Recently I was working with a male client who said to me:
Him: I’ve been out on 4 dates with this girl and I don’t feel like we are connecting
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Well it just doesn’t feel like it did with my ex
Me: What did it feel like with your ex?
Him: Well it was super instant chemistry and we slept together on the second date. We were finishing each other’s sentences in the first week.
Me: And then what happened?
Him: Well we started fighting and then things got weird and then I was jealous and then she was bitchy, but we still sometimes had fun together.
Me: So you connected, got close really fast and then figured out you weren’t all that compatible?
Him: I guess so, kind of.
Me: So what you are experiencing with this new girl is a NEW kind of connecting. It’s never going to be exactly the same as you’ve experienced before but that does not mean it cannot lead to something great. The last girl you dated, things didn’t work out so you want to be extra open to things starting off differently. You may have not experienced this type of ‘slower connection’ before. Let me ask you this, “do you enjoy being with her, as in, when you sit next to her in the coffee shop or walk alongside her on the street, are you glad you are there?”
Him: Yes, and I also find myself thinking about her when she’s not there.
Me: This is good. Now all I want you to do moving forward, is just relax, be yourself and enjoy each other’s company. Essentially this is exactly what you want your potential relationship to be like years from now, “being relaxed, being yourself and enjoying each other’s company”. And at the end of your next date, ask yourself if you are looking forward to seeing her again or if you are curious to know more about her. That curiosity and comfort is really all you need for the beginning stages of a strong, healthy relationship.
Him: (a mixture of thank you’s and “will try this new approach” :))
I often see this desire to have things start in the exact same way as the last relationship regardless of the outcome of the last relationship. People will say to me:
“The last guy I dated was for 6 months and the first night we met, we talked for like 4 hours straight.”
“When I met my ex-girlfriend, she completely swept me off my feet in the first few minutes.”
We keep looking to repeat a “first meeting or first few dates scenario” that we already enjoyed or at the very least, are familiar with. And if this experience with a new person falls short of it, we somehow want to dismiss it and move on.
The problem is, when I study long-term successful relationships, there is not a direct correlation between how the first few dates were and how successful the relationship is. Some people had mixed first impressions, some people thought they had met a new ‘friend’, others were swept off their feet. All of these started differently but all of them continued into a long-term successful relationship.
So what I ask is that just because the guy or girl you are dating doesn’t feel exactly like the last girl or guy you were dating, don’t dismiss, be open. Give yourself and them time to open up in a new and possibly unexpected way. Of course, I have to say, this only applies if you are already, “being relaxed, being yourself and enjoying each others company”. Try it.