Reading articles or books on dating do's and don'ts can be confusing. How long do you wait to text or call after the date? What do you or don't you say at the end of that first date? What topics are safe to discuss and which ones are taboo?
Dating rules abound. Some are helpful for the dating blockheads of the world, but for any seasoned dater, trying to remember all the rules can interfere with the natural flow of the date.
Previously, I have written an article or two on the dating strategies such as "8 Conversation Mistakes That Scare Him Off." Generally speaking, I follow my own advice, but not always! Some of my articles may seem to be common sense, but at times in dating and in life, the common sense piece seems missing. Hence, I write and coach about what "should" be obvious.
On a recent date, I decided to have some fun and ask the man I was with some questions about "rules" to gather information from a guy's perspective. His response, "Throw the rules out the window!" "Wow", I thought. I need to get a handle on this concept.
When a person — in this case me — has had a lot of dates, which so often come with a lot of disappointment, I find myself over-analyzing what happened. In most cases, the issue was simply a matter of chemistry, or lack thereof. When one person develops an attraction and feels a connection, it is uncomfortable if that feeling is not mutual. Fear of rejection can become overwhelming. This is where the trouble begins, in my opinion.
I have been on both sides of the chemistry coin. I have felt little to no chemistry and sensed that the guy had it for me. I have also felt attracted to someone, only to be told after he "disappeared" that he had found a connection with someone else. The awkwardness of either situation is unpleasant, but searching for "rules" to deal with either side of that coin doesn't help much.
So putting do's and don'ts aside, how do you apply common sense in these cases? When I have found myself with a guy who I sensed really liked me but to whom I had no physical attraction, I have hung in there, hoping the chemistry would develop over time. My experience shows that it rarely does.
When the chemistry is lacking, I have found it difficult to be honest about this, not wanting to hurt the other person's feelings. I hoped he would magically fade out of my life by becoming interested in someone else, or eventually just lose interest in me. In retrospect, stepping up and as gently and gracefully as possible, letting him know that although I enjoyed his company, I didn't feel "that connection" would have been better for us both. It takes practice and courage, but it is the right thing to do instead of continuing to string someone along. This is one of those cases where common sense can be challenging, and therefore becomes a lot less common.
When someone tells me the truth about finding someone else with whom the sparks are flying, it may hurt a bit, but I do appreciate the honesty. And if I tap into the evolved part of me, I am happy for him; with courage, I am happy for both of them. So I wish him well and say to myself "next!"
What happens when you do meet someone and sense there is a growing mutual attraction? Do you quickly go to your favorite online dating advice site and review all the "rules of engagement" to make sure that you don't screw up? Do you call your friend and review all that has happened to get outside perspective and tips to make sure you do the "right thing" on the next date? All of this worrying about the rules is enough to make anyone crazy. I believe this is when the phrase, "Throw the rules out the window" kicks in.
Remember common sense, remember polite behavior, be honest, have courage and go with the flow. Allow the date to unfold as it may without sorting through mental notecards of rules that you just read from some book. Be yourself. Be authentic. Relax into yourself and allow the date to unfold slowly, naturally, and spontaneously. Avoid forcing anything or deciding ahead of time what to say or do. Have fun. Enjoy flirting and laughing. Above all, "be here, now," without jumping ahead in your mind. Keep Reading...
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