The Purpose of the First and Second Dates
I'm going to give you some great advice here, like nothing else you've read on this site. Read and think about it carefully.
The purpose (to the woman) of the first and second date are different. I'm assuming you've made a date, just a simple meeting for coffee or something similar. Because she's accepted a date, it means you are physically attractive enough to her for her to go out with her.
Now she wants to find out other things about you and find what potential you have for her. Being physically attractive enough to be acceptable for a date doesn't mean you are (yet) boyfriend material. She has to check you out.
The purpose of the first date is very simple. It's just to see if she can get along with you. Can you chat together? Are you interested in what she has to say? Are you interested (or at least show an interest) in the things that interest her.
You make small talk, you talk about music, movies, leisure activities and things like that. Just "getting to know you" stuff. Because you are already OK looking to her, and because all she wants to find out is if you get along together, there is no reason to try and impress her with anything else.
At the end just say that you enjoyed talking with her and say goodbye. Don't try to set up a second date.
The next day just call to say how much you enjoyed meeting her and that you'd like to do it again sometime. If she's positive then tell her you'll call again in a few days to set things up. A few days later, do call her, and set up the second date (lunch or something similar).
Now, here is the crucial bit.
The second date is the deal breaker. The second date is nothing like the first date. Now she already knows that she gets along OK with you, she wants to dig deeper. Her hidden agenda here (hidden even from herself in many cases) is to scope you out for possible liabilities.
What is she trying to find out?
1) whether you have the wherewithal to be a good match for her 2) whether you're dependable or not.
What you have to do here is sit down by yourself and being brutally honest with yourself write down your weaknesses and liabilities (e.g., baggage from previous relationships, commitments to a child you might have, lack of income, whether you are indecisive and find it hard to commit etc...).
You will have your own personal weaknesses. Write them down and try to find a way of handling the conversation when it turns toward these things. Try not to lie, but find ways of skirting around the worst stuff. If you can't say anything without revealing these weaknesses, then kick the issue downstream and say nothing at all beyond "I haven't really given that enough thought, I must think that through and get back to you on that" (or something similar).
Now here is the CRITICAL part.
You must resist the urge to open up to her about your weaknesses on the second date. This sort of thing comes much, much later in a relationship, when it helps increase intimacy. At this stage all it does is drop you out of the running. You haven't established a relationship yet, so there is no need to open up about these things yet. Be polite and tactful, but resist the urge.
And it WILL be an urge. Why? Because of the way women operate.
On the second date they will very likely open up to you about certain things. They will gain your confidence in doing so. When you reveal a small weakness they will be very understanding, very sympathetic, very agreeable. You think you've found a sympathetic ear. You think that you are getting along great. You think that you've really hit it off and that intimacy is building already. So you open up to her.
You've fallen into the trap.
The second date is an interrogation. But it isn't done with force or threats. It's done with sympathy, agreeability, concerned looks, nodding the head, understanding.
Women are experts at this type of covert interrogation. Even they don't know they are doing it. They are just following a biological program. They may feel a genuine bond with you during the date. BUT, after the date, they will think about what you've revealed, and they will reject you.
It's hard not to resent this. You feel as if you were set up. She opened up to you, she gained your trust, you opened up, now the door has slammed shut.
It hurts like hell.
But, try not to resent her. It's just her following her biological nature in looking for a mate without too many liabilities.
How do you deal with this? Re-read what I read above about being aware of your own weaknesses. Then be aware of how by agreeability she may get you to reveal those weaknesses. Then find a way to deal with the conversation if it takes that turn.
If you can do this, then you are through to the third date.
Remember, the second date is a covert interrogation.