Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stages of Dating

Dating relationships go show common patterns. At each stage during the dating process, each half of a couple often makes a decision (sometimes more thoughtfully arrived at than others) to move forward or to end the dating relationship.

Some dating stages take longer than others to go through and some people take much longer at each stage. Unfortunately, some people don’t fully experience and process each dating stage as an opportunity for personal growth or to make a healthy evaluation about the relationship or about themselves. Others are more open and aware to learn about themselves and their choices during each stage of the dating relationship.

Dating Stage 1: Initial Meeting/Attraction

Dating relationships have to start somewhere. The initial meeting may take place over the internet, through friends, in a church or social group, at a party or bar or any one of a myriad of many different places.

Different arenas for meeting potential dating partners allow for different opportunities to get to know each other and see if there is enough curiosity or interest to take it to the next level which would involve arranging a second or third meeting.

Dating Stage 2: Curiosity, Interest, and Infatuation

During the second stage of dating, attraction and infatuation are most pronounced.

Early attraction often involves the physical attributes of the partner and include things like outward appearance, body type, interests and personality traits. At this stage, the attraction may not be too “deep” and each half of a couple is generally putting his or her best foot forward. Differences are not noticed or are dismissed with thoughts like “not a big deal” or “she will change”.

Couples generally do not have much conflict at this stage of the cycle as each is really trying hard to impress the other person. Often (not always) during this stage of dating, there is not enough “is this the right person for me” but rather more “what can I do to make this person like me?”

This dating stage may last for 3 or 4 months depending on the individuals and their maturity, experience and self-understanding. Towards the end of this stage, and hopefully at other times throughout it, it is not unusual for questions of “is this the right person for me” to emerge. For women especially there may also be a desire to figure out where the relationship is headed.

Going slowly in making any decisions about a relationship are more likely to be better ones than moving quickly (unless it is clear that the relationship is not a good fit).

We will share Dating Stages 3 and 4 next week.

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