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Identifying your stage of dating
Are you seeing someone, or dating? Is the man or woman you're seeing your "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" or just a friend? In the many stages of dating, there are so many facets that can lead to confusion. Here is a little help with explaining exactly what stage you're in while dating.
Enmeshed in Confusion
Dating and relationships have become so complicated in modern times. Dating used to be a gentlemen asking the lady out, and he would pick her up with a little token of love, like flowers. The romance would commence with proper etiquette while wining and dining the lady. A date ended with a farewell kiss on her hand, and when the man promised to call her later for a second date, he would.
For most of us singles today, the "friends with benefits" option has been offered (or is in effect) with any potential love interests. The less emotions are involved, the better. And don't be too clingy or attached because you have to prove that you absolutely don't need anyone in this life, but your own independent self.
Why did things come to this? I love romance!
With all the new terminology of couples and dating these days, one has to check the Urban Dictionary to find out what stage they're in with someone. Can you call someone your "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" after the third date? How many dates until you can post "in a relationship" on Facebook? Are you "seeing someone" (hanging out without spending money), or are you "dating" (planning dates where you spend money for restaurants, etc)? Or should you just click on "it's complicated" if you can't figure out yourself where you stand with someone? Next thing you know, Facebook will have a "friends with benefits" or "no strings attached" option to choose from. Monogamous long term relationships have become as rare as the condor. Romance sure seems to be endangered, as well.
Don't forget the "rules" of dating where you can't show, tell, feel or express any desire for someone because then you will give up your edge on a pending "relationship." Men need to chase the woman, but they are known to string them along even if there's no interest for emotional intimacy. Women have to compete with other desperate single women for the dwindling pool of single men (add financially successful, good looking or smart to the mix, and women will throw their vaginas at him, hoping that she will be given the rose by the sought after bachelor). After months of sleeping with said man, the woman will wake up feeling used, foolish and disappointed when she gives her "where is this relationship going?" speech and he disappears.
Want to stop the madness?
Then stop playing the "games" and tell any prospective partner right away what your relationship goals are. Maybe you are too busy and want a hookup when it's convenient for you-- say so. Or perhaps you plan to consummate the marriage on your wedding night. Avoid heartbreak and unnecessary time spent with the wrong person by communicating up front your expectations. When you're fishing for the right mate, throw the wrong fish back into the water the minute you notice it's a barracuda instead of a trophy fish.
John Gray, Ph.D., author of Mars and Venus on a Date, breaks the dating process into five stages. First, it's attraction, stage two is uncertainty, followed by exclusivity, intimacy and lastly, engagement. When couples skip stages, or are at different stages at one time, the relationship can fail when the scales are off balance. If a couple goes from attraction straight to intimacy (friends with benefits) they don't get to find out if the other meets their needs. Or if they agree to be exclusive-- hence why one person (usually the woman) gets hurt when she has feelings of love unrequited by her lover.
According to Gray, a couple needs physical, emotional, mental and spiritual chemistry in order to find a true "soul mate." Physical chemistry, obviously is what we notice right away in the attraction stage. It's those pheromones you pick up on that say, "yeah, I'd do him." Emotional chemistry is when you feel that a partner "gets you" and you sense the affection is reciprocated. Mental chemistry is when you can have a stimulating conversation with someone (or connect with each other in interests). Spiritual chemistry is the reflection of your own beliefs and values-- or "meat and potatoes" for a lasting soul mate.
If you are confused with what stage you're in, it's okay to step back and evaluate your relationship. If you find you are ahead of your partner, it's not too late to slow down and go back a few stages. If you communicate with your partner and get mixed messages, it's perfectly acceptable to cut your losses and move on to a better match. Be realistic and most importantly, be honest (with your partner-- and yourself). Your significant other will respect you for being forthcoming, and so will you.
What exactly is a significant other? I think anyone from friends with benefits to your spouse can be called one. But I'm not sure, after all, I think men should do the whole "dating ritual" with women so they swoon under the moonlight. I'm an endangered breed, like condors.
Mars and Venus on a Date
- Amazon.com: Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide to Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Lovin
Amazon.com: Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide to Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship (9780061044632): John Gray: Books