Good advice for new, prospective relationships is to neither take it too fast nor too slow.
Too fast means that after one interaction you decide that this is your soul mate and you hear wedding bells ringing in the distance. This is the one of the very best ways to scare aware a possible romantic connection.
Too slow means that even though you both felt some sort of connection, there is a lapse of a couple of weeks before you interact again. Without a sturdy base of shared memories to build upon, this lack of momentum can make the relationship fizzle before it even starts. When too much time lapses between the first few interactions, you basically are starting anew on each date.
So, what is the correct timing to get a relationship off the ground?
What is important to keep in mind is that men and women have very different ideas about the early days of dating and their meaning. While woman often read too much into every nuance or comment and may assume an exclusive relationship is starting because three to four dates in a row have taken place, men, on the other hand, are usually still in the get-to-know-you phase and do not want to feel penned in quite yet. So, when a woman starts having expectations of the man (such as seeing him every weekend), the man gets the itch to run and unhook the yoke he feels being tightened around his neck.
The following is an excerpt from Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story, which is now available as a paperback at this link on Amazon.com as well as an e-book via my website.
This story exemplifies how differently men and women see beginning interactions and how this couple could not find the correct balance or momentum, and it eventually caused the budding romance to come to a screeching halt.
A man and a woman meet for lunch. He kisses her hello. She is a little taken aback because the usual order of things is a handshake in the beginning and maybe a hug and a little peck, if there has been a lot of communication beforehand. The meal progresses, and they really hit it off. An hour into the first date, he asks her if she wants him to get tickets for a show a month away. She, again, is a little taken aback but agrees to go out without him; after all, she can cancel at a later date. They get ready to say goodbye, and now it is time for the hug! Throughout the week, they see each other four more times, at the gentleman’s request. A little over the top, but they are enjoying each other’s company. Now, the natural assumption here would be that they are going to continue this relationship. Think again!
In the meantime, the woman has sent the gentleman some thought provoking e-mails and perhaps reveals a little too much about her inner psyche. She thinks to herself, “How can we know if we want to continue to see each other, if we don’t let the other see who we truly are?” This was a mistake. The lesson is don’t reveal too much, too soon.
The following week, she calls him and leaves a message on his answering machine asking him if he wants to go to the movies the next day. He doesn’t return the phone call to say yes or no. She leaves another message two days later, which asks him to let her know one way or the other if he wishes to continue seeing her. Still no reply. One more try on her part — an e-mail basically saying that she was confused about his lack of courtesy. Still no reply.
A few weeks later they run into each other, and the gentleman admits the reason he didn’t return the phone calls was that he was feeling penned in. But let’s review the scenario. He asked her out five times in one week, and he asked her out for a date one month away. Who was trying to pen whom in? And who closed the door when emotional intimacy entered the scene?
The truth is that these were two people who did not know each other very well, and they went too fast, too soon and ended up getting scared. The woman, who was very hurt by the lack of response, also mistakenly made it all about her. In reality, the gentleman had his own issues with which he was dealing, and it was more about him than anything to do with the woman.
The lesson? Try to place yourself in the other person’s position and figure out how he or she might interpret seemingly innocent comments and actions. With strangers, it is very easy to take both actions and words in a different manner in which they were intended. And remember to try not to take things personally because it is not always about YOU!