'I'm over 30 - what questions should I be asking on a first date?'

Mel Schilling is a relationship expert, confidence coach and TV presenter who is passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring people to be their best. Mel’s advice is backed by her 20 years spent as a psychologist and aims to improve your relationships in life and love.

Question: I'm over 30 - what questions should I be asking on a first date?

Great question! My response to this is a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel - if you don’t get the reference, Google it!

1. What is your Dating Goal?

If your dating goal is DTF and you’re keen for some casual, non-committal fun, then keep it light. Ask questions that will reveal what type of hook-up experience your date is likely to offer.

Stay in the moment, look out for safety red flags and enjoy yourself. Wear a condom.

Mel Schilling.
Mel Schilling is Yahoo Lifestyle’s relationship and dating columnist answering all the questions you’re too afraid to ask. Photo: Channel Nine

If your dating goal is to step into a longer-term, serious relationship then you can use the first date as a screening process.

Before the date, figure out your own core values (your guiding principles in life, the things that motivate you and underpin your beliefs) and your lifestyle preferences. These factors will help you determine the potential compatibility between you and your date.

Use this criteria to ask open-ended questions (e.g. “Tell me about your best holiday experience”) and listen to what they tell you about their own values. Can you tell what is important to them? What are they passionate about? What makes them angry?

And of course, the first date is a golden opportunity to look out for any red flags (global or personal - see previous column).


2. Are you male or female?

If you’re male and over 30, consider where you are at in your life cycle.

Are you ready for a monogamous relationship? Do you want to be a dad? How far in the future do you see parenthood?

Know Thyself is the best advice here - by being self-aware and honest with yourself about what you really want, you can be upfront with your dates so that expectations are clear from the outset.

If you do want kids, be sensitive about the way you discuss this if you are dating a woman. The fertility journey can be fraught with challenges, pain, fear, expectations and disappointment for many women. Socially, many women face judgement over their fertility and motherhood choices so tread gently and take her lead.

3. If you’re female, do you want children?

This is a very personal (and often private) issue for many women and it’s not always black and white.

Whilst I don’t believe you ‘owe’ your date anything, especially on a first date, it's a good opportunity to test the water in terms of alignment about the baby issue.

Whether you do or do not see motherhood in your future, you can use the date experience as an opportunity to see how closely this person might fit with your future plans. You don’t have to lay it all bare (“Shall I walk you through my endometriosis story babe?”) but you can ask questions to determine what type of future your date sees for themself.

Open questions like “Can you visualise yourself in 10 years? What does your life look like?” will give them the chance to describe their ideal future, without the pressure of your expectations.

Mel's topline advice:

  • Decide on your dating goal

  • If male, understand your own life stage and future expectations - communicate them clearly

  • If female, same advice as for males PLUS understand your relationship with your fertility and parenthood hopes and expectations - communicate in a way that helps you assess compatibility

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