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|The Basic Rules of Dating: The Time Line (part 2)
By Talane Miedaner
The Two-Date Rule
This may seem counterintuitive in a chapter about finding the right person as quickly as possible, but it’s important not to rush from one relationship to the next to the extent that you miss out on some good opportunities. Give your dates a fair chance of two full dates if not three. The first date is the worst date in terms of assessing whether someone is going to be a suitable match for you. Most people are too nervous on a first date or are trying too hard to impress to relax enough to be themselves.
For this reason alone you should always give your date at least one more chance. Sometimes our first impressions are quite right and sometimes they aren’t. By the second date, you’ll both be more relaxed and in a much better position to determine whether the person is worthy of seeing again or not. We’ve seen too many Hollywood movies and now expect to be bowled over with passion and excitement on the very first date. Sometimes this happens and love bursts like fireworks, but sometimes it is a long, slow burn.
One client, a forty-something, vivacious brunette, had a history of going out with really drop-dead gorgeous men. When she and her boyfriend walked down the street, people turned their heads to look at him, not her. Although this man was very attractive, he wasn’t really her soul mate, and she knew it was time to end the relationship and start looking for her truelove. She signed up for Internet dating and started perusing the eligible men. One fellow seemed very interesting but she almost deleted his profile because he wasn’t particularly gorgeous.
He looked rather average. He wasn’t unattractive, but his hair was thinning a bit. I encouraged her to get past the look sand give the man a chance. They met and she discovered that, in person, he had real charisma and was much more attractive than his photo led one to believe. Yes, his hair wasn’t much to speak of, but his eyes were a stunning brilliant blue and captivated her completely. She still wasn’t sure, though, because she was convinced that she had to have a really good-looking man in order to feel sexually attracted to him. I urged to her to see him again, and sure enough, he started to grow on her. He was so thoughtful and considerate and charming, he became more attractive in her eyes and his real personality shined through. By the third date she wasn’t even worried about his looks and was smitten. They continued going out and are now happily married. She thanks me for encouraging her to look beyond her mental pictures and give him a chance.
The Eight-Date Rule
To many, this tip will sound old-fashioned. It was advice my mother gave me when I started dating in high school (she doesn’t even remember this, but I do!). Her sage wisdom was to wait to have sex until at least eight dates to ensure that the man you were with was worth the trouble and to make sure you weren’t being swept away by the stars on a particularly romantic evening. Like it or not, it is the woman’s job to hold back and give the relationship time to develop. Studies have proven that most men, if given the opportunity, will jump in the sack with just about anybody at just about any time.
I want to emphasize that this isn’t about being manipulative or coy, but rather about giving a relationship enough time that you can assess whether the man or woman you are with fulfills your top ten requirements, and it also allows time for intimacy to develop. You simply can’t rush intimacy. And, as a side benefit, in this world of instant gratification, it is refreshing to have to wait for something you want. It intensifies desire and makes gratification all that much more exciting and fulfilling.
You risk too much by having sex too soon. You could be rushing intimacy that your partner isn’t quite ready for. You could be setting yourself up for heartbreak if you fall for this person and he or she hasn’t fallen for you yet. You could be putting too many expectations on your partner for intimacy. For your own self-respect, it is a good policy to ensure that before you agree to have sex with someone, he or she is willing to be exclusive and not date other people. This will weed out those who are just looking for a good time or an easy conquest.
There’s nothing wrong with looking for a good time, mind you, but if you are looking for a committed relationship, then you don’t want to waste time with those who are still playing the field. If they aren’t ready or willing to commit to being exclusive, then under no circumstances should you sleep with them until they are. Dating is challenging enough without adding the complexities of sex to the equation. And men can’t help but think that if you jump into bed right away with them, then you are doing the same with every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. You may have been waiting for “the one,” but your partner won’t believe you if you say that you don’t usually act so quickly and were making a special exception for him.
Some women worry that they’ll lose the man if they don’t have sex fairly soon. They feel they have to have sex to create the bond and keep him interested. Wrong! If you lose a man because he won’t wait eight dates, then you never had him in the first place.
The Six-Month Rule
This rule is especially for women wanting to have children. It is very easy to hang out in a comfortable, fun relationship with a good man for a number of years. Before you realize it, a few years can pass and while there may not be anything wrong with the relationship, it might not be right enough for marriage. Refer back to your list of criteria every six months and see whether a Must Not Have has appeared that you weren’t aware of. Perhaps you’ve simply realized this isn’t the one. After six months, you should have had enough time to get a fairly good grasp of whether you want to marry your mate or not. If you can’t see future potential, then break up and start the dating process again.
On the other hand, if you think the relationship is growing and developing and has real potential, then you may want to give it more time. Mark your calendar six months forward and make a date with yourself to reassess at that time. You need to write it down because otherwise years could pass before you take stock. And you may not have the time to spare.
The Two-Year Rule
Again, this tip is especially for those women who want children. After two years, you certainly have had enough time to know whether or not this person is marriage material, and at this point, you need to either move toward future commitment such as engagement or move back to step one and start the dating process again. If you discuss getting married and your mate still isn’t ready, then you need to break up and start fresh. Sometimes, you will find that this will shake up your partner enough to realize he or she doesn’t want to risk losing you and will declare his or her intentions. Again, this isn’t about rushing—after all, two years is plenty of time for both of you to get to know each other. However, two years is also a point of diminishing returns in that more time spent together isn’t likely to reveal much more you haven’t already learned. So it is time for a real commitment or time for you to realize your partner won’t commit and you need to move on. Far better to learn that this person won’t commit now than it is to wait another two years. By that time you could have recovered from your heartbreak and be happily ensconced with someone who doesn’t have “commitment issues.” When people say they aren’t ready to commit, that typically means they think they might find someone “better” and are stalling for time. It might also mean your partner isn’t sufficiently established in his or her career (especially with men) to feel like he or she can provide for a family. Or it could simply be that your mate thinks he or she should feel some overwhelming urge or desire to get married and doesn’t because he or she is happy and perfectly comfortable with things just as they are. Most men don’t have any big urge to get married and they don’t have a biological clock that is ticking away creating a sense of urgency. For this reason, it makes sense to stick to the two-year rule.
You have now completed a very challenging and life changing coaching program. You have identified and fulfilled your top four needs, you’ve expanded your boundaries and raised your personal standards, and you’ve found that you now effortlessly attract much better people and opportunities into your life. You’ve discovered what your core values or passions in life are and have restructured your life so that you are living and expressing these values on a daily basis. You love what you do and you love your life. You are irresistibly attractive and are in great shape to attract the love of your life effortlessly.
Is there a down side to being so irresistible? Yes, you might find that you need to upgrade your friends. There is often a bit of fallout. One client never realized that she was a chronic complainer until she started working on her life. Once she eliminated all the things she had been complaining about, got her unmet needs fulfilled and was no longer needy in any way, and started doing work she was passionate about, she stopped complaining. After all, there isn’t much to complain about in a great life. She soon realized that her friends were still complaining and that their relationships had been based on mutual gripe sessions. You can gently inform your friends, “Let’s do ten minutes of complaining and then move on to the things we are happy about.” Or you might find that you upgrade your relationships in general. Do give people a chance, though, by using the four-step communication model you learned in Chapter 5.Remember, you were where they are not that long ago.
Other people find that they are suddenly attracting a lot of really great people and opportunities, and sometimes that gets a bit scary or even overwhelming. Our own natural power is often more than we realize, and that can be daunting. You will very quickly need to learn to say no to what you don’t want.
One forty-two-year-old singleton never expected to attract more than 150 matches on eharmony.com and was worried about how she would find the time to respond to them all. (I told her to ruthlessly weed them out.) One of them she is very excited about, as he ticks off all the right top ten on her list. You’ll tend to attract people who are just a step ahead or a step behind you, so if you’ve attracted them, then good for you! You can trust that the law of attraction really works and in the vast majority of cases, like really does attract like. It isn’t a mistake. If you don’t believe you deserve it, you might sabotage the opportunity. Get over the notion that you need to deserve something to have it. Trust that if you have attracted a great person or a fabulous opportunity, then that is because you are great and fabulous too! And, everything happens when you are ready, so even if you don’t feel like you are ready, if you attracted it, you are.
Finally, it is never too late. A client in her early forties found her husband while traveling for two weeks in Italy and brought him back to Manhattan. Another client had healthy twin girls at the age of fifty-five (although I don’t advocate waiting that long if you can help it). And I didn’t meet my husband until I was thirty-seven and was giving a seminar in London. I had my first girl at thirty-nine and the second at forty-one. So get out there and enjoy your newfound powers of attraction!
Other articles from the book The Secret Law of Attraction:
For more articles on dating after your divorce, visit www.divorcemag.com/articles/Singles_and_Dating.
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