How many times have you started dating somebody and things were pretty much close to perfection…and then you start feeling all sorts of uncertain about any future possibilities with this person? So… you check out, move onto the next lady (or gent) on your list, all the while giving yourself accolades for the courage to walk away and be true to your feelings. “Good for you,” you tell yourself… “it’s better to be alone then with someone you weren’t quite sure about.” And perhaps it is in the long run – but if this is how you’re feeling within the first month of dating someone – I’m here to tell you to ride it out.
According to Dr. John Gray (a relationship God!) in his book, “Mars and Venus on a Date” (absolutely brilliant dating book!…time to put that on my site’s reading list!) there are 5 stages to dating.
4.Intimacy (doesn’t have to mean sex… fyi)
Attraction- you like them. You’re dating lots of people, but this one particular person is a bit more intriguing than the rest. You assume the next natural move is to pursue that individual into the stage of exclusivity and give it a real go. So…that’s what most of us do – but then you start getting all mixed up in your head.
If you’re a guy maybe you start thinking those other girls who were paying you a lot of attention just a few weeks previous to your ‘exclusivity’ are sounding real tempting. (aka: ‘grass is always lookin’ a little greener’ effect) Or if you’re a girl maybe you start asking yourself very premature questions as to whether or not this boy could in actuality make you happy eternally?
Now here’s where the game changing bit of knowledge comes into play. When those thoughts creep on into your mind early on in the dating process…know that, that is an actual STAGE of dating! We are supposed to feel “uncertain” about things. It is actually the natural progression of a blossoming romance. Anxiety and a lack of confidence may come abruptly and all of a sudden – or slowly creep in as you find yourself repeatedly avoiding spending time with your new ‘fling’ (it’s about to be over so it could only be described as such…right?).
The real key is to acknowledge that uncertainty is bound to happen early on in a relationship. Acknowledge it and move the freak forward! You gotta let it have the chance to move past that stage and see if there is a real connection. Now if you’re feeling all queasy 6 months into an exclusive relationship don’t go ignoring those red flags etc…but if initially you liked the person, you were attracted to them, you envisioned a possible fun future with them at one time not too long ago…KEEP DATING THEM! If you’ve been careful not to pursue other relationships during the ‘uncertainty’ stage then the future will become obvious. Shades of gray will become a black and white choice. You either want to get to know them more… or you don’t. Make your decision then.
So should you stay or should you go??? If you have to even question the choice and it’s not blatantly obvious – ride it out and give things a chance to become clear again. They will…you’re just going through a stage.
Hmm. Thanks for the latest post. I see your points about moving forward and then not calling things off prematurely, but they seem to overlap a bit in the “uncertainty stage.” Doubts don’t disappear when you’re exclusive. Maybe you could explain how long one should wait generally before acting… or not acting. I think most of us agree that it’s unwise to jump into relationships too quickly, and that it’s unkind to postpone an inevitable break-up. Clarification please.
I get where that line could get a little hazy as doubts persist. I think if both parties are willing and participating fairly (both are investing time, effort, and sacrifice for the other) you give it a ‘transfer’ period. Give it 6 weeks just like on the mission -to check things out fairly. I don’t think that’s a waste of anyone’s time and it’s long enough to come to some conclusions as to whether you want to move onto stage 3: Exclusivity. It’s a mistake to feel like you’re “leading someone on” by persisting that long…you aren’t. You are DATING…that’s exactly what DATING is! That’s my brief answer…it’d be a great topic to dive into further in a future post…and perhaps I shall. Thanks for the comment. xoxo-T
The 3 Stage model has helped me as well (with just about any relationship)
1) Unconscious Attraction
2) Conflict (typically 3 months into a normal relationship)
3) Conscious Commitment (or a Conscious Love Covenant)
Said another way
“Fear is the Faith that things will not work out”
“Faith is the absence of Fear”
“1rst principle of the gospel is NOT Faith, it’s faith in Jesus Christ”
“Faith in Jesus Christ requires getting to know him & his attributes”
and know we are back to the Stage 2 😉
To apply this to men:
The temple suggests men need a strong relationship with Christ 1rst.
This then brings new meaning to the word to “PRE-SIDE” or.. in other words, before you invite a woman to join your side as you live in this Fallen world… have a covenant with God in place that you can invite her to join & your boundaries with the world already established.
To apply this to women:
Women need to think more about the world they want to live in – the life they want to create, than the man they want. Men are basically the same anyways, we all want sex & respect & as little drama as possible. Anything we say or do.. is to get back to these things.
To sum up:
(in my opinion) lds men (who have been taught to be nice) need to learn how to STAND /FIGHT for a STAGE 3) & lds women (who have been taught to be independent) need to learn how to FALL for something and enjoy it!
He is not going to be perfect, but if he is kind and thoughtful, if he knows how to work and earn a living, if he is honest and full of faith, the chances are you will not go wrong, that you will be immensely happy.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley
I am wondering if you have a list of commonalities that couples should have? Is there perhaps a line to say, “not enough of these, so see ya”…? I was recently in a pretty great relationship but three days before my birthday, he approached me about breaking up. He gave at least three reasons–side note: I am not a big fan of the number 3–and one of which I can respect. Despite that, now I am wondering… what commonalities are we *supposed to have…? Any insight would be great, mam.
“Soul mates’ are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”
Granted Pres. Kimball was speaking of the false idea of ‘soul mates’ when he said that quote but I think it answers the question you were asking. Sure it’s great to have a lot of things in common with someone we are dating, and it maybe even temporarily ‘feels’ more fun- but overall I think the only commonality that is an absolute necessity is a testimony of the Gospel. Everything else is more or less negotiable…
Hope that helps. And ps. #3 was probably just self projection anyway!