Meeting someone new for a first date, we all know the feeling: the excitement in your mind complimenting that nervous tickle in your stomach. Fast forward to somewhere between the third and fifth dates. You like them and you’re pretty sure the feeling is mutual. You know enough about them at this point as you’ve asked and answered all the basic questions, like “what kind of music do you listen to?” and “what do you do for fun?” This beginning stage of dating is thrilling. You’re still new to each other that you learn something new about them each time you see them, but also familiar enough to not beat around the bush when expressing interest.
In fact, expressing interest is a crucial part of this beginning stage. You and your date are most likely not mind-readers. If you want to share something, you say it. If you feel something, you show it. But expressing interest can be tricky as you decipher where to draw the line between being too comfortable with this new person and embracing the rush of feelings you get around them. Often we end up self-sabotaging during this stage of the game. Self-sabotage is a twisted way we protect our feelings and ourselves – it’s natural but can lead to the end of a blossoming relationship. So here’s how to NOT sabotage your new and exciting relationship:
To Google or Not to Google?
We’re living in a time when everyone is easily searchable. Whether you’re putting his or her name into your default search engine or you’re 82 weeks into their Instagram photos – stop before you’re in too deep. You’re dating and getting to know each other. There’s no reason for you to know about her vacation in Italy last summer or that he has three sisters unless he told you himself. A research project of this scale can also lead to checking out their exes. Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to someone your guy or girl was with previously. This might take you down a messy road and may stress you out if you think (based on curated social media) you’re not their typical type. I work with many men and women who notice patterns in the people they date and decide it’s time to try something different. You both are taking a chance in this beginning stage of dating. Embrace the unknown. Resist the urge to search!
Over-texting, Over-calling, and Retaliation.
You went out on Wednesday, talked on the phone Thursday, but now it’s Saturday and crickets. It has been two full days without any communication. DON’T PANIC, it’s ok and here’s why. As a matchmaker, I can attest that the most successful relationships come from taking things slowly. When dating starts off hot and heavy chances are you will fizzle out just as quickly. Over-communicating and over-expressing too early in a relationship can disrupt the natural flow of things and dull down in-person conversation and physical attraction. Ignoring text messages and avoiding phone calls to prove a point doesn’t work if you’re actually interested in someone. Retaliating is just playing games and will likely be taken as disinterest – which is not what you want. Realize your potential partner has a life (as do you) and some things are better left unsaid (or at least said in person).
Expectations vs. Reality.
Since childhood, fairytales and classic movies paint an expectation of what love and all things romance should look and feel like. Not much has changed with social media and romantic comedies coming into play. We can’t help but compare our relationships to everyone else’s – it’s unavoidable. This comparison puts unnecessary pressure on a new relationship. For example, I know a woman who via social media has the perfect boyfriend. In every photo, they are embracing and look incredibly happy whether at home or on some amazing adventure traveling across the world…and to top it off, he just bought her a new car. I ran into this woman a few months ago and to my surprise, she was alone – no magical boyfriend in sight. So I asked about her fabulous life and I didn’t expect what came next. “He’s awful, I’m unhappy, and everything is for show!” Not everyone’s beautiful pictures come from a beautiful place. Take the high road; give the benefit of the doubt, and remember everyone moves at their own pace.
Be Open and Be Honest – Be You!
It can be terrifying to be your genuine self in a relationship. For some, the “take me as I am” mindset comes naturally – but most people I meet struggle to put their best self forward in the beginning of a relationship. The fear of rejection is common and prompts questions like: Am I ready for love? Am I doing things the right way? Am I loveable? If feelings are really there, it is normal to want things to work out and to feel unsure about the future. Combat these nerves by confidently sharing the things that inspire you in your life with the person you are dating. If you really love your career or have a passion for cooking, talk about it! Suggest new and fun date ideas that relate to something you are interested in. Most of all, don’t be afraid to stand behind your convictions and be open to discussing them. Be you from the very beginning. Would you want to be with someone who is not being their true self? Probably not. So don’t dwell on your fear by acknowledging your insecurities and then letting them go by embracing what makes you happy.
With anyone I work with, I always stress that the key to setting your new relationship up for success is really allowing yourself to wipe away your past and start fresh. Don’t forget your experiences – take them as wisdom, but don’t let them keep you from experiencing something new. You’ll never get ahead setting someone up for failure, so don’t look for what’s wrong with someone before you have the chance to really know him or her. Ask questions instead of assuming, keep your ego in check, be open to this new person, enjoy the joy that comes from someone having real feelings for you, and very importantly…never discredit a good man or woman who wants to enjoy the experience of this new relationship with you.