I know, I know! You’ve met someone who you’re va-va-voom attracted to, so what happens next? If you’re like most of us, you’ve been out with several people but it didn’t quite work out. When you meet someone with whom you’re potentially a good fit, be very careful in the first two weeks of dating. Rushing things or getting too anxious can blow the entire operation, so I will give you a few basic rules to follow during the crucial first two weeks.
1. Don’t binge on each other.
When you think of binging, you probably associate it with eating. But the truth is that one can binge on anything: substances, shopping, or even seeing each other. One of the most common pitfalls for men and women in the first stage of dating is to make the gigantic mistake of seeing each other too frequently in the first week or two. It is perfectly normal to want to see that new person night after night, or a few times in the first week. After all, how often do you meet someone to whom you’re physically and emotionally attracted? Not that often, right? If you see someone too much in the first week, you are binging on that person, and you don’t have any real idea who that person is after just meeting them. Moving too quickly in the beginning is one of the most common ways people wreck a dating relationship.
2. Text less and call more.
Honestly, the savviest thing you can do when you meet someone you like is to talk on the phone a couple times and get together for a few hours in the first week – nothing more, nothing less. You need to protect your feelings in the beginning, so why invest so much so soon? The more cautious you are in starting a relationship, the better you will get to know the real man or woman you’ve met. When you do connect, talking on the phone is much better than texting because you can get a much better feel for the other person’s personality in the course of natural dialogue.
3. Don’t talk to others about the person you just started dating.
Of course, it’s inevitable to mention that you met someone you like to a best friend or family member, but keep your announcements to a minimum. Don’t tell more than a couple people, and don’t go overboard in talking about it to the one or two you do tell. The point is to keep the amount of time you spend with or talk about your new love interest proportionate to how secure you feel that the relationship will last. In other words, spending a lot of time with or talking about someone new may prove to be a total waste of energy if it fizzles out in a few weeks, so why get so worked up about it? Again, protect your feelings and protect your time!
4. Keep an open mind.
Though I don’t you, I know enough as a relationship psychologist to know that people who want relationships will usually find one if they are willing to do the work: to put themselves out there and to be open minded. Approach a new date as flexibly as possible, telling yourself that the people you connect with the most aren’t always the ones you would have expected. Suppress any judgmental inner voices and give people who seem kind the benefit of the doubt, even if they don’t have the image or appearance that you’ve envisioned for your future partner.
Reminders to take with you
Men and women dating must focus more on longevity than on immediate gratification when starting a relationship. Couples who have successful long-term relationships are patient, for example. When they first met, they probably didn’t feel overwhelmed with anxiety to sign the Partner for Life Contract so quickly. For this reason, my overall advice to you is to slow down and take dating day by day.
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve