It was their first date. Before dinner was over she was telling her potential partner that because of the abuse she experienced as a child, she needed a man who would never surprise her. She needed him to always be honest, even if he was worried that she might not like what it was he had to tell her.
Their likelihood for successful romance was doomed.
Why were they doomed?
Because they were “dating,” but she was jumping ahead to the “relating” phase of a relationship. There is nothing wrong with “relating,” but when it’s done out of sequence, it has no foundation to rest upon. The proper brain chemicals aren’t sufficiently in place to support dealing with serious issues.
We have defined three stages that romantic relationships go through. The first is dating, which might last a couple of months, followed by the relating stage, which can last approximately two years, and then mating, which can last our entire life times. To deeply understand how to succeed in each stage look at our Dating Relating Mating Course on Amazon.
Many couples make the mistake of starting the relating phase without having spent sufficient time in the dating phase. And many forms of counseling encourage this when they suggest that couples “work” on their issues. But that’s not appropriate in the dating stage. For one thing, to move into the relating stage we need to have the right chemical cocktail present in our brains.
Dating emphasizes Attraction
When we are in the dating stage we are releasing chemicals associated with lust and attraction. These include testosterone and estrogen, also dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. One of the healthiest ways we know to enhance the dating stage is to postpone jumping in bed too quickly. If we allow ourselves to swim around in this cocktail of lust for a few months we will develop a pattern of delayed gratification that will serve us for years to come. Think of it as simmering in maturity.
Relating emphasizes Attachment
When we shift to the relating stage of romantic relationships we require a different chemical cocktail. All the previous chemicals are still active, but now we see the introduction of what some people call “attachment” chemicals, which help us bond at a deeper level than “attraction” chemicals. These attachment chemicals include oxytocin and vasopressin, both of which are thought to help strengthen a couple’s bond.
In an experiment done with prairie voles, scientists gave male voles a drug to suppress the effect of vasopressin. The result was that the pairs’ bond diminished as the males lost their devotion to their partners.
So, before you start sharing “heavy” details about your past, and establishing your boundaries, and making the five agreements that couples need to be successful—wait until you have the right cocktail of chemicals in your brains. If your suitor is the “right” person, he or she will be willing to wait a couple months before having sex and willing to wait before you start “working on your issues.”
From a Reology perspective, we actually don’t believe “working on issues” is a healthy frame for romantic partnerships. We believe love can be easy if you learn the necessary skills and develop the necessary maturity, both of which we explore in our Dating Relating Mating Course on Amazon.