As a recent graduate or simply someone between jobs, dating is a furious animal unlike you’ve ever known. All those steps on the road to getting to know that special someone are now riddled with land mines. Is it possible to ask someone out while jobless? Can anyone muster the wherewithal to impress the object of their desire when they don’t have an income? Unless you have funds squirreled away that you don’t need to use for things like rent or bills, or unless you’ve got a sugar mama on the side, being broke oftentimes means being single.

While it’s no easy feat, attempting to start and maintain a meaningful relationship while job hunting is possible, but just like those nauseating job interviews, it takes a strong stomach, some planning, and a lot of confidence to close the deal.

The “What do you do?” conversation is like a looming cloud, destined to extinguish the desire you’re attempting to kindle in this individual. When it comes up, I recommend being honest and forthright. But remember, that in situations like this one, it’s all about presentation. So dress the truth up a bit. Tell her what you want out of a job and be specific.

Also tell her your plan. If you’re really interested in graphic design and trying to find a way to get an internship while looking for a day job, that will speak volumes more of your integrity and ambition than saying, “Yeah, I’m just hanging out at my parents. They are the worst, but free food!” Of course, it helps if you have a plan as well, and this isn’t all talk. At moments like that, she’ll either give you a chance or start planning an exit strategy, so be mindful of how this news is delivered.

Those fun and costly moments that mark a budding relationship like giving her flowers or taking her to an expensive restaurant can be pretty tough without some income. No one wants to be that guy sadly ignoring the bill when it arrives. Instead, take this opportunity to make your outings an adventure. Things like beaches, parks, gardens, hikes and car rides are almost entirely without cost and can be all the fun and romance you require. Embrace the complexity of dating on a serious budget and see what you arrive at.

This might appear obvious or it might not but, over the course of your relationship, land the first job you can. Sure, this isn’t going to be your dream job (that comes later), but this is the job that shows you want to take care of yourself and allow you to dote on her. You’ll have time to find a better, more interesting gig. With her, though, the clock might be ticking.

Lastly, don’t deny your transition period. Own it. Denial is unbecoming of just about anyone. Try hard to find a job and try even harder to show her she’s not just anybody. Dating and job-hunting bear many striking similarities, but one thing’s for sure: you don’t come home to a job and tell it about your girlfriend.