So, can a guy really have eyes for only one girl? The short answer here is MAYBE! Think about this: You have just been seated at a trendy new restaurant and are eager to begin an evening of great food and great conversation. You don’t need to look at the menu — you chose your entree on the restaurant website days ago. Your date doesn’t look at it either—apparently for a very different reason. He doesn’t look at you either; his gaze is focused on another woman seated nearby at the bar. Given that this is your first night out together, does his focus (or fixation) indicate he is being obvious or oblivious?
If you have ever been in this situation, out with someone who seems to notice everyone but you, know that you are in good company. Although it is hard not to take personally, most people have found themselves in this awkward predicament at one time or another, wondering what to do, whether to say something, or how to best get through the evening. Whether you are out to dinner, a ballgame, or any other public outing, partner inattention can range from distraction to fixation. A date who is engaging in embarrassing staring and ogling of relational alternatives is the easy case, where clearly the first date is the last. The more challenging scenarios involve subtle glances, lingering eye contact with others, or other types of ambiguous behavior where you worry your suspicions reflect your own insecurity rather than the intentions of your partner.
Particularly with couples whose primary method of interaction has been online, a failure to connect visually on a first date is unnerving. This is because eye contact during the getting-to-know-you phase of a relationship is very important. There may be cultural explanations and social rules that explain visual behavior in many cases. In others, research shows that fixation reveals motivation. Gaze research has focused on the link between looking and thinking, and accordingly reveals some suggestions for discerning the objectives behind the optics.
Understanding the range of possible explanations for visual behavior is important — But should be interpreted in context. Culture, social conditioning, insecurity, and a wide range of other factors may be at play. Hence the necessity of moving slowly and getting to know the person behind the gaze. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, you want to become acquainted with the character beneath the physical characteristics.