Ever wondered why some times you just ‘click’ with someone and other times the date just feels ‘off’, you don’t warm to him, or feel like you have much connection?
John and Julie Gottman are well renowned couples therapists and researchers, almost single-handedly responsible for most of the scientific reasearch on what makes a successful relationship. Although they mainly study established relationships, knowing what makes for a good relationship can be VERY useful for singles!
Usually when you don’t ‘click’ with someone it is to do with a failure of attachment. We are all wired to attach to other humans. Attaching well (called ‘secure’ attachment) requires certain qualities in your interactions.
Conceptualise every time we relate to someone as a bid for attention: every text; every facebook post; every call or email; every glance or smile; every question or statement. How the other person responds to that bid for attention will determine how secure, comfortable and validated we feel, and thus how much we ‘click’ with that person.
In response to a bid for attention, there are three possible reactions:
1. Turning towards: “Oh look! Bon Jovi is coming on tour!” “That’s great hon, he is your favourite right? we should get tickets!”
2. Turning away: “Oh look! Bon Jovi is coming on tour!” “(distractedly) Huh? … (continues to watch TV and doesn’t engage)…”
3. Turning against: “Oh look! Bon Jovi is coming on tour!” “You are such a loser! Bon Jovi is an old man, it just shows how boring you have become that you even care about him!”
If you look at happy couples or, in our case, good dates, you will be turning towards your partner (and he to you) in a 5:1 ratio. This means that we don’t have to be perfect, but we DO have to be very wary of advice to ‘play it cool’ or any bad habits we have developed in using teasing/criticism to ease our anxiety in a dating situation.
So, test it out for yourselves! Sit in a cafe and eavesdrop in on some couples, looking for turning towards, turning away and turning against. Notice these styles in your dates responses to you.
And trust yourself!
Don’t criticise yourself as ‘oversensitive’ if you start to feel uneasy if your date doesn’t respond to your texts- your feelings are your hardwired responses and a great source of information about how things are going! Don’t settle, we ALL deserve to feel happy and good in our relationships!
But remember, to give your date the best chance of correcting any bad habits he has developed or bad dating rules he is following, it’s always good to tell him what you need from him first rather then just dump him cold. Giving the warning “I need you to respond to my texts if you still want to see me” – isn’t that hard is it?