With Valentines Day fast approaching, it’s time to brush up on some old-school dating etiquette ladies. Meeting someone for the first time and navigating the first 30 days of dating generates anxiety for anyone, even for the most experienced of daters. How often should one contact the other person without being perceived as a stalker? What should one say in a text message and what should never be said on this forum? And most importantly, how does it all spiral downward from a perfect first and second date to deathly silence?
Amanda Fortes is a psychotherapist who specialises in dating, relationships and self-esteem shares what to keep in mind when planning your next move.
Essentially, the main reason for all of this confusion is that we’ve deviated from traditional dating rules that were created and observed by our forefathers many years ago. They followed this simple rule: in a romantic partnership, man is traditionally the hunter and therefore by default, the pursuer. Tampering with this process and allowing our impulsive behavior to jeopardise the situation will only yield an unsuccessful outcome. And modern technology and social media makes us even more impatient and audacious, giving us the permission we need to break the mold.
In all my years of working successfully with couples, the most common complaint I hear is that men fail to make contact after a few dates. When we trace back the woman’s footsteps, what becomes evident is that rather than allow the man to be the hunter and pursuer, she assumed this role by being overly responsive in text messages as well as over initiating communication.
The idea that rejection leads to obsession can be applied strategically in this context. During these initial stages, one’s goal is to increase the attention that you receive from your date; to do this, one needs to introduce rejection in the form of ambiguity. And ambiguity does not mean pretending to be offline when all you’re doing is turning off your “read” status. Rather, it means introducing some strategy and swag into your responses.
When drafting your next text or planning your next move, try to keep the following in mind:
- The text or instant message we receive from our date provides us with a template that guides us to the next step; therefore, your reply should mimic the same tone and structure as the text you’ve received.
- The appropriate response to a message asking how you are should be direct and upfront; simply ask your date how they’re doing and hold back on the emojis!
- During the first 30 days, follow my 1 out of 4 rule: for every third time your date initiates contact in the first 30 days, you have earned right to send a brief message to see how he is. You don’t need to speak everyday!
- Throw politeness and the right thing to do out the window. As wonderful as you may have felt after your first date together, try not to send a text thanking your date. This is a blatant clue showing the extent of your interest. This move means game over.
- Replying to and initiating contact with your date should be limited to “office hours”. Therefore, resist the temptation to call or message at dawn or at midnight. Being available at all times merely breaks the sense of ambiguity that one is trying to create.
As frustrating and archaic as these strategies may seem, they have been proven to work. And though it may take some restraint to hold back and allow the process to unfold naturally, ultimately it will allow you to reach your goal. Until next time, happy dating valentine.