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Should We Date Even Though I'm Not Attracted?

Dear CMR:

Should I ever date someone that I know I’m not attracted to? I’m worried that it may set the other person up for heartbreak if I do.


Willing, But Unsure

Dear Unsure,

It all depends on how you define “date.” 

If you are talking about going on a casual date or two as friends—going for coffee, working out together, eating a meal together in the Café—I think that is fine. Your goal should be to get to know someone better, enjoy their company, and deepen the friendship. This assumes the dating is not exclusive and that there are no expectations (from either of you) for emotional or physical intimacy beyond that found in a normal friendship. Just because you don’t initially find someone attractive doesn’t mean that you might not grow to find them more attractive as you get to know them better.

On the other hand, if you define dating as more intentional, exclusive, and increasing over time in emotional and romantic intimacy, then I would advise you to not date this person. Dating is always a risky venture, and you would never want to lead someone into believing that you are more into them than you really are. You wouldn’t want this to happen to you if the tables were turned, as a likely outcome will be disappointment, pain and regret. 

So I say go ahead and step outside your comfort zone to go to coffee and get to know someone you might not normally ask out. You just might be surprised that you find them more attractive as you get to know them. But be careful to keep it friendly and platonic, and move slowly in the early stages so you don’t end up causing too much pain and regret if those feelings don’t develop into something more.