Ever have one of those magical unicorn first dates? Where everything they say, everything you talk about, everything they seem to be… too good to be true? You’ve finally found this match that you’ve been hoping and praying for, and wow, here they are? It’s enough to get anyone’s hopes up, but the thin line between being positive and being too keen is a thin one that so many daters tread on. Even though you want to (and you should!) get excited when you meet someone promising, the first few weeks of dating are a critical time where you’re really getting to know someone and figuring out if you’re a match.
“The first few weeks of dating are important because it is the time where you see if you both want to make the effort to be together,” dating expert and matchmaker, Sarah Patt tells Bustle. “You decide if your lives connect, and evaluate whether or not you are a good fit for each other. This is the stage where you are both feeling each other out to see if you make a good match.”
Before you get ahead of yourself, use these expert tips on how to manage your expectations and not put that horse before the ever-important carriage:
1. Let Things Happen Without Forcing Them
It’s so easy to think ahead to what you wish for at the start of a could-be relationship: imagining vacations together, falling in love and meeting one another’s friends. But as Patt says, in the beginning, it’s important to let things happen naturally without adding pressure.
“In the first three weeks of dating, [you] should go with the flow! It is important to realize that the only expectations you should set, should be with yourself. One to remember is to always expect the unexpected. Putting expectations onto your date only complicates things and sets you up to get hurt,” Patt tells Bustle. “During this phase, the main thing to focus on is having fun and getting to know more about your date. It is a time to figure out if you like that person and whether or not you want to keep going.”
2. Don’t Expect Constant Communication
Every phone call, text message, Instagram or Facebook post seems so pivotal and life-altering when you really, really like someone. You try your best to decipher what they really mean and you might even have a freakout moment when your date doesn’t respond ASAP. When it comes to the first few weeks of dating, you really shouldn’t expect constant communication, especially while you’re still figuring out how to interact with one another. “You shouldn’t be waiting by the phone for a call or text every day. Taking a break from talking allows you to decide if you miss talking to the person. It also ensures that you aren’t jumping into anything too quickly,” Patt notes.
3. Realize You Don’t Have To Answer To Anyone (And Vice Versa)
During these first few weeks, you’re likely not exclusive yet. And while we know it can be so difficult to remain calm, cool, and collected about the whole thing, try turning around the scenario on yourself: you also don’t need to answer to anyone. Patt says if you start questioning where they were, who they were with and what they were doing, it’ll be a fast way to turn them off. And if you’re honest with yourself, it would turn you off too, if you were given the third degree.
4. Make Sure You’re Being 100% Yourself
OK, so while you might not let all of the amazing things about yourself out in the first few weeks, this is the time when you should make an effort to be true to your beliefs, honestly, comfortably and candidly. After all, you don’t want someone falling in love with a version of yourself that isn’t accurate. The same goes for your could-be partner. “Making sure that the date is genuine is something that a woman should expect. If your date is being themselves, they are allowing you to get to know them and their world to gain a picture for how you could fit into it,” Patt tells Bustle.
5. Be Open That It Might Not Work Out
As much as you might like someone in the first few weeks, as you learn their habits, mentalities, and everyday thoughts and feelings, you might realize they aren’t that great of a fit. Hey, it happens — and psychologist Nikki Martinez says this is normal. “There can be the realization that this is not the right fit for you, or there can be the difficulty of truly getting to know the other person, as people are often on their best behavior. This is a time when people are more likely to say things to please you, even if they may not be true,” she tells Bustle.
6. Don’t Expect To Meet Everyone They Love
It’s a lot to open yourself up emotionally to someone new and letting your family and friends meet a new person is a huge step. That’s why Martinez says to put off the expectation of joining their squad in the beginning. “Do not expect to meet children, friends, or family during this brief time. Most people like to know that a person is a serious contender before they introduce you to these people in their lives,” she says.
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