Who Should Say “I Love You” First?

Plus: The best options for a first date

Dear Monica,
Do you believe that a woman should wait for a man to say “I love you” first?
— P.M.

“I love you” — three words that everyone wants to hear said back to them once they are expressed. Should it matter who says it first if the feelings and connection are there? In most cases, I am all for women taking the lead and asserting themselves, but in this particular scenario, I am traditional. Letting the man make this move first is a good thing because it allows him to say what he feels within his comfort zone. Most women want romance and most men prefer to take the lead. Saying “I love you” should be a natural extension of one’s feelings. It may be the new millennium, but for me, I would take the tried and true approach and let the man say “I love you” first.

Hey Mon,
When asking a girl out for the first time, what is best? Lunch, drinks or dinner?
— R.H.

It all depends on how much time you want to devote to the date and how well conversations have gone up to this point. If there is a sense of uncertainty, lunch can be a way to meet without too much time commitment. However, lunch is the least appealing option of the three. There is generally less ambiance and little time to get to know one another. The only upside to lunch is that you can be in and out quickly, and at least you can gauge if you want another date. Drinks can be a good option, but most women would consider this to be a lesser gesture than a dinner. At least drinks can provide a more romantic setting and hopefully lead to dinner. Dinner means that you are invested in the date. You are taking the time to pick the right restaurant, make a reservation, and you are giving a clear message that you want to spend time with her. Whatever option you pick just make certain that all blackberries and iphones are off!

Monica Mandell, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia office of Selective Search, the premiere (off-line) upscale matchmaking firm for the most eligible singles. Please send your questions to: monica@selectivesearch-inc.com