Dating has gone through many changes over the years and it seems the purpose has changed as well. In times past, it was solely seen as the necessary avenue to marriage and building a family. Today, people date for other reasons as marriage rates dwindle and self-interest becomes more and more primary. People date for sport, companionship without commitment, status or other motives these days. Those who are dating must find compatible partners to get what they want from the game. What happens when one party begins to think certain things just come with the package? Some people think dating is like buying a car and some things should come standard. Is this the way it should be?
First of all, what is a date? This question seems simple enough, but many people define it differently. There is no norm for a date. Many people come into a situation with preconceived notions about what should occur and if those expectations are not met, then judgments are made and all chances for a connection die with the first date. Two people could agree to spend some time together, but there are things to consider. What activity is chosen, where the date will take place, and even the time of day and day of the week can communicate different things to the people involved.
For instance, a man asking a woman to dinner on a Friday night could indicate something different than asking her to lunch on a Wednesday afternoon. The Friday night date is considered peak dating time and sends a message that she is important and the male wants quality time with her. The lunch date communicates interest, but it is a timed meeting so it is not quality time. That date is more like an evaluation. The person wants an in-person encounter to evaluate attraction, or to talk a little more to see if there are common interests or similarities that would warrant real time. If there is no spark, then the person can find out within an hour over lunch and both parties can get back to their lives.
How a person thinks about dating can cause a misunderstanding if one of the twosome decides what the other should do. If the woman is asked out and she interprets that to mean dinner and drinks because that is what she has always been given, then a man who asks her out for coffee or an activity date will communicate to her that the interest is low. Her interpretation could be correct, but is she entitled to dinner and drinks because she has always had it? Who should decide what definition of date applies?
Women can encounter unrealistic expectations from men after the date. Many women find that men who take them out expect some physical payoff after a while. It could be the night of the date, or within a few dates, but some men try to connect the money they spend to being allowed to be with a woman sexually, and it causes disappointment if this expectation is not met. Communication can resolve the difference in expectations, but this particular issue is difficult to address. Should a man even have this expectation? How many men will boldly acknowledge that this is what they want before getting to know a woman? How many women would entertain a man who expresses this type of expectation?
The best way to avoid misunderstandings of intention is to discuss expectations and dating styles before going on a date. A few phone conversations would tell you what you need to know about the person’s purpose for dating and compatibility can be determined. If there is no agreement on what should happen on a date, then there would be no need to take it further. There would be no feelings of rejection or hurt, and no resentment for wasted time or resources. Men and women have so many differences and this is just another area where, with a little effort, common ground can be found and doors can be opened to enjoy time spent together and build lasting bonds over time.
by R Writes
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