You've gotta click the pause button.
When guys are looking for or first getting into a relationship, they often say they're looking for someone without "drama."
But what does drama-free actually mean to them?
While starting fights and stalking definitely falls under the umbrella of “dating drama,” most men have a broader definition of the term. Unfortunately, many guys consider normal discussions about what is or isn’t working and showing emotion to be drama … at least in the beginning stages of dating.
Here's why they think that: Women are emotional beings. It's our nature. We shouldn't feel the need to judge, qualify, or change that fact. It's what makes us wonderful friends, supportive partners, and nurturing mothers. It's a very desirable trait in long-term, committed relationships.
However, it 's also a trait that can scare the bejeezus out of men in the first few months of dating.
Why? Well, some men tend to focus on decision-making and problem-solving, not talking through things, sharing their feelings, or acting on their emotions. For a guy, dating is confusing and scary enough, so when a woman says “we need to talk,” “where is this relationship going,” “what are you feeling right now,” or, God forbid, starts to cry, it can send him running for the hills.
Is it fair? Probably not. But the good news is, once you've reached the stage where you're in a committed relationship, most men are capable of having conversations about what is and isn’t working, as well as dealing with — and expressing — emotions.
Once he gets over his fear and confusion and feels secure, you won't have to focus so much on “mindful dating.” In the meantime, however, here are my tips to keep things drama-free in the beginning of a new relationship:
1. Accept that there are differences between men and women.
One of the biggest sources of dating drama is ignoring the fact that men and women think, act, and communicate differently. Without realizing it, women speak their own language and expect a man to understand. No wonder new relationships can be so confusing and frustrating!
2. Live in the moment.
Men love to enjoy the here and now. There will come a time, usually after several months of dating someone special, when most guys will start to evaluate their feelings and think about a possible future together.
Most women would prefer them to hurry up and make up their mind. After all, we want some assurance that the time we’re spending with a new guy is worth our while. From the first date, we’re usually wondering, “Does this guy have long-term potential?” And after a few weeks we’re most likely thinking, “Where is this going? Is he planning on getting serious or is he just having fun? Because if we’re not on the same page I need to move on.”
It’s at this point when many women make one of the biggest dating mistakes: asking him what he's thinking or pressuring him to define the relationship.
When a guy is in the beginning stages of dating you (the first three months, minimum), he’s living in the moment. Even if he hasn’t considered whether he’s in love with you, he knows he loves your company. My advice at this point is to go with it. Try to think like a man and just enjoy the present.
3. Don't make him responsible for all of your needs.
It’s not our fault. Society romanticizes the idea that it takes two halves of people coming together to make a whole. We’re conditioned to look for the person who “completes” us. We even refer to our loved ones as “my other half” — or worse — “my better half.”
The truth is, expecting that another human being can somehow fix us by filling a void within us is simply unfair. In reality the only way to feel whole is to complete ourselves by living a full and satisfying life.
Don’t let insecurity or low self-worth sabotage a relationship with real potential. If you're struggling with low self-esteem, make a commitment to work through these feelings with a counselor or use self-esteem building tools.
When you stop expecting your partner to be responsible for your happiness, you eliminate pressure and drama. A surprising bonus: without that pressure, most guys will freely and willingly do things to make you happy. It’s a win-win for everyone!
4. Act rationally, not emotionally.
Often, the things we have the urge to do or say in a moment of emotional weakness are NOT what we would choose to do or say when we’ve had some time to process our thoughts and feelings. We serve up a big dose of drama when we react emotionally to situations instead of taking a 5 minute “time out” to think things through and act rationally.
It takes practice, but if you learn to master the skill of putting your heart (emotions) on pause and checking in with your head (your intellect), you will spare yourself a lot of the heartache that you’ve been experiencing by repeating the same simple mistakes.
"But wait a minute," you may be thinking. "These tips are all well and good, but why should we have to do all the work? Why can't men meet us halfway and learn to accept our nature as emotional women? They want a relationship too ... why can't they make some of the effort?"
Because most men won't. They’re simply not thinking about everything and analyzing everything like women are. (As I mentioned in Tip #2, they’re too busy living in the moment!)
As frustrating as it may be, you can’t control the way men think and behave. But you DO have control over your own actions.
So don't despair! You don't have to play games, turn off your feelings or act like a robot to "lure" a man. When you make a commitment to date without drama, you're allowed to feel and honor all of your emotions just as you normally would, you'll just learn not to let yourself or your actions be controlled by them.
You'll make decisions and take action from a place of confidence, rather than weakness or desperation. You won't spend another night alone, crying or waiting by the phone. The feelings of neediness will disappear. You will get out of your own way and allow yourself to have a successful relationship.