WHEN TO GET INTIMATE....

 

Dear Claudia,
You may not be able to print this one, but…here it goes. I have been divorced for about six years, and have not dated. Until now. I recently met a man I am VERY attracted to and we have been out a few times. We have also spent quite a bit of time talking on the phone. I like him a lot. I have not been on the dating “scene” for a very…very long time. I feel like he’s really pressuring me to get intimate and I’m not sure when the right time is. Do you have any suggestions?
 
New to Dating

Dear New to Dating,

All the books on dating will tell you the same thing: don’t get intimate until you have a really good relationship with the person you are with, and perhaps, even a commitment.

Any workshop I have ever taken says the same thing. The workshop leader says: “DON’T DO IT!” and everybody groans.

In the privacy of my analytic office, I get the real deal. People are getting intimate way before commitment no matter what anybody recommends. In fact, many people feel embarrassed about this – as if they’re the only ones.

Often, those same consenting adults wished they had listened to the experts. This is because after being physically intimate with a virtual stranger, it can be awkward, especially for women, figuring out how to return to being relative strangers in the morning.

On the flip side, are those people who wait too long to get intimate. They have their own set of personal problems -- trying to pretend they want to continue getting to know the other person mentally when all they can really think about is…well, you know.

So this is my happy news of the day: whatever you decide to do will present its own set of problems, and the timing may never be right.

The real question, in my mind, is not WHEN to get physically intimate, but rather, what is going to help you the most, as a couple, to recoup from a mistake?

Let’s say you make the mistake of not waiting long enough. How are you going to deal with feeling like strangers again in the morning? On the flip side, let’s say you wait too long. How are you going to manage the tensions and frustrations enough to sustain continued interest in each other?
 
Getting to know your new boyfriend with an open mind may be your best bet for dealing with the high probability that your mutual timing may not be picture perfect. Poor timing is rarely the problem, though. It may be the inevitability. The real problem is how couples deal with their decisions -  that’s what can make or break your chances of making it work.

So study your new boyfriend and keep studying yourself and most of all, enjoy the ride. Congratulations!

 


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