The allure of new relationships can certainly call us in, but usually not without some over-thinking. Avoid these common—but far-too judgmental—missteps for dating success.
We all continue dating because we’re convinced there’s Mr. or Mrs. Right just around the corner – but years of dating can occasionally leave us a little jaded. Men and women are both guilty of judging relationships too soon and potentially missing out on that partner they so desire.
Here’s what happens:
1. Judging Physical Characteristics
Physical attraction in a relationship is essential to passion; however, sometimes we take it a bit far. Women often think they have a “type” they can’t go outside of: he must look like the guy in her dreams for the past 15 years or it’s a lost cause because he couldn’t possibly be right.
Men probably daydream about their future mate a little less than women do, but also tend to think they have a type. I still remember the episode of Full House when Danny Tanner broke up with a woman because her ear lobes were uneven. Judging based on physical attributes is an easy way to miss out on a girl or guy who could be a great match. Learn to look past the imperfections and you might find Mr. or Mrs. Right a lot sooner. Truth be told, in 50 years their hair color will have changed, they probably won’t go to the gym every day and their skin will have a wrinkle or eight. The way they live and love is what matters. Stick around to see if it’s matches up with your life.
2. Comparing a New Partner to an Ex
I know a lot of women—and a lot of men—who forget about their exes completely until they start dating someone new. Then it’s, “My ex knew I didn’t like mushrooms in my omelet,” or “He always took the trash out without me asking,” or even occasionally, “I just miss someone who knew I didn’t want to be talked to first thing in the morning.” The list could go on and on—but they all lead to the same conclusion: a new guy isn’t going to know your habits immediately, so slow down and let them get to know the idiosyncrasies.
Guys do it too, but a little differently, it’s less about the new person not being their ex than their similarities. They tend to find all the ways women are the same—the good with the bad, they say, and they often find the bad. Take each relationship for what it is—a new, exciting adventure—and leave the past where it belongs.
3. Confusing Attention with Infatuation
I once knew a guy who stopped seeing a girl because she responded to his texts too quickly. I know another guy who stopped seeing a girl because she was too available to go on dates when he asked. I know yet another guy who bolted because after a few dates, she asked him to grab a drink instead of waiting on him. What do all of these stories have in common? The female counterpart was giving the male her undivided attention—which is what we do when we’re into someone.
I also know women who have stopped seeing a guy because he contacted her too soon after a date, or wanted her to meet his friends after a week or his mom happened to be in town after a month or two so she was invited to brunch. Attention simply means a person wants to spend time with you—which is good. Someone along the way decided dating was about games, which taught us that we’re supposed to stay at a distance for a while; this isn’t necessarily true. A potential partner is supposed to want their other half around.
4. Judging the Conversation—and all of the conversation
“But there was an entire minute where no one talked. Is that weird?” I’ve heard too many friends say this after date three or four. No, it’s not weird—it means they’re getting comfortable around you, and sometimes silence means comfort. Resist the urge to fill the awkward silence and embrace the break in conversation to really get to know someone and their mannerisms.
A person can learn a lot from body language. There’s going to be a lot of quiet in the span of a relationship, whether it’s because of a long day at work, traffic on the way home, disagreements with friends and family or even fights with you. Learn how your partner reacts in those quiet moments to support them when they need it.
5. Friends of the Opposite Sex: Not an Added Bonus
Women and men tend to shy away from girls and guys with too many friends of the opposite sex for a number of reasons: they’re worried their new counterpart must have dated one of their friends previously; they’re worried one of their friends wants to date their new date or they’re just a little insecure. Bottom line: they’re out with you.
Even if they dated one of their friends before, they’re not out with them now. If one of their friends was into them but hasn’t acted on it, they’re not going to—they probably would have when they first learned they were seeing you. Insecurity is hard because all of these reasons are basically fueled by it, but it’s something we all need to learn to get past. You scored a date with a pretty great guy or girl—and they showed up. Embrace that fact.
6. Jumping to Red Flag Conclusions
So you know their favorite color and what they get from the brunch menu, but you don’t know how many girlfriends they’ve had or why they don’t talk to their mom more than once a month. There’s a reason for everything—ones you’ll find out if you stick around long enough. Life is complicated and sometimes people choose to keep their cards close to their chest until they’re sure. Just because they’re not sure now, doesn’t mean they won’t be soon. If it feels right, wait, without pressure. Patience is a virtue, after all.
[image: via louiscrusoe on flickr]