We’ve all experienced that wonderful feeling of a great nineteen. You know… the first nineteen minutes of meeting your date and the spark that comes with it. By the fifth minute the hostess is seating you at a perfect table and by minute nine you’re ordering a cocktail. The next couple minutes bring some witty banter and by the 15 the minute you’re sipping a Tanqueray and Tonic, looking at your date and thinking to yourself, “Wow… cute and can converse… score!”
Everything is splendid until the seconds approaching the twenty-minute mark. Somehow the conversation leads your date to respond with a sentence that brings the date to a screeching halt. The verbal slamming of the breaks that brings about the dead stop are a combination of the following…”my Ex”, “my breakup” or “my past relationship”.
And with just one sentence, you pull up a chair for an unexpected, worst kind of third wheel- the EXtra wheel.
Mentioning your Ex on a first date is the equivalent to taking a fire hose to a birthday cake. The flame goes out, the cake gets soggy and there’s no longer a chance for a wish. Recently I was on a date and experienced the EXtra Wheel, and the conversation was a textbook reminder why bringing up the Ex on a first date is the wrong move:
Your new date doesn’t need a visual of your Ex.
My date gave me a play-by- play description of his Ex, coming just shy of showing me a photo. Seems the EXtra wheel on my date was 34, Indian, skinny, hairless and quiet. I’m sure he’s quite handsome, but as a 51-year old white guy with muscles, hairy chest and a mouth that sometimes works all too well, I wondered why on Earth he’s even attracted to me. Knowing the appearance of your date’s past before you even start a first memory with them is not the best of beginnings.
Hearing about how your date processes a breakup before you even make out is just wrong.
A first date kicks off the discovery phase, and it doesn’t need to begin with failed relationships of the past. Hearing a sad story, an angry tale, or even a narrative of a civil ending isn’t the way to begin something new.
It’s a big neon sign saying your date isn’t over it.
Going into great detail about your Ex on a first date is perhaps the biggest red flag. Their thoughts and focus is on the past and not the present. It illuminates how your date isn’t ready to begin a new chapter with a new co-star.
When your date pulls out the EXtra chair, your best line of polite defense it to immediately change topics. If your date refers back to the EXtra chair, give the change of topic defense one more try. A third time brings your absolute right to say, “Let’s not discuss the Ex, ok? I’d rather discuss you!”.
With your polite defensive move, the party of three should go back to a party of two. However, there’s always the chance that if your date isn’t over the past and will likely shut down, bringing about the end of your date sooner than later. If that happens, wish them the best in their dating adventures and move onto the next opportunity. Chances are there’s a date on your horizon who’s more than happy to enjoy a table for two and a 21 st minute that’s all about a party of two.