Don’t Rush in Dating! (You Are Worth Waiting For)
I think the biggest hurdle people face in dating is time.
Most people, I’ve noticed, think that the clock is ticking, or say, “I’m not as young as I used to be,” or “There’s not as many to pick from.” People give time so much energy that it begins to create a hurry. We feel like, “I’ve gotta find that perfect mate, and jump into the sack,” or rather they jump right back into the emotional baggage. I call that “jumping into the emotional sac,” not necessarily the bed sack. Maybe we’re trying to fill an emotional void or figure out how to fill some type of empty nest. Maybe we’ve just had a bad relationship, and now we’re moving on. Whatever it is, in the world of dating… we’re searching. But for what?
To be honest I think a lot of the time, for both men or women, as soon as there’s an interest (even if it’s not a big spark with your heart flipping), even just a little bit of a ping, we tend to latch on. Because there’s that same fear, that desperation, that “There’s not enough out there” mentality.
Time ends up being the stealer of true, genuine relationships.
Because of this, I think we’ve forgotten what dating really is. Most of us communicate by phone so there’s less direct conversation with people. Instead, there’s social media. It moves us further and further away from actual quality moments together.
In my experience, if you really care about somebody, and there’s a true connection… you don’t need to rush. You don’t need to hurry. If you really love someone, you’re going to take your time getting to know them, to understand them, and even to find those same interests (without the internet, without your cellphone). Have a real face to face connection.
Think about it, what happens when you rush?
We focus on all the wrong things! We get distracted, lost, maybe get into an accident, we may even get hurt (or hurt someone else).
Are you afraid someone else is going to come and snatch them up? Damn, if they get “snatched up” then more power to them. Clearly, they were not the one for you, because you are worth waiting for. It has to start with a powerful search of who you are, and your willingness to love yourself enough, whether you are male or female.
We have to be mindful of doing our own self-analysis when dating. In order to be a better partner, friend, and all-round person, we have to put ourselves first. We have to really be willing to show up for the relationship. When we are not truly aware of loving ourselves, how can we really be objective about what we are hearing from someone else? And likewise, if your head’s not on straight, are you really going to be the person you put down on paper? Do you really have a clear view of yourself?
Never sacrifice your happiness to be with someone else.
I know I’ve found myself doing this before! I remember everyone going to this Greek food restaurant (I for one, do NOT like Greek food!) Sorry for all of you out there who like Greek food. All of a sudden, I found myself trying to choke down the food…and needless to say, I wasn’t happy. After we all went out to eat, I found out that almost everyone else didn’t like Greek food either, but none of us spoke up! We all felt like we had to go, because it was his birthday, even though he was the only one who liked Greek food. I later found out he would have been perfectly happy with going to an Italian restaurant (but he just didn’t know that we all hated Greek cuisine!) None of us were willing to be honest.
I think its learning to love ourselves enough to say, “You know, have a good time. This isn’t really my thing.” The more we begin to honor who we are, the more confident and strong we will be when we meet someone new. Its learning to not sacrifice and instead learn to compromise and give and take. Go places the other person likes, go places you like, and then go places you both like.
When in a relationship, or a potential relationship, you have to learn to find your voice, to speak up. Have a willingness to be vulnerable and say, “I really don’t like that.” If it’s someone you’re truly meant to be with, they’ll be grateful you were honest and then you both can move forward in a happier, stronger, lasting relationship.
Before starting a new relationship, here are two big questions to ask yourself (gulp):
1. Do I love myself enough to wait (and not let time rush me)?
2. Am I really willing to invest in myself and also this person (who might be the one)?
If your answer is yes to both of these, I can guarantee you will learn a lot about each other, and yourself, if you’re willing to take it slow. It’s about following what I call, “First Date Protocol.”
So, here are my rules to First Date Protocol:
#1 Avoid sex. Yup, you heard me right. It complicates the hell out of things. Women see it as an act of love, while many men don’t. Instead, it’s about learning what gestures may be their acts of love (because everyone’s is different). We have to be careful not to give in to giving up the “goods” before you’ve even seen their real goods (or they’ve seen yours)! I tell everyone I’ve ever worked with, “If you can’t wait—then I can’t help you! But if you can wait, and put time aside, I guarantee that you will be much happier because you’ll be in control of what’s happening (and in more control of yourself).” You won’t find yourself slipping into a relationship before you even know someone.
#2 Actually go on dates. Create moments where you actually get to know each other, and talk. Go for a walk, go out to eat, find things that interest both of you. Do you like old book stores? Do you love jazz? Is there a free concert in the park? There’s always free things going on around you that are fun, and together you can learn what each other likes. It’s about figuring out where you come together and have similar likes so that you’re not compromising all the time because you didn’t speak up and get to know each other first.
**Quick tip: Avoid movies in the beginning. You’re not talking when you’re in a movie. You’re going to be done, get in the car and that’s it. Maybe if you have dinner first, and actually talk, then go to a movie….that’s different. But in general, I recommend not going to the movies in the beginning.
#3 Never Stop dating. We change over time, we’re not the same person we were at 30, or 40 or 50. We change as we move through our life experiences. And hopefully for the better if we are self- loving, loving our imperfections, and other people’s imperfections. When you start to love them, you start to know them, and when you start to know them, you start to love them. And that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
The most important thing to remember is to spend moments getting to know each other without giving in to time, insecurities, low-self-worth, or fears of being alone. I’d rather be alone in my life, spending time on things that I care about, than to sacrifice my values and my beliefs for someone else. I believe we can always find someone who brings out our best. We just have to take the moments to be fearless, and be willing to slow down. What the hell, time’s already there. At least you’ll know that if you’ve given self-love a chance, you’ll find (at least those who I’ve helped and worked with) an opportunity to love each other.
Here's the big question everyone asks about First Date Protocol, “How long does first date protocol take?”
I always say, take it 30 days at a time. Let it build. And yes, it can be hard not to rush!
Month 1: Go on dates, but don’t involve intimacy. Intimacy can muddy things up and make it difficult to be clear about yourself, the person, and the relationship as a whole.
Month 2: Give yourself the opportunity to see where you have a lot of similar likes. It makes it fun, you start to find those things you like about each other, and you become more comfortable. This is when you can let the spark begin, and where the intimacy can start to build. Holding hands, taking walks, doing things to be in sync with one another.
Month 3: Usually by the third month is when you start to get more intimate with each other. So how do we get to know each other without involving sex? You might be in a hot tub together, lay in a bed, see each other’s bodies but don’t let it go to the point of sex. Talk about the things you like, and what intimacy looks like to each other? Have that conversation.
Usually within the first three months, you’re moving towards a gift.
So instead of giving the gift right away, and trying to back pedal, work at it. Create a build to the relationship. Intimacy isn’t like “Oh, now we’ve done it, so now we’re intimate.” The intimacy, the closeness between the two of you should be building all along. Once you’ve moved towards physical intimacy, this is where the work really begins. You have to start working to rebuild excitement and spontaneity in the relationship. Typically by 3 months people are ready to move forward in their relationship, but it’s different for everyone.
Sometimes you have to slow down long enough to work through the wounds you’ve each had, take time to really heal and build trust with this person, before going to that level of intimacy. In a sense, the exes are gone, and now you’ve gotta figure out how to not repeat, or recreate, the exes you left. And that’s why slowing, and following first date protocol is so important.
As a bonus, here’s my list of 13 Easy, but important, Questions to Ask on a First Date. (These will either intrigue them or scare the hell out of em!)