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If the vibe is good, go for first kiss

I've been dating around for some time now, and I'm wondering when you think the appropriate time is for a first kiss?

--J.P., Cheektowaga

The first kiss should happen by the third date.

One of the key aspects of developing a lasting relationship is physical chemistry. You may sit across from someone and feel attracted to them, but you won't truly know if there is physical chemistry between you until you share your first kiss.

The first kiss will tell you whether you want a second kiss, and consequently, another date.

I think casual dating is a great way for people to make new friends and ultimately meet a loving partner. It's important, though, to respect the physical boundaries of your date.

Some people are uncomfortable with kissing on the first date, which is completely acceptable. It is an intimate experience that some consider to be even more intimate than sex. So, you don't want to lay one on him or her in the middle of the parking lot after the first-time meeting for a drink, but I think it's appropriate to go for a kiss after the second date.

The key, though, is that it has to be the right moment, with the right amount of good tension building up to it. When there is an obvious attraction, the first kiss will almost always come naturally, with both people in the right state of mind at the right moment. When you're saying goodbye and he or she stares at you, or hesitates getting into their car, as if they're waiting for something, it's a good indicator that they want to kiss you.

If you are feeling some hesitation or apprehension from your date, it might be a sign that he or she is not really feeling the chemistry, and their body language will let you know to either keep your distance or to move in a bit closer. If someone doesn't want to kiss you, they won't leave any room for a kiss to occur.

If you think you're getting the vibes that it's OK to go for the kiss, and you do, and your date reacts unfavorably, don't take it personally. It's just a sign that it's time to move on.

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Introducing the kids

I am a 44-year-old divorced mother of two young children. I want to get back into the dating scene, and I'm wondering when and how I should introduce my children to someone I am interested in dating exclusively, or possibly marrying?

-- D.L., Tonawanda

This is a very important question, and something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

First, the timing. It's best to have been dating someone exclusively for at least six months before introducing him to your children, and to be sure that an exclusive long-term relationship is what you are looking for with this person.

And when you do introduce them, do it casually. This will give him and your children the opportunity to get to know one another and become familiar. The transition, then, from mommy's friend to potential stepdad will be smoother, as he will not be a stranger to your kids, and chances are that viewing him as your friend first will make it more likely for them to get along.

Children, especially younger kids, tend to develop strong bonds with people their parents are dating, and can be equally as crushed as their parents if things don't work out. It is imperative to take things slow.

It is also essential to remind your children that this new gentleman is not here to take the place of their father. Kids can get pretty defensive of their "other" parent when a new partner is brought into the picture. Do not talk badly about your ex-husband in front of the children, and never force them to refer to your new partner as their father.

The process of divorce and remarriage is difficult and different for every individual family, but it can be equally rewarding for kids to have two sets of loving, healthy, and happy parents.

Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions. Please e-mail questions to queencitymatchmaker@gmail.com and include your initials and hometown.

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