What a Better Marriage? Stop Touching

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What a Better Marriage? Stop Touching
If you’re single and searching for Mr. Right, touching too soon can break your budding romance.

If you really want an answer to that, go down to your local courthouse and interview people coming out of divorce court. Ask at least ten people these two questions: 1. Were you sexually attracted to your partner when you dated? If the answer is “yes,” go to: 2. If you knew then what you know now about this person, would you have married him or her? The answers to those questions tell the story: It’s easy to fall in love! You can be powerfully sexually attracted to, and deeply in love, with someone whom you later discover you do not like, respect, or share values with. Here’s why.

The process of falling in love has almost nothing to do with the process of assessing compatibility (including issues such as character). Natalie’s story shows how confusing the two can lead to life-altering mistakes. Natalie is 39 and now a single mom of three children under the age of five. Before she met her current husband, Natalie tattooed the name of her boyfriend Adrian on her upper arm. That’s how sure she was that she would be with him forever, even though they knew each other only a week before moving in together. They broke up nine months later.

Three months after that, Natalie met Lucas, and not having learned her lesson about impulsivity, married him after only six weeks of dating, then promptly got pregnant. Six years and three children later, they are divorcing after the fourth time one of their arguments turned physical. “He threw me on the ground, pinned me down, and screamed at me. I knew then that I couldn’t stay married to him,” said Natalie. In addition to their inability to discuss their issues without an escalation, it turns out they were incompatible in multiple ways, most of which Natalie might have discovered if she had dated Lucas longer.

Would it surprise you to know that Natalie is highly educated? She’s completing a graduate degree even as this story is being written. She’s highly intelligent, which shows how powerful touch can be, bypassing intellectual processes that might have warned her that she was making a mistake. Yes, she had sex with Lucas within the first two weeks of their relationship. And yes, like most women, the choosing was over for her at that point. And that’s the problem.

Most women don’t want to wake up the next morning after having sex with someone to whom they are strongly attracted and acknowledge that it was just sex. The drive to mate is powerful for women, and the bonding that occurs with sex seals the decision. He’s now her boyfriend, with all the unspoken commitment that is wrapped up in that, even though she barely knows him. If he’s a good guy with her best interest at heart, it might work out, although most likely it won’t. Men tend to fall in love with women they have to pursue. A “done deal” on the first, second, or third date isn’t motivating to him, so even if he’s a good guy, the odds are he will move on to a relationship that presents a greater challenge.

Article contributed by
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Nina Atwood

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Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC
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Location: Dallas, TX
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Specialties: Communication Problems, Couples/Marital Issues, Dating/Being Single Support
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