A quick Google Search for topics to or not to discuss on a first date brings up a general list that I find quite confusing.
There are quite a few lists, but they all include the same few topics:
1. Politics - Most of the lists say that if you met at a political event or if you know you agree on the major topics in politics, it is okay to discuss, but if you think you may disagree, steer clear of political conversation if you want a relationship with this person.
2. Religion - "Because this is such a sensitive topic," these articles say, "wait and see if the relatioship has anything to build on before bringing up this hot topic."
3. What you expect in a relationship - "There is absolutely no reason to let your date know what you want past this dinner or coffee."
4. Marriage – “Even just mentioning that you would like to ‘settle down’ someday,” one article warns, "you never know how the other person might react... You talk about marriage and kids and your date looks terrified." On the same subject, another blogger writes, "It seems obvious that telling a date you want to be married in six months and have a family as big as the Brady Bunch would send them running in the other direction, but it seems to happen on many first dates."
5. Past Relationships - I think most people agree that this is a tough topic for a first date, but I found a specific warning that caught my eye: Readers were warned not to “ask about their last relationship or how long they have been single. It is a minefield. Even just a nice compliment like ‘how is someone so (insert whatever compliment here) as you single?’ can bring up topics you'd rather not know on a first date, like that (s)he was very hurt by a breakup or is still in love with an ex-...”
6. Family - "In the olden days," one article reminisces, "family was a safe topic on a first date. People would inquire as to how many siblings someone had, how long their parents had been married, what kind of childhood the person had, etc. But now, family make up and closeness is a topic that should be avoided until you know you want to be in a relationship with someone because there is so likely some abuse, divorce, excommunication, abandonment, unwanted pregnancy, adoption, step-parenting, half siblings, mental illness, etc ... If you hear about these things early on in the relationship, it may deter you unnecessarily."
All these articles talk about the perils of "killing" a relationship by finding out that the person you are dating is on the wrong side of an issue that is non-negotiable for you.
If you are looking for a dating partner; for someone to see movies with and go to dinner with, for someone to "hang out" with while you are living your life as you are, I agree completely that these topics should be avoided.
BUT, if you are seriously marriage minded, if dating is a way to find your life partner, not just a "romantic buddy", these topics should be clarified BEFORE you start to like them.
As one of the comments to one of these posts suggests, "these topics should be avoided like the plague for the first few dates because if you disagree on these things, and you find out on the first date, the relationship is over before you even got a chance to like each other."
I couldn't agree more... with the second part. But I say, that is the very reason you SHOULD discuss these things VERY early on in a dating relationship.
How often have I asked a client, "if you don't know which side of the issue (s)he is on, and the issue is a deal breaker for you, why haven't you discussed it in all the time you have known each other?" You know the answer. "Because, I don’t want to lose him/her."
"But can't you see" I say, "If the issue is a deal breaker for you, and the person you are dating doesn't agree with you, there is nothing there to lose because the relationship is built on a fantasy. You can't lose what you don't have."
On the other hand, if you stay in a relationship, avoid discussing the deal breakers, date and like each other, become intertwined in each other's lives and eventually break up anyway because you don't agree on that important issue, there is much that has been lost way beyond the time you could have been spending with your future spouse.
As for the specific topics above, I believe people who are really marriage minded should only date others who are marriage minded. The way to ensure that is to make your stance clear from the very beginning. When it comes to family, past relationships, politics and religion, I put them in the same category as any other deal breakers you have. If it is important to you in determining whether or not you will spend your life with this person, discuss it on the first few dates. If you are indifferent and it doesn’t really matter to you (or the person you are dating) you can push it off until you know each other well enough to share potentially vulnerable – thought not critical - information.
If you are still trying to figure out what your deal breakers are, or you want to figure out how to approach a potential deal breaker with the person you are seeing, check out BetterShidduchim’s other blogs or make an appointment to speak with us through www.BetterShidduchim.com.