you have children."
YOUR DATING STYLE: Chemistry!
Thanks to evolution, we are wired to suss out a man in the first three minutes, says Rutgers University anthropologist and chief scientific advisor to Chemistry.com, Helen Fisher, PhD, whose latest book is Why Him? Why Her? But you do need to nail down a few minor details. As in..
1: "Are you involved with someone?"
Presumably, if he's on a date with you, he's not married, but it never hurts to make sure (and check the ring finger for any telling indents.)
2: "What do you do?"
However you ask it, you need to know that he has a job. Unless you really don't care.
3: "What are you reading?"
Basically, you want to see if he's interesting. So what movies, TV shows, blogs, magazines does he like? Novelty and surprise, for many couples, is a love booster. And yes, the "do we click" question is important. Eleven percent of long-term relationships start with love at first sight, according to one study. Chemistry, says Fisher, counts for a lot.
Get more on first-date do's and don'ts:
* Total conversation killers * Dining disasters
* Ask a gay guy
[Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
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