The First Month.
Why The First Month Matters…
- > At this point, after several dates, it’s time to talk about exclusivity or however you define your more intimate relationships. If you feel a deep sense of connection, then it’s time to declare it in some way, in person. This doesn’t mean you have to pour your heart out to the other person, but it’s time to be a leader in the relationship or allow the other to lead by declaring your view. It might take you more time to decide if you want to be exclusive, but it’s only fair to share that you are dating others if indeed that is the case. You will be far more respected for being honest than you think. If the other person cannot handle this, and if you cannot commit at this time, then it’s perfectly acceptable to walk away based on different interpretations of the relationship. People often see what they want to see, not what is truth. That’s why the Italian’s call relationships stories. You both write it and tell it.
- > This is the time to scope out the other person’s social life and social crowd. If you haven’t met his/her friends after 30 days, then that’s a possible caution flag. If you met someone you are serious about, then wouldn’t you want to show them off just a bit! Make it easy on the other person by suggesting merging posses for a dinner or music show or event. It is easy to learn the most about a person based on the type of people they surround themselves with socially. Pay attention to how your potential partner acts around them because this is how you will be treated at one point or another.
- >If you haven’t visited your potential partner’s living quarters, then do your best to set up events at each other’s houses or apartments to learn the most about what will unfold together in your co-creation. If you see a clean house, then be prepared to expect the same of you! If you pride yourself on keeping your residence well kept and you stumble upon a messy living situation, then don’t expect the other person to switch their style. Be aware that this is what you are signing up for in the long term because this is the default style of the person. Men, in particular, rarely change unless it’s under pressure or in a form of competition. If he or she didn’t tidy up before you came over, then this is exactly what you will get. It’s important to evaluate the long term possibility of your possible relationship, objectively, using the small initial data samples. You will still need to revisit this later again as he or she could have thrown everything in the closet to impress you! Pay close attention to changes in behavior or environment as they unfold.
- > This is puppy dog phase too so the colors look brighter, the weather warmer, the dinner tastes better. That doesn’t mean it’s time to hold back or let loose. This is your time to find an equilibrium point between your combined chemistry. The more wounded, the slower the pace- but not always! Many of get stuck in our physical infatuation stage, convinced we are amazing lovers but that the other is missing x or y, when the truth is we deny ourselves real love past the physical. We must be able to distinguish between infatuation and oneness. In Greek, there are 4 words for love: Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love). Erotic love is one component and it’s the easiest to connect around. It’s the other forms of love where you will see the depth of connection. Why get sidetracked by the physical without the emotional? By asking questions during this heavenly stage, you can protect your heart and call a spade a spade if indeed the first 30 days isn’t built to last…which is perfectly okay as long as both of you are fully aware of this!
A sample of our suggested practices for The First Month…
- > Make a list of all the things you want to know about the person and all the things you want to share early. Everyone has a different set of circumstances (divorce, kids, financial troubles, disease, abuse, etc.), some more challenging than others, some pasts more checkered than you would imagine. It’s up to you to decide what to share, but the more vulnerable you come across, the greater the capacity for the other person to feel safe and to share. It isn’t about finding love in another to make up for your missing pieces. It’s about getting closer to loving yourself with another. In order to do that, on one hand we need to know if our boundaries are drawn at similar distances and how fast we seek to push them. If the safe zones cross too far into the unknown for the other person, then find out early via strategic shares, depending on your maturity. Some things are particularly delicate but why not find out the other person’s capacity sooner rather than later. 30 days is plenty of time to know if someone is going to match your basic needs.
- > Flirt it up in all sorts of childlike ways. Since neither of you really knows one another yet, play off that mystery and pretend to be whoever you want! Be the joker, be the seducer, be naughty, be nice, be curious. There are no rules during the first set of exchanges but if you don’t take any calculated risks early on, you will lead the other person to believe that your date was normal. Step it up regardless of your regular lifestyle. Love isn’t normal. People do the dumbest things while falling in love. Just listen to the stories from your friends about what they did early on and still made the grade! In order to get someone to open their heart, no doubt you gotta make them feel safe, but safety zones are meant to be challenged at a calibrated pace. If you’re still texting or talking after the first date, now is the time to introduce some bold energy into the mix. If you play it safe again and again, you will come across as a friend. Friends are there for safety, lovers are there for safety and danger!
- > Download emoticon apps on your phone and share silly expressions via texting. Since people rarely call one another any more, it is vital to get out of black and white text. Use slang and shortened poetic expressions that might crack a smile or a giggle. It isn’t about being cool as much as it’s about being creative. If you can introduce novelty into a person’s life, they will become even more intrigued in your way. It can be as simple as sending out a few colorful ‘namastes’ or ‘lightning bolts’ to describe something in your day. So much of an emotional connection is hinged to unique expressions that you might find yourself opening up more through subtle imagery than typical words.
- > Exercise as often as you can to get a good dose of endorphins and to allow your body to use this new intensity to do all sorts of good. It will keep you level headed and more relaxed during your first few times together. It helps to remove nervous energy stored in the muscles. Yoga or running or walking fast will increase your heart rate much better than weight-lifting. By breathing deeply often during a workout, you are training yourself to bring more oxygen to the brain which helps ameliorate anxiety issues.
- > Review your ‘dating contract’ that you hold true to yourself. In our coaching program we would help you with this. Are those deal breakers really worth walking away from a potential partner? Does he or she have to be vegetarian, or into children? Spend a few moments reflecting before you go to bed and outdoors on the specifics. Rate your deal breakers on a scale of 1 to 10. Lay it all out in advance before you start to get overly attached to the physics of it all. Physical attraction is irresistible at times, but not once you hold yourself accountable to your higher principles. Think about your patterns in the past and try to mix it up. If you always play it safe early, put yourself out there more early to see what happens and vice versa. Getting hot and semi-heavy is great during the first week as long as you know that this person will call you forth to be your best self. There is rarely a reason to sleep with someone during the first week as you can get plenty frisky without going all the way to see if you are still compatible in the bedroom.