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The Real Relationship Rules for Dating, Part 2

Get Your Emotional Needs Satisfied Before You Start Dating

Most people assume that the main purpose of finding romantic love is to get your emotional needs satisfied. We naturally assume that the love of our life should satisfy our emotional needs. The reality is that it works in reverse. You are more likely to attract the man or woman you desire most if you don’t need them.

If you haven’t already taken the Emotional Index Quiz to identify your own top four personal and emotional needs, that would be a good place to start. We instinctively know that neediness in any form is repellent.  Do you know what your own top needs are? Find out by taking this free relationship Quiz here. The second law of attraction is: “If you don’t need it, you are more likely to attract it.” If you come across as needy in even the subtlest ways, you’ll drive away the people you most desire. You can learn more about why it is so important to get your emotional needs satisfied in this blog.

The Two-Date Rule

Now that you are armed with your specific lists, you are ready to start dating. Hooray! Given we are trying to weed unlikely candidates out fairly quickly, it may seem counter-intuitive to give everyone two dates, if not three. Why?

Most people are too nervous on a first date or might be trying too hard to impress you to relax enough to be themselves. It is for this reason I ask that you give your date at least one or two more chances. Sometimes our first impression is correct and sometimes not. On the second date, you’ll both be more relaxed and in a better position to assess if the person is worth meeting again or not. We all may be overly influenced by Hollywood films and expect to be bowled over by love at first sight. But in fact, love may sneak up on you slowly over time. This is why it is important to give all reasonable candidates the benefit of the doubt. 

The Eight-Date Rule

My English friends laugh at this one, finding it terribly old-fashioned. But if you are serious about getting married and finding the right relationship, then it is better to take things slowly. My mom gave me this advice when I first started dating. She called it the Eight Moon Rule. Don’t sleep with a guy until you’ve had at least eight separate dates. This is to ensure that he is worth the trouble and to ensure you weren’t just swept away by an enchanting moonlit evening. Feminist or not, it is always going to be the woman’s role to hold back on sex, giving the relationship and true intimacy time to develop.

Studies have demonstrated that the vast majority of men, if given the opportunity, will hop in the sack with just about anybody, just about any time. By taking things slowly, you’ll ensure that this wasn’t a quick one-night stand or casual evening. You’ll handily weed out those seeking casual sex who aren’t interested in a long-term relationship. The good guys will stick around and appreciate you more. Most men will assume that you behave the same on all other dates. If you sleep with him on the first date, he’ll assume you do the same with all previous partners. Don’t think for a minute he’ll believe you if you say he is the exception to the rule.

The real reason for waiting is so that you have time to figure out whether he meets the top 10 must haves on your list. Most women start to feel an emotional bond with a man once they have had sex. You don’t want to get emotionally connected until you are sure he is worthy. It is usually easier to break up before sex than after, when your emotions may get the better of you.

The Six-Month Rule

This relationship rule is for women who want to have children. If you aren’t interested in having children, then you don’t have to worry so much about moving things along. It is very easy to hang out in a comfortable, fun relationship with a good man for a couple of years before you realize it. There may not be anything particularly wrong with this person, but it might not be right enough for you to settle down and raise a family. Go back to your list of criteria every six months and see if a Must Not Have has now been revealed. After six months, you should have a good idea of his eligibility for marriage. If you can’t see potential, break up now and begin dating again. 

However, if you think the relationship is growing and developing and has real potential, then you may want to give it more time. Mark your calendar for six months from now with the intention of reassessing the situation at that time. You might also consider travelling to a foreign country together to speed up the process. I find that once stripped of our usual routines and settings, it is easier to see a person’s true character and qualities. A good travelling companion may well turn out to be a good life companion.

Of course, if at any time during the next six months, one must not have appears, then end the relationship immediately and start dating again.

The Two-Year Rule

This relationship rule is designed to keep things moving along at a reasonable rate towards marriage and children. If you don’t want to have children, then the time pressure is off. After two years, you should know whether your date has the top 10 must haves. Also, you should know that he doesn’t have any of the top 10 must not haves on your list of relationship qualities. 

At this point you need to either move toward future commitment such as engagement, or move back to step one and restart the dating process. If you haven’t discussed having children and getting married by now, then this is the time. If you are over 30, your biological clock will start to chime and your window for having children will narrow. After the age of 40 your risk of having a child with Down’s Syndrome goes up dramatically. I count myself very lucky to have had a healthy child at age 41 but the risk was 1 out of 666 that she would have Down’s Syndrome. At 39 I had my first child and the risk was 1 in 7000. 

Two years is enough time that you should know each other well, if you’ve been dating exclusively. However, most men don’t have any big urge to get married as they don’t have a biological clock ticking in the background. Two years is also the point of diminishing returns. How much better will you know your partner in another six months? Unless you embark on some adventurous travel or otherwise change the scene, you aren’t likely to learn much new information. Far better to learn that your partner won’t commit now than to wait another two years to learn that he has “commitment issues.” When someone says that they aren’t ready to commit it typically means that they think they might find someone better and are stalling for time. Or, he might not be established in his career.

Most men don’t want to commit to marriage if they feel insecure in their careers and are not able to provide for a family. It could also be that your mate thinks he should feel an overwhelming desire or urge to marry and doesn’t because he  is happy and comfortable with things the way they are. Remember, men don’t experience the same sense of urgency. So you have to artificially create a sense of urgency by following the Two-Year Rule. You can quite calmly say that it is fine if he isn’t ready for a commitment. But you will now be moving on and ending the relationship given your desire to have a family. This may be just the prod needed. 

Before you start following these relationship rules, I highly recommend that you identify and fulfill your top four personal and emotional needs. This ensures that you’ll be your best, most attractive self while out dating. 

You can learn more about how to satisfy your needs in the Relationship Course.

This blog has been adapted from the book, The Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner (McGraw-Hill). 

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