Dating psychology: Crossing into the romance zone

Dating and building relationships has never seemed more difficult or confusing. Learn some old and new insights that can help you. Photo: AP/Kiss

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 — The first kiss seems to provide great insight in many regards and for some can make or break the potential of a particular person from becoming a potential partner or may serve enhance potentiality. Poems, songs and many articles have been written and performed about the so-called magical first kiss.

“Pucker Up! How to Be a Better Kisser” by Joanne Barker describes the first kiss as crossing a “zone,” if romance is truly in the air and many people use this kiss as a barometer of things to come. However, perhaps far too much emphasis is placed on this kiss because someone may be too nervous, shy, drank a bit too much, or is simply not a good kisser, which is a resolvable problem.

If sparks are flying and the first kiss is inevitable, start slowly by perhaps light, tender kisses around the face and not on the lips. This applies to both sexes, but keep in mind that studies show women believe a kiss as a sign of tenderness and affection and many men feel a kiss is a prelude to sex.

Today’s so-called hook-up culture can ruin the back and forth, the getting to know each other mini-courtship. Many folks believe they know someone from internet conversations but do not realize the written words lacks emotion, laughter, intellect of a first response. People can show themselves as having these qualities online but are lacking the spontaneity of true character traits which would be revealed in a face-to-face encounter. Online learning of one another can be termed as “perpetual resume” building or persona (the qualities we wish others to see) building.

Online relationship building can be comical. People can say they are in the wholesale food business (pizza driver), drive a Porsche (when borrowed) and live in a nice home (with the parents). People who embellish themselves often hope when they meet their date, enough of their true selves will make them the hero of the day and all will be forgiven.

Another serious issue is the change of societal expectations of opposite sex behavior in dating. In years past, females would determine the attractive qualities of men, their vocation as sustainable and respectable and how they interact with their family and friends and a host of similar criteria.

Today, females are as aggressive in pursuit of males as they are with females and as a result, this applies to sex as well. Thus, many men are content to live with their parents, play video and computer games, maybe work, and they no longer feel the need to establish themselves as worthy of a particular female. Of course, this is not a universal issue, but significant enough to note.

In all cases, give a relationship time. If the awkward moment of the first goodnight after a date seems forthcoming, immediately put out your hand for a shake if you are not attracted to a date but do not shut off or condemn someone who may become a very good and supportive friend in your life. The term “only a friend” is insulting to the friend and self-demeaning. True friends are hard to find and only diminishes possibilities and trivializes the importance of friendship.

Most important is self-esteem. If a date does not work out as you wish, make others. If you are rejected, consider the source and circumstances. Rejection does not mean you are unworthy. It simply means the date was not the opportunity for compatibility with a specific person. That’s all.

Keep in mind another person awaits you. When this happens, then concern yourself with other factors such as vocation, accountability, good charter traits, even temper, parenting potentials, and so on.

You can do it if you allow for time for consideration, calm approach and objective thinking because you are a beautiful, wonderful, caring person.

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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