Grey Haired and Scared Part Four - Top Tips for Navigating a New Relationship
Our previous articles have covered the road to a relationship – getting back into the dating game, presenting yourself, the first date. But when a first date leads to a second and a third and talk begins to move towards future plans and possibilities, then you need to navigate the next stage – the stage of ‘this just might be a relationship’ stage.
As ever, the Sassistas have been out finding the top tips for dos and don’ts in this sensitive phase.
So starting with the big mistakes:
Getting clingy.Yes, you might have been on your own for a long time, but if you cling to your new man with the desperation of a hungry octopus, then he is going to be looking for the escape route. Our male interviewees related alarming tales of women calling every day to see what they were doing, asking who they were seeing when not together; sulking when he had to call off a date or chowing anxiety when he did not fix the next date immediately. The result is a man who feels suffocated and pursued.
Getting territorial. If you are asked to his house, remember you are the guest and not the wife. Storming into the kitchen to tidy things up, tutting when you find damp towels and socks on the bathroom floor and rearranging the living room to be more homely is a huge risk. If he wants you to play mother then he will ask. If you assume, you are in danger of him feeling trapped.
Giving up your friends. Yes you like him and love his company. You might be like a teenager and think about him every minute of the day. But if you give up your mates you are in double danger of a) losing the support network you will need when things are not so rosy (and it will be your own fault!) and b) making this man so central to your life that you lose perspective. Another threat is that he will read this as obsession – unless he is a narcissist, this is rarely attractive.
Resenting the exes. Yes, we all want to be better, more attractive, more loving, more interesting, more fun than all who have gone before us. But do remember that every time you remark on them you are remarking on his past choices. Say nothing. This is a particular issue if your man is a widower. He might have been married to the wicked Witch of the North, but if you say so, he will move to protection. It is a bit like families – you can berate them on the inside but resent any comment from the outside.
Long term plans too early. Remember this man may have had as many disappointments and as much pain as you. He might be wary of being hurt, used or trapped into another unhappy relationship. Many men hold back until they are sure. So if you start making plans for holidays and meeting each other’s families in the first few weeks – before he has even mentioned it – then you are likely to be pushed away. Black widow spiders make webs. Interesting women make men hope.
So what do you need to do?
Well, there is no single formula for turning an attraction into a relationship, but the word from our male interviewees is:
- Be more interesting than interested. Keep up your interests and life. If you climb into someone’s pocket you can only talk about that. You get ideas, information and experiences by going out and living life and that will mean you are bringing more to the relationship.
- Show interest in their interests. If your man likes sport then show little care and accept that this is part of his life. There are good biological and developmental reasons why men like to watch men kick and hit objects around a pitch. Many men like to keep sport to spending time with their male friends. But if he asks you to go – go a few times. And please don’t stand complaining about the cold or shouting at diving footballers to go and get their handbags. Just show interest.
- Have a life.Independence is attractive. So keep up your friendships and have your own social life. At this point in life a relationship should be an addition and not a salvation.
- Be available – but not always. Hanging around just waiting for the next date looks needy. So be ready to say you are too busy, you have a prior date with your friends, an evening with your kids –and make it true. If you look at the laws of attraction then scarcity is a big factor. Be less available and you become more of a prize.
- Keep our eyes blue or brown. The green eyed monster is rarely attractive. If he talks about a women at work or a females friend show interest not bitter resentment.
- Accept his responsibilities. All too often our media portrays women as the primary carers. But we should not assume that men are devoid of caring and concerns. If your man is divorced then he will often want time with his kids and need to talk or spend time with his ex. If he has elderly parents he will need to visit and, like so many women, become the parent. There is no point resenting these factors because they take time from you. The fact that he takes them seriously should be another big tick.
- Be more fun than not. One of the joys of a long-term relationship is that you can cry on his shoulder and moan about life when you need to. But start this too early and the relationship will feel like marriage too soon. Focus on putting zest in his life. He’s a man not a therapist in shining armour!
If you have any views or more to add, please add a comment.
Next time – dealing with his kids.