So it’s the third date and you’re wondering, “What’s the next step?” I mean after all, you two lovebirds know each other so well. You both love sushi, foreign films, and Trader Joe’s! And let’s not forget about those hormones. He’s hot, she’s gorgeous and the tension is just building. But taking that next step would feel a little premature if you weren’t at least in a relationship first. So somewhere between Date 3 and Date 4, you two become an official item. You might sound it from the rooftops. You might celebrate in secret. But you are a couple, nonetheless, committed to each other, whatever that means.
Sure, a guy and a girl can split up any time they want to, but one doesn’t suffer too many heartbreaks before they promise to be finished with relationships forever. There’s a reason that parties of a newly failed relationship reject the idea of love ever again, even if the sentiment is temporary. Relationships are more than a title. With relationships come expectations that perhaps we aren’t ready for. Even though the commitment between bf/gf isn’t exactly a sealed covenant, it certainly mirrors one.
It’s learning to love selflessly, accepting those things about one another that we can’t stand, and bonding on deeper common grounds than a list of favorites. It’s about being compatible enough that when life brings changes, and when we ourselves change, our foundations for why we have respect for each other don’t crack. It’s knowing how to argue. Don’t we chase love with the hope of ultimately finding “the one,” settling down with him or her, and being content for life? Obviously this isn’t everyone’s objective but most of us look to have a wedding and a successful life-long partnership.
Well if this is what we’re after then it only makes sense that we should not be hasty to commit in relationships so flippantly. Ultimately, every experience, every relationship is either preparing us for “the one,” or unbeknownst to us is “the one.” So shouldn’t people spend more time getting to know the people they’re dating before being so quick to commit to them? The people we decide to commit to should be those with whom we’ve built something truly meaningful – people who have proven worthy of sharing our time, our families, our values, our bodies.
It takes more than 3 or 4 dates to realize this. While I personally believe that we should see lots of people, test the waters, and date around in order to gain knowledge about the things we like and dislike in others, I don’t think that means that people should become girlfriend and boyfriend immediately. Those giddy euphoric feelings wear off after a while and when they do, we often realize that we’ve shared our entire lives with someone who was never meant for us and we do it over and over again with every new relationship. It’s because we rarely take the time out to create friendships, witness each other’s responses in tough circumstances, etc. We just rush into “falling in love.”
We use these titles as if they grant us privileged access into the married life but we do it without sifting. When everything pretty is gone, what are we left with? A person that we can’t actually see ourselves with. And we have to break up with each other and dismantle everything we built together. It’s so official. Just as we’ve staked our claims in each other’s lives and pitched our tents, we’re now forced to disassemble.
No more cohabitation; return those keys. No more visiting with the family. No more of the special little things you used to do for each other. No more of the quirks that only the two of you shared, those intimate moments that you promised to keep between you forever, not just physical but emotional. You’re usually left with memories, a lesson, and baggage to carry into the next relationship. I know most people won’t agree with me and that’s okay. I just have a different outlook on how people do things.
I believe that true love can happen on sight. I don’t think every couple needs to have begun as best friends prior to dating in order to be successful. No, two people don’t have to know every last detail about each other prior to commitment and yes an ex-couple can move on as friends after the relationship fails. Personally, I’ve experienced the downfalls of moving too quickly into relationships and the complications that follow a break-up. I now say to give things time to become something truly fragrant, beautiful and rich.
Everyone has a different recipe. But I just think that chicken is always better when it marinates.
When a man wants to impress a woman, he automatically creates this mental list of do’s and don’ts. Sometimes he’s totally on point about what works and other times, he’s clueless. Guys often have misconceptions about a female’s likes and dislikes. I can’t generalize all women and assume that they think like me but I will gladly impart the three things that guys usually get wrong with me.
1. He thinks being masculine means that he’s not allowed to cry. Ever. No, I obviously don’t want to date a crybaby. But if something touches a man deeply and he’s moved to tears, or if he’s hurting emotionally, I think it’s very masculine to be able to show that vulnerability. There’s always that small group of people who will misinterpret my statement to mean that waterworks are welcome daily. Honestly, if you’re crying about everything – I don’t think I need to make a list of specific situations – then you may really want to get your hormonal levels evaluated. I’m being very serious. Please, don’t be an emotional sap that can’t handle an argument, or the Titanic after the 20th viewing. On the other hand, a man who cries once in a while certainly doesn’t get booted from my circle. In fact, one of the most touching things I’ve ever seen is when a guy friend of mine cried in front of a large group of people. He was simply overcome by emotion at the time and he expressed himself, cleaned up, and admonished his audience not to get accustomed to that. It was manly yet raw.
2. He thinks I want a movie romance. The perfect line at the perfect moment. The 10,000 compliments per night – it’s all really sweet but it can be a bit much sometimes. I’ve been out on enough dates and received enough texts to know that this is a typical move when a guy really likes a girl. I’ll give you some examples here.
Scenario: We’re texting
Me: Man it’s chilly today.
Him: Wish I were there to keep you warm.
Scenario: We’re on a date
Me: Look! The moon is beautiful tonight.
Him: It’s not as beautiful as your eyes.
Scenario: 8.5 months into the relationship
He sends me a million-page monologue via text about the depths of his love for me…
Ahhh! This stuff drives me crazy and not in a good way. Maybe it’s because I’m awkward as Kuthrapali and I really don’t know how to take a compliment. But I guess what I’m trying to convey is that cliches don’t work for me and I really don’t care for too much mushiness. I appreciate gestures of romance and chivalry and kindness. I even love poems and creative gifts with lots of thought that show he cares. But that manufactured, movie-like, scripted-timing, must-insert-perfect-one-liner-here thing must die. I like conversations that don’t always lead back to one’s fascination with me. If I’m admiring the moon, let’s admire the moon.
3. He tries way too hard to be sexy.
A naturally smooth guy is sexy. Yes! I love a dude with some swag. But if “suave” isn’t something that a guy is gifted with, that’s okay! If I’m dating you, or even talking to you, it’s not because you ooze coolness. If you’re a dork, I like you because you’re a dork. If you’re quiet, I like you because you’re quiet.
Let me add my disclaimer: If you’re a creep…no one wants a creep. What I’m saying is, I’m trying to get to know the real you. So don’t cheat me out of learning who you are and don’t cheat yourself out of meaningful relationships and friendships by putting on facades.
In the event that you’ve shed all of your layers and a girl doesn’t feel like she’s compatible with you, it’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you should change. Just move on to someone who likes your quirks. It seems obvious, but there have been too many times where I’m talking to someone and he’s trying to add all of this unnatural swag to the conversation when he knows he wasn’t gifted with it. I already told you, I’m awkward! This just makes things more awkward. I have no idea what to say in these situations.
There have even been times when we’d be in the middle of a kiss that’s getting a little bit steamy and he just has to go and ruin it by talking in this deep, slow voice with a line that I’m sure he heard on a film somewhere but it was perfect in the movies so it’s obviously perfect here. Then he’ll start getting overly theatrical with the kiss as if there’s a camera crew behind us. No! Stop! Cut!
Long story short, I like real guys. No facades, no artificial sexiness, no monologues. You can even cry now and then! But I need real conversations, true personalities, not Hollywood put-ons and perfectly timed compliments. I don’t think I’m the only woman who feels this way but I’d love to know what others think. Maybe I am the only one. Still, I think it’s safe to say – Guys, just be real and most of us will find that sexy enough.