Do you sometimes wonder the RIGHT way to behave when dating?
As a woman, are you supposed to offer to pay on the first date… but hope that he’ll be a total gentleman and insist on paying?
You’re not worried about the money, but you just don’t know what’s right.
Are you supposed to text him the next day to say you enjoyed the evening?
Or will that seem too pushy and needy?
Is he supposed to “be the man” and take the lead by texting you first?
Or does that mean you abandoned your power?
What if you had a great time, but now it’s been a week and you haven’t heard from him?
You want to see him again…but you don’t know if you should text him…or just wait?
Or, it’s been a week and he finally texts to ask you out…for tomorrow night.
Does that mean he’s already asked three other women and he’s just getting back to you as his final choice?
These are all excellent questions that point to the quandary of today’s dating.
It’s impossible for you to read another person’s mind, so any guesses you make about the MEANING of his behavior, are just assumptions.
Since I believe in authenticity (showing your true thoughts and feelings), here are my suggestions to help make dating behavior a bit easier to interpret:
1 – I suggest that on a first date, (or even before if you’re doing a fair bit of texting or phoning) it’s a good idea to set some expectations. This is a time to explore the amount of contact you each prefer.
For example, you might say,
“I feel most comfortable when someone contacts me once or twice a week. I’m pretty busy, and more than that can feel overwhelming. But waiting for more than a week indicates a lack of interest to me. What do you prefer?”
2 – In today’s world of constantly shifting gender roles, it can also be helpful to discuss your personal opinions and the different roles for men and women. This discussion will give you some great insights into whether or not this man is a good match for you.
For example, you might say,
“I consider myself a feminist, who likes to open my own doors and pay for my own food. What are your thoughts?”
Or maybe you want to say,
“I see myself as a traditional woman and prefer a man who wants to open doors for me and pay for the first few dates. What do you feel comfortable with?”
When you bring up things like this and state your personal positions, it might alienate some men. But…it will alienate the very men that aren’t right for you!
In a gentle way, you are setting your boundaries, BEFORE they can get trespassed. Then, if one guy steps over the boundary, I suggest that you start by being curious, rather than critical.
You might say, with a smile,
“I’m curious about something. Remember when we were first dating, and I said I prefer to have doors opened for me? Well, maybe I’m mistaken, but it seems like I’ve been opening most of my doors myself lately. What’s your perception about this?”
Bottom line: to make the expectations and gender roles easier for all to understand, I believe it’s always best to be open and talk about the things that matter to you.
Whenever possible, set expectations before there is confusion.
But, when issues come up (and they always will, because that’s life),
then…if you want to build a relationship, be gently curious.