Dating in today's world: Dos and don'ts

Dating and building relationships has never seemed more difficult or confusion. Learn some old and new insights that can help you. Photo: Couple on date

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 — Two new articles from psychologists offer something old, something new and all good on dating and relationships.

Dr. Jamie Long assembles tips and advice from six different experts addressing relationships and dating into a comprehensive list of substantive advice. Some advice goes beyond dating and into relationships on the whole.

Dr. Frederic Neuman examines the anatomy of dating and what happens during the so-called ‘dating ritual.’ Dr. Neuman applies mating rituatls from the animal kingdom and applies them to the kingdom of humanity.

Aspects of men seeking and choosing a mate remain somewhat primitive, but not to the point where males in a bar rub their hind legs together to screech and attract a female.

Homo-sapiens as a species has a cognitive criterion for deciding on a mate such as niceness, being interesting, sharing mutual interests, compatible sexuality and most important, communication capabilities that extend beyond the bedroom into the other rooms of the house. As we age, sexual interest declines, thus, communication and companionship become paramount.

Examining the beginning of a relationship where mutual attraction takes place is an interesting science. The seminal (no pun intended) moments can be a make or break experience. Our first level of attraction is attraction itself. If we do not find someone that meets our criteria of being physically attractive, we generally move on.

Dr. Kate Campbell suggests we try to avoid being influenced by our unrealistic expectations, or expectations from others. Dr. Campbell advises trusting our own intuition.

But man (and woman) does not live by interesting conversation alone. Describing someone in our lives by saying, “We’re just friends,” generally means a lack of physical attraction, which translates to lack of sexual attraction. There may be love but not “that kind of love” or “not in that way.” Some people feel guilty over prioritizing physical attraction. They believe this must make them superficial. Not true. 

Psychology tells us we generally make up our minds up about someone in the first seven seconds upon initially meeting. If we are seeking something more significant in our lives, we need to allow this phase to expand. To this end, Dr. Long tells us to be conservative in thought and speech in order to allow the other person to speak. We cannot learn while we are talking. Be light and thoughtful and remember to act in a polite and courteous manner.

Dr. Gina Marchando explains when talking about ourselves, we should avoid discussion of our failures, heartaches or the past. Folks want to know who we are now. Recognize this is the time to put your best foot forward. Being careful not to monopolize a conversation is very important, particularly when speaking about ourselves. It sends the wrong message. To get to know someone, be inquisitive and hold your personal horses.

Do not alter who you truly are to fit what you perceive someone else desires. Dr. Rebekah Doweyko says this thinking is a recipe for disaster. Authenticity is key to an honest potential foundation for a lasting relationship.

Marriage and family therapist Kristina Fecik confirms you should not complain or verbalize past failures. Leave your personal luggage stored away in your ‘negative locker.’

Licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Corrine Scholtz recommends we do not halt our personal activities and hobbies or give up our personal pleasures to accommodate a potential partner. The sacrifice may come back to haunt us.

The suggestions related to us by Long and other therapists are especially helpful to the mature mind when dating. Long suggests we broaden our definition of compatibility and to reduce being judgmental or quickly critical and take the time to learn what someone has to bring to our personal table.

In part two, we discuss what to do when things go well in the getting to know you phase, and you make the crossing into the Romance Zone.

 

 

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.


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