At our recent Online Dating talk, people were surprised to hear that it’s best to keep emailing, texting, and calling to a minimum. Otherwise, you’re falling in love with a fantasy. And if it doesn’t work out when you finally meet, it can feel like breaking up.
This also applies to Offline Dating. If there’s a a lot of emailing, texting and calling, before you know it — you’re in a relationship. The only problem is you don’t really know someone for the first 3-6 months, which is mostly infatuation.
It’s like you’re on drugs in terms of your brain chemistry. So you can easily miss the red flags. That’s why it’s better to take it slow and date lots of different people.
Andy Whaling’s (2001) dating advice includes: 1) date three people 2) space your dates three weeks apart 3) Keep it light on the first date (no talking about religion, health issues or the ex) and 4) Hang out in places where people share your values. Then when you meet someone you like, you’ve already got the important things in common.
Terry Gorski’s dating tips emphasize building the relationship in stages (Gorski, 1993). Can you hang out together. Do you enjoy certain shared activities? Are you good friends? Do you have romance? Are you both ready for a commitment?
But, here’s the tricky part. It’s also important to know what your type is and when you meet someone you’re really attracted to — RUN AWAY!
Because if chemistry hasn’t worked for you in the past, there’s a good chance it won’t work for you in the future. Initial attraction means the person has hit all the hard-wiring in your brain from your family-of-origin relationships (Lewis, Amini, & Lannon, 2006) So, unless you want a repeat of your past relationships, chemistry may not be your friend.
That doesn’t mean you have to live without passion, it just may take time to develop. But, the key is — it will be real. Because it’s based on who you really are and who they really are. So, it’s not gonna fade once infatuation wears off. It can actually get better.
And this doesn’t mean you have to go for someone you find unattractive. A good rule of thumb is — There are the 10% you’re dying to kiss, the 10% you’d die if you had to kiss… the 80% in the middle that’s where you want to date.
Gorski, T. (1993). Getting Love Right: Learning the choices of healthy intimacy. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Lewis, T., Amini, F., & Lannon, R. (2000). A General Theory of Love. New York: Random.
Whaling, Sunday Night Singles, 2002. Pasadena, CA.