What Should Happen On A Second Date? Determining Your Expectations

Updated March 28, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

After going on a nice first date, it’s normal to get excited about what a second date has in store. You may be strongly attracted to this new romantic interest—so much so that you’re a bit nervous about the second date. If this is the case for you, understanding what to expect on a follow-up date can help you relax and feel more confident. Below, we’re going to discuss what’s likely to happen on a second date, including tips on learning more about one another, choosing what to do, and getting (or not getting) physical. 

Get to know each other better

Because you’ve both decided that you’d like to get to know each other better, the main goal of a second date is to learn more about your potential romantic interest. If you’d like to see how far this connection can go, you can take this time to open up to your date and find out how compatible you are. 

This might be a good time to talk about your expectations and what you’re looking for out of a relationship. You could, for example, let them know that you’re simply interested in casual dating; or that you’d like to find a partner. You can even think about some questions to ask if that’s easier for you. You don’t necessarily need to discuss incredibly serious topics or tell your date your five-year plan—just let the conversation flow organically.

What to talk about on a second date depends on your personality. You might want to talk about your interests and your hobbies a bit, while also asking about their life. Talking about the future is a bit serious, but it can be nice to know what someone’s goals are. 

Arrange an interesting date

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Organizing an engaging and enjoyable date can help lighten the mood and give you a chance to learn more about this person. It can help to switch things up on this date. If you went to dinner on your first date, consider setting up a picnic, visiting an art gallery, or even cooking a meal at home

Consider setting up an activity that you know aligns with your date’s interests. For instance, if they love the outdoors, then visiting a park might be a good move. You could plan a romantic picnic and enjoy nature while you chat. Some people might even be interested in going on a short hike. 

While surprises can be nice, you may be better off asking whether your date approves of your choice of activity. For example, some people might think that going to a concert is a good second date idea and others might find it too noisy. You can also organize multiple activities in one date. Consider starting with something that isn’t as intimate at first, such as mini-golf or a movie, and then going to get coffee or drinks afterward so that you can talk. 

Respectfully break the touch barrier

The second date might be a good time to initiate some physical affection, such as a playful touch on the shoulder or hand. Be respectful and cognizant of your date’s comfort level. If they seem uncomfortable with physical touch, that’s a boundary you should not cross until they communicate that they’d like to move forward. 

Starting slow is typically a good rule of thumb. For example, a stroll in the park could be a good opportunity to hold your date’s hand or put your arm around them. These little milestones of growing closer can be fun, and they can even get you excited about what is to come. If you’re both feeling comfortable, a second date can be the right venue for your first kiss. 

What about intimacy?

Whether you start a physical relationship after the second date is going to depend on you and your date’s comfort level. While many people believe in waiting a specified amount of time, it is completely up to you and your date whether you become intimate. 

Consent is the most important factor in starting a sexual relationship. Ensure you and your date are on the same page in terms of what you’re ready to do, and do not do anything you’re uncomfortable with. If you’ve already started to engage in sexual activity, it is absolutely okay to stop and let your date know you’re not comfortable continuing. 

If you end up kissing your date, this can help determine the direction the rest of the night will go. The kiss might become passionate and indicate that you’re sexually compatible. If it feels natural and things are getting steamy, then you might want to go further. Again, ensure that your date is comfortable with how things are progressing. 

It’s also a good idea to think about how having sex might change the dynamic of your relationship. The timing should feel right between you and your date. There is nothing wrong with taking it to the next level if you both feel like you’re ready for a sexual relationship; but you shouldn’t expect sex to happen on a second date, either. For many people, it’s more the exception than the rule.

Figure out how you feel

A second date is a good time to further examine your feelings about a potential partner. Do you feel as though this could turn into a serious partnership? This can be an inflection point in your relationship. Now that you have reached the second date, things could progress quickly. You need to be honest with your expectations so that you do not accidentally hurt the person that you’re dating. If you’re dating someone who is looking for a serious partner, and you can’t be that for them, it might be best to tell them you’d rather keep your relationship friendly.

If you’re on the same wavelength, though, you might even find that the second date is a time to get more serious. If the compatibility seems to be there, and you like the way that things are going, then maybe you can talk about the future and whether a partnership might develop. Two dates might be too early to determine this for some, but others may know that they’ve found what they’re looking for. 

Navigating a new relationship with online therapy

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If your relationship winds up advancing further, couples therapy can help you and your partner set expectations for the future, learn more about each other, and improve your relationship. Research shows that online therapy can help couples function more effectively and build a stronger connection. For example, in a study that included 600 total participants, researchers found that online therapy improved relationship satisfaction, confidence, and quality. The study also mentioned the ability of online therapy to help bridge the treatment gap that often exists in couples counseling. 

If you’re navigating a new relationship, online couples therapy can be an accessible way for you to set expectations and learn more about each other. With an online therapy platform like Regain, you and your partner can chat with a therapist remotely, which can be helpful if you and your partner are not yet comfortable meeting in person for counseling. Online therapy is also an affordable option—Regain memberships start at $65 per week (billed every 4 weeks), and you can cancel anytime—which means you can save more money for future dates. A couples therapist can give you and your partner the tools to anticipate future issues and nurture a healthy, happy relationship. Read below for reviews of Regain therapists from those who have sought couples therapy in the past. 

Counselor reviews

“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”

“My girlfriend and I have been working with Alison for about four months now and with her help and guidance we have strengthened our relationship ten fold. Her communication style is amazing and she really strives to make the best of our time with one another. If you’re looking for a counselor you can put your faith in with the whole experience, she’s the one to go to.”


A second date can be a watershed moment, after which a potential relationship might blossom or both people may realize they’re not well suited for each other. By organizing a fun and engaging activity, staying curious, and knowing what to expect, you can have an enjoyable date and continue developing a bond. If you and your partner would like support as you embark on a new relationship, consider getting matched with a licensed therapist online. With the help of a professional, you and your partner can ensure there are many more successful dates to come. 

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