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Have you heard of Third Date Syndrome? It’s the confusing and frustrating dating pattern of never getting past the third date with the man you really like. The scenario looks like this:

Date #1: 

After a bit of nervous laughter & awkward silences the conversation begins to flow. You sit so close to each other that his Versace Black Crystal cologne lingers on your sundress. WHEW!

Date #2: 

He called and asked you out again. You’re excited! You wear your red bottoms and FashionNova jeans because he’s taking you to the local jazz lounge. The butterflies in your stomach make you feel like this could be The One! The warm hug and long kiss at the end of the night confirms it: The CHEMISTRY is off the charts!

Date #3: 

He invites you to a Saturday hike but something’s “off.” He’s polite but not passionate. Is he into me? Did I say something wrong on the phone? Are my spanx showing? He promises to call you after the date, but after a few a flirty texts, he disappears.

When a man ghosts you after what seemed to be momentum toward a long-term commitment, It’s easy to fall into the trap of two types of “stinkin’ thinking”:

WHAT’S WRONG WITH MEN??? You may find yourself talking with your girls over brunch saying things like, “men all say they’re serious about relationships, but they’re just playing games! I’m gonna need one of these brothers to go the distance for a change, DOGGONE IT!”

And at the end of busy week, your mind might race with thoughts that make you feel like screaming, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? ??I just can’t keep a man. It must be true–I’m too much for these men. Or maybe I’m not good enough?!”

The truth is, there are  many reasons why a guy might disappear after the third date.

Maybe he’s dating more than one woman and he decided to pursue an exclusive relationship with her.

Maybe he had a few doubts about moving forward with you and didn’t want to lead you on by asking you out again.

Maybe he didn’t want to hurt your feelings by telling you he just wasn’t that into you.

Maybe the timing wasn’t right. He got busy and when you didn’t reach out, he assumed you just weren’t interested anymore.

Sometimes it’s because he was after only one thing, and when he could tell you wanted a serious relationship instead of a casual romp in the sheets, he stepped out.

I’ve got a question for you: Did any of those “reasons” make you feel better about why he didn’t call you after the third date?

Probably not.

The only path to peace when you’re struggling with the Third Date Syndrome is to let go of trying to control the outcome in any dating situation. Showing up on a first, second or third date with the expectation that there’s a future makes you scrutinize everything he says or does (and opens the door to anxiety, worry and self-doubt). It’s just a date. Until you move past initial chemistry and form a true connection, there’s no basis for a relationship. I recommend you keep your options open. Let the men prove to you why you should go on a fourth date with them!

After all, the right man wouldn’t have disappeared after the third date. And that’s all you really need to know.