“My ideal second date idea is to cook dinner together back at my place,” my date explained playfully. I smiled and took the bait. “The only problem with that is that girls know that you are going to try and put the moves on them,” I explained candidly. “I mean, that’s pretty cozy for a second date.” My date replied just as frankly, “it’s true! And the guy will probably try it, even if he said he won’t.” We were speaking hypothetically, but I couldn’t help but crinkle my nose.
Call me a buzz kill (and I’m sure my date did) but getting physical with a guy on date #2 is not something I want to do. Well, it’s not that I don’t want to do it, because sometimes I definitely do. But, as Brittany puts it in her post, I’m tired of kissing frogs and the best way to avoid that is to set boundaries.
Kiss first, ask questions later. This seems to be the model that most people date by and I certainly bought into it. But as time went on I began to realize that physical intimacy too soon made it harder to build friendship—and without friendship, the relationship was just a physical one and I was left unsatisfied.
Dr. John Van Epp, author of How to Avoid Falling in Love With a Jerk, has been working with couples for years and has created a relationship model that confirms what I have learned, the hard way, about building a healthy relationship. Dr. Van Epp says that there are 5 steps that should be taken before a relationship can be considered serious:
I know, talking about boundaries takes us back to elementary school, a la “stranger danger”. But I take these steps in every other relationship, why should a romantic one be any different? Physical chemistry is important to me, but taking the time to build a true friendship makes physical touch an expression of a relationship that actually exists—instead of a game of pretend.
Boundaries may look different for different people, but the point is to give yourself time to build a friendship. For some people it might mean holding off on the movie back at his place, for me it means saving an intimate dinner for two for later.