A portion of a podcast
SUE: Today, I am pleased to speak with Dan Bouchard, whose nickname is Five-Date Dan. Tell us how you got your name, Dan.
Dan: My parents’ name is Bouchard, too. (pause) Oh, you mean Five-Date.
Dan: Someone at work tagged me with that name. It happened after I’d dated a few women but broke up after five dates. Somehow, it got around that I only go out on five dates.
SUE: Just the women call you that?
Dan: No, the guys more. They’ll say things like, “Got a date tonight, Five-date?” Stuff like that.
SUE: Why only five dates? There must be a reason. Are you sick of them by the fifth date?
Dan: Oh, no. I’m still thrilled with them. That’s why I stopped dating them.
SUE: But why, if you’re having a good time?
Dan: Because I know if we keep dating, things will go sour.
SUE: But you don’t know until you try.
Dan: Yes, I do.
SUE: When did all this start?
Dan: Well, it first started with my dad. He said he wasn’t happy with mom when I was eighteen and wished he’d married Colleen. He dated her back in high school a few times. She moved away, and he never saw her again.
SUE: That’s interesting because I often think of a boy I dated back in high school. His mom was in the Army, so they moved around a lot. We only dated five or six times when they left for a base in Tennessee.
Dan: You see. You think you would have been happy, but you have happier thoughts of him now than if you’d married him. Your face lit up when you talked about him, just like dad’s when he spoke of Colleen.
SUE: How many women have you dated just five times, and do you really cut it off at five?
Dan: I made a list since I thought you’d ask me that. As best I remember, I’ve dated twenty-one women over the past four years. I started the five-date limit after college.
SUE: So, before then, you dated some women more than five times. What happened?
Dan: What usually happens. We started being negative, and the fun times diminished, and so did the relationships. I had three steadies for eight months to two years. Always the same—crashed. Neither of us was happy at the end, and I don’t have many happy thoughts about them. Glad I didn’t marry any.
SUE: What about the women you’ve had five dates with?
Dan: Nothing but fond memories. I often reminisce about them—what they might be doing and hoping they found love.
SUE: Are the women happy when you break up with them?
Dan: No, they get ticked. Being human, they want to know the reason.
SUE: What do they say?
Dan: Oh, things like: “What did I do wrong?” “Why, when we’re so happy?” “What do you want me to change?”
SUE: What do you say?
Dan: I tell them I only date five times and will remember the happiness we shared. I also tell them they’ll look back on our dates with happy thoughts, too.
SUE: Does that help them?
Dan: I don’t think so. They tell me it’s stupid to only date five times when we’re getting along so well. Sometimes they get a bit more personal and call me “stupid.”
SUE: So, what could you or other couples do to keep a great relationship going?
Dan: Always treat each other like on the first five dates.
SUE: Like what?
Dan: Do and say things that please each other. That’s being human in the best sense. Putting the other person first rather than yourself isn’t popular, but it’s great for relationships. Selfishness is a killer.
SUE: Yes, that is true. Looking out for number one can be dangerous for love.
Dan: Actually, treating the other person right is looking out for yourself. Good values often disappear after marriage.
SUE: Such as?
Dan: In dating, you always tell each other how nice they look and how fun they are. Laugh a lot. Thank them for dating you. Praise them for the goals they have in life. You encourage them for all kinds of things and always think the best. Most married persons have forgotten these. It’s also easy to forgive when you’re gushy about each other.
SUE: What is there to forgive when you only date five times?
Dan: Little things, and they stay little when you’re dating. I asked a woman, Sarah, out for sushi. She said, “Yuk. I hate sushi,” accompanied by a disagreeable facial expression. In excessive dating (over five times), I might have taken that negatively and said, “You could at least refuse nicely.” Of course, I didn’t say that because we’re getting along fine.
She caught herself and said she was sorry—again, something you do in the five-date plan. She added, “I got sick after eating sushi, so it’s not my favorite.” Apologizing calms anger, but few people do it unless you’re on your first five dates. And forgiveness is easy-peasy early in a relationship.
SUE: Interesting. Did you ever need forgiveness within five dates?
Dan: Yep. I showed up at 7:00 PM to take Sarah out to eat. Her roommate, Rebekah, answered the door and said, “Your date is at 8:00.” I asked her to apologize to Sarah for me and said I’d return at 8:00. I’m sure our date was at 7:00, but you roll with such things on the first few dates. It didn’t bother Sarah or me. Why get upset when you like each other so much. My parents argued over stupid things like that and wouldn’t talk for days—none of that for Five-Date Dan.
SUE: Think you could have been happily married to any of them?
Dan: Probably with any of them if we’d kept up our loving behavior and thinking.
SUE: But isn’t it possible to keep the love going you talked about?
Dan: Possibly. But it requires a remarkable man and a remarkable woman.