Dating- What Does It Even Mean?

Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

As the year is starting to quickly go by, we all start to take stock of our relationships, or lack there of, and begin to wonder what it is we actually mean to the person we are with or ourselves for that matter.  We all go crazy overthinking every minute detail- does he love me, does she care, does he notice my new haircut, does she want me?  We overthink everything and we start to drive ourselves mad.

But what causes this insanity? They say love hurts, but love is supposed to make you happy, love is supposed to take away all pain, love is supposed to be strong enough to move mountains. So why is it that we are being driven to madness. It all boils down to dating- what does it even mean?

I’m an old fashioned kind of woman and I can honestly say that I have only every really been on two first dates in my 33 years of existence and those two dates were amazing.  The first of my two first dates ended up with me meeting a man who would become my best friend and the second of the two ended in my meeting the love of my life.  However, the act of dating, that seems like such a scary thing to me.

It should be as simple as, “I like you.” “You like me.”, “Let’s go out.” But of course it can’t be that simple because we as humans like to dissect every word that is said or text to be more accurate and with the rise of social media dating has become this gladiator style battle with mind games, obstacles and you come out exhausted and quite frankly, pretty beaten up.

I decided to do some research on what experts say about dating to see if I could understand this ever so confusing mating act from, well, people who are a lot smarter than I am on this topic.

In my research I found:

  • When a man first approaches a woman, she will base 55% of her initial impression of him on his appearance and body language, 38% on his style of speaking, and 7% on what he actually says.
  • Couples usually wait until six to eight dates before they are willing to enter into an exclusive relationship.
  • Researchers at the University of Chicago found that people were twice as likely to find a date through friends and family than through the bar scene.
  • Psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania studied data from over 10,000 speed daters and found that most people make a decision regarding a person’s attraction within three seconds of meeting.
  • If you want to create an instant link with a date, say his or her name at least twice in the conversation. This shows attentiveness and connectiveness.
  • Studies show that remembering bits of information about a person and working them into conversations not only is highly flattering but also shows interest.
  • If a woman is interested in her date, she will often smile at his jokes, play with her hair, fidget with an object such as a glass, blush when he pays her a compliment, pout or pucker her mouth, stumble over words, or lean in towards him.
  • Thirty-three percent of online daters form a relationship, 33% do not, and 33% give up.
  • The appropriate time to call after meeting a man or woman is hotly debated among dating experts. Typically, the ideal time to wait to call is two to four days, though no longer than four to five days. Calling too soon can appear desperate
  • Choosing exciting places for a first date increases the chances of the other person falling for you. There is a definitive link between danger and physical/romantic attraction.
  • Research shows that men know they’re falling in love after just three dates, but women don’t fall in love until date 14.
  • The most common time for breakups is around three to five months.

What does this all mean? It means that are way too many things to remember when dating and that it is all confusing no matter how you prepare yourself for battle.  We get tied up in these facts that we move away from the magic of actually dating someone you find attractive.

In a world where we have so many ways to communicate we have forgotten how to do the simplest form of courtship- Talking.  Our society has made it so we go nutso trying to find the appropriate channel to speak through, do I text, do I send a Facebook message, do I SnapChat?  Our need to overthink is what causes the brain to go on overload.

I say to avoid all the confusion we go old school and learn to communicate again, forget the use of the 1000 social media, dating sites, and apps and take it back to basics.  Avoid the madness and start with a “Hello”, keep it simple and take it from there.

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