“Men are microwaves and women are slow cookers”. If you put this insight into the early stages of a relationship, it’s easy to understand why so many relationships crash and burn. Most men date based on instinct and it’s simple – they see someone they are attracted to and engage in pursuing her. Us gals will spend time getting to know the guy, ascertain his intentions (i.e. does he just want to sleep with me?) and evaluate his husband potential and our feelings for them. Because we tend to ‘filter’, it’s more of a gradual process. Of late, I’ve had several girlfriends experience the crash and burn relationship. The crash and burn relationship goes like this – Guy meets girl and showers her with affection and attention…says he’s ready for commitment and makes plans 6 months in advance. Girl slowly develops deeper feelings but by the time she ‘falls in love’ and shows her commitment to her man, he begins to withdraw. This is just a simplified version of the chain of events. Perhaps this happens because of emotional maturity or incompatibility. Here, we asked our singles to share their thoughts.
The early stages of a relationship are so fragile. What’s one thing that men/women do to sabotage them?
Nick: There are many, many things that both parties do to sabotage the early stages of relationships. I feel like expectations in many areas of life cause the most pain and angst and this holds true at the crucial beginning stages. It is important to get to know who the person is without projecting your own wants, needs, hopes and dreams onto that person.
Iona: I agree with Nick. Placing high expectations can kill the romance faster than a onesie in the bedroom. As you get older and all your friends are starting to settle down, there’s a lot of pressure to find ‘the one’. And so I’ve seen several of my girlfriends compromise their values because they so badly want it to work out with whoever has just come into their life. I think in the early stages of a relationship , you should focus on getting to know each other to see if there’s something there beyond physical attraction and yet so many of us spend way too much time over thinking things.
James: Many women seem to think that falling in love is like what you see in the movies but in the real world, we’re hooking up through Tinder or RSVP. There really isn’t anything that romantic about it but that doesn’t mean romance is dead…it’s just different from the movies. Some women will doubt a relationship because it’s not like the movies and kill a relationship before it even begins.
In the early days of courtship, should a gal let a guy lead?
Nick: In my experience, it is traditionally the mans role to lead and I adopt that role readily. I however love it when a woman takes charge and organises a date, communicates what she does and doesn’t want.
Iona: I’m old fashioned and still believe in chivalry so it’s a simple yes for me. Though courtship isn’t one sided – we should be doing nice things for you too…like giving you man flowers or something of equal sentiment. haha
James: Being ‘wooed’ by a girl is a nice idea but when it comes to women we are interested in, we enjoy the chase. Let us woo you.
Texting or calling. When is it appropriate to engage in either? How often is appropriate?
Nick: Once numbers have been exchanged you should contact the other person either within a few hours or no later than the next day! The 3 day rule seems absolutely ludicrous to me especially as beautiful women tend to have a lot of male suiters and unless the man has made an amazing impact, the man will be quickly forgotten. In terms of ongoing communication, it really depends on the dynamic, but every other day seems like a good way to go.
Iona: I’m a slow cooker so once or twice a week to start is a good pace. Anything less than that and you lose momentum.
James: It depends. If I’m really into someone, I’ll want to see them all the time. Typically 2-3 times a week sounds about right. Some people will use their work schedules as an excuse for not having enough time to date but I think if you are interested in getting to know someone, you’ll make the time.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.