Success Over Survival in Dating
I may be a woman, but I know it’s hard to be a man in today’s society! We are culturally on the cusp of change and, though the change may be needed, the process of getting there isn’t easy. How are men supposed to reach that balance between a gentleman and a “bad boy”, the provider and the women’s lib sympathizer.Just opening the door for a woman can cause huge conflicts.
So if you are going to go out on a date, how are you to know what to do and what to avoid? Let me tell you, it doesn’t get easier just because you are willing to learn. Woman don’t know what they want either, and they aren’t that way just to make it harder on men. The incredible ability to change opinions distinctly and absolutely, only to change it again just as resolutely the next minute has nothing to do with intention to be difficult and everything to do with our acceptance of our own adaptability. Life constantly changes; so do we in order to accommodate it. Once you understand this, you are ready to date.
The number one rule of dating a woman is expect change. Just as men have been cultured with confusion, so have women. We are trying to figure out how to balance the “Madonna” and the “whore” that we have been told you want. As we try to accommodate you, we are trying to not lose ourselves. That gets very difficult to juggle, so be flexible in your expectations and you won’t get emotionally side swiped by the constant change.
Understand motivation. There is a reason you are going out with this woman, and there is a reason she is going out with you. Not everyone is looking for the same thing at the same time. Some women are just looking for “Mr. Fun” and others want to find the future father of their children. Maybe you want kids eventually but you don’t’ want to settle down now. Approaching the relationship from an understood perspective is more important than agreeing on it. I ended up marrying my “study break” because we kept in constant communication about where we were and where we wanted our lives to go, even though it was completely against our expectations.
Be realistic. Most of us want to seem less shallow than we really are. If asked, we will say that money and looks don’t matter as much as personality, but that is just not true. They might not be the highest priority, but they matter. You don’t have to have been chiseled by the gods or an heir to the Firestone fortune. You do need to pay attention to your appearance and stability. Cleanliness without obsession is imperative. You don’t want a nasty greasy haired woman, don’t present to her a unkempt man. Flashing money might be inappropriate, but letting her know you have worked the same job for several years will get you further than saying the “L” word.
Check your teasing! Teasing is a good way to get someone to relax, but it can go too far too fast! Pay attention to her. If she has brothers, she is likely to respond well to teasing, but if she is shy, she is likely to be easily embarrassed. What are you teasing her about? Some stereotypes are funny, some that you think are funny, others find offensive. When in doubt, add the wink. You know the one. She won’t be sure if you are being sarcastic or funny, but she’s less likely to be upset. Watch your hands too! Some girls might like to be poked or tickled while others will freak out if you just tug on their hair. Start off slow and gentle, and stop if you even think you might be going to far.
Pay attention! Not just by looking only into her eyes every time she opens her mouth. Make it a point to observe those non-verbal signals. Is she leaning in or away? Is she touching your arm every chance she gets, or is she looking around the room like she’s bored even though she’s talking to you? Are her answers long or short? Short answers are a way of telling the listener you don’t want to talk about a subject. Each individual has specific ways in which the react to various stimuli. The more time you spend with her paying attention, the more you will learn about the tells specific to her.
Get comfortable with communication. Most of the people I know are not mind readers. They require input from others in order to understand them. Communication is more than just questions and answers. Showing an interest in her can be sharing what you know about her activities, hobbies, career or family and friends. Discussions about what you have in common can be as revealing as those about the things you don’t have in common. When you do ask a question, try to make it open-ended. Ask it in such a way as to allow for more than a one word answer. Some people talk better when they are not looking at one another, like in a car. Others communicate more when they say nothing. Take it slow and easy. Learning to communicate with this person will be well worth the patience, especially if the relationship progresses.
Keep it simple. Especially on your first date. In this age of technology, many people feel like they really know one another before they ever actually meet in person. Just because you hit it off on e-mail doesn’t mean the reality will go as smoothly. Physical responses don’t always comply with cerebral ones. No matter how well you think you know the other person, keep your early dates fairly short and uncomplicated. These first dates are about getting comfortable with one another. If someone is worried about it creating the prefect scene, they are likely missing some of the details that make communication so fruitful.
Mutually disregard expectations. As humans we have been cultured to expect things even when we know we shouldn’t. Different people expect different things, and instead of guessing at what the other person is hoping, get rid of it. Actually tell her when the date starts that today, you just want to spend some time getting to know her. Tomorrow can be something else, but this moment is all there is. She will appreciate your candor and likely be able to relax and enjoy herself, giving you a better impression of what she’s really like.
Banish ghosts and shadows. Our past has an impact on our present. That’s just the way of life, but that doesn’t mean you need to share the causes for all your characteristics. You may have just buried your last girlfriend, but your new date doesn’t want to hear about it. Maybe in a future time it is something that should be discussed, but not on your first dates. In general, we don’t want to hear about your other women. You don’t want to hear about our previous conquests and petty problems, don’t expect us to want to hear about yours. Remember, even though you may not be putting your thoughts into words, she is likely picking up on your non-verbal signals as well. Keep your mind in the moment to help avoid the longing looks and wistful sighs that can end this relationship before your date even begins.
Most importantly be yourself, not what you think she wants you to be. Sooner or later the real you will need to surface, so if you genuinely like her, you will only be a disappointment if you pretend. It’s part of the human experience to exaggerate or twist the truth when we are trying to impress. If she is not impressed with you as you are, then she is not the right one. You need a partner who complements you and motivates you to be what you want to be, not someone who forces you to conform to her standards. You want the truth of her, so do her the courtesy of the same.
Dating is difficult for both men and women, though society still puts the bulk of the responsibility on the men. Just being human can be challenging enough, but to try to find a compatible partner in an ever-changing world nearly impossible. We constantly re-invent ourselves in our self discovery and find new ways to share it with others. Relationships are difficult because we barely understand ourselves, much less one another. But this is the joy of life as well; when it’s bad, it can soon be good again, and when it’s good it can be made better. It’s never boring and it gets even more exciting when you find someone to share it with!