Love in the Mountains: First date tips for lasting love |

Love in the Mountains: First date tips for lasting love

Jessica Heaney
Love in the Mountains
Jessica Heaney

If you read last week’s column, then you heard all about the infamous Master of First Dates, who avoids commitment and stability by perpetually going on first dates. This week, let’s dive in to explore what goes into a lasting love’s first date.

Because whether you’re 24 or 64, age doesn’t discriminate against the longing to find a lasting relationship.

For those who desire commitment, a first date is an important first step. The first date sets the stage for initial connection and is the avenue to knowing someone new in an intimate way.

Here is my go-to guide to landing a solid first date that can lead you toward forever love.

Simplicity is Key

Keep the first date free of overkill. Your objective on the first date is to get to know this person for who they are. Adding in too many thrills and frills acts only as a distraction. The first date is not where you drop major coin (even if you can afford it) on an expensive meal or event. Keep it simple. Grab a coffee at Yeti’s and go for a walk, inviting in conversation and connection.

One on one

Leave the group of friends behind. I get that it may be more comfortable to have the friend buffer. But groups block intimacy. Meeting friends can wait until you’re confident this is a person you want to continue investing in. You both need the time alone to explore if you’re interested in each other.

Booze free

The first date needs to be free of alcohol (or other drugs for that matter). Alcohol can calm nerves and so often it’s that go-to social lubricant. But if you’re serious about finding a lasting relationship, YOU need to be YOU. Not some fabricated, toned down, facade of yourself.

Of course, you’re nervous. It’s a first date. It’s a naturally awkward moment. Try being honest about how you’re feeling and see how this person responds. If they’re caring and understanding, then awesome. If they judge and shame you, then please end the date early.

Sex free

Sex needs to wait on the first date. Sure, call me old fashioned. But when dating for lasting love, you need to be purposeful of developing emotional connection before the physical. This is a mature choice. It conveys where your mind and heart are really at. If you’re wanting a hook-up and the excitement of sex, then own it. And own that you’re not ready for that lasting relationship — yet. Plus, what’s more enticing than the simplicity of a romantic first kiss?

Follow Through

Last but so not least. At the end of your first date, you need to be ready to commit to a second. If you’re not interested, then do not mislead this innocent individual or yourself by saying the classic lines, “I’ll call/text you soon,” or “Hey, we should do this again sometime!” Soon? Sometime? If you do want a second date, then ask for it then and there. There is no need to be vague or unclear. These are just games those who aren’t interested in commitment play. And please follow up with a text a few hours after the first date stating how you enjoyed the time together. Better yet, a phone call the next day.

If you want to learn more about dating for commitment, then schedule a session with me, your local relationship therapist. Also, send me your dating and relationship questions at

Jessica Heaney is a licensed clinical social worker who knows the relationship struggles of living in the Vail Valley. If you’re a Vail Resorts employee, then your EAP benefits give you and your partner six sessions with Heaney. For more information, visit If you want to learn how to date for commitment and how to stop dating the king or queen of first dates, then contact Heaney at

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