I learned everything I needed to know about dating and relationships in 6 weeks.
That’s right. It took one lusty situation, one abrupt “break up,” and one more trek down the personal development trail to learn the most important basics about men and women, and how we fuck up relationships.
Let me explain…
I met a guy. The story of how we met was sweet—just a little synchronistic moment where we were both in the right place at the right time. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say the beginning and the ending are equally compelling in their drama and detail-- opening on a high note and just as quickly, crashing and burning in a maze of misunderstandings and lack of communication.
This abrupt ending was a new experience for me, and it left me feeling confused and unhinged.
These feelings lead me to seek out an explanation, a discovery of how things go awry between men and women. I wanted to explore where things went sideways and why, and I wanted to uncover what caused me to behave in the way I did, so I could be more aware for the next person.
When I’m struggling with emotional turmoil in any area of my life, I always look to the personal development gurus to find clarity and comfort.
I’ll admit it-- I’m a personal development whore.
I lead myself down the path of the gurus, the masters, and even the pinterest boards that tout pretty pictures of quotes telling you to live life to the fullest and every day is a new day, and people are here for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. This time, I took it one step farther. I didn’t just reflect on me, I reflected on all men and women.
The review below outlines the most important points from the BEST book I’ve ever read about relationships and dating. This book is a game changer for anyone (and that means everyone) who has asked questions like, “Why hasn’t he called or texted? How did she get so attached? Why is he acting weird all of sudden?” Or, “Why hasn’t she slept with me yet?”
The book, Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship is by Dr. John Gray, the author of the popular series, Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.
"This book opened my eyes to how men and women instinctually approach dating, and why the sexes respond so differently to love, sex, and commitment (we are not just trying to drive each other crazy). It is genius in its simplicity."
We should be handing this book out on the first day of high school alongside the agenda books and the rulers, and we should teach it in sex-ed right after the lesson on how to use condoms. I’m not kidding. We’d all have less baggage and fewer hang-ups if we were forced to read this book for summer reading.
**Notes before reading:
I know these books are mostly directed towards heterosexuals, but many of the principles for how to work/deal/manage the opposite sex can apply to all segments of life, business and love included. Also, the statements below are generalities. This book’s goal is to illustrate the basic instincts of men and women, and how they affect the development of relationships. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule.
Let’s get started…
Theory of the book: Dating and building a relationship happens in 5 stages: Attraction, Uncertainty, Exclusivity, Intimacy, and Engagement.
Stage 1: Attraction
This is the phase where all of the courting takes place. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are attracted to one another. Boy chases girl. Girl keeps boy at arm’s length while she decides if he has the right components to be a life mate. Boy woos girl with dinner, compliments, and affectionate gestures as he tries to accomplish what his basic instincts tell him to do—get in her pants, spread his seed, bang. Whatever term you want to use for “have sex.”
Bottom Line: The boy is supposed to chase, and the girl is suppose to let him
Stage 2: Uncertainty
Both parties are evaluating if the other has potential to be a long-term mate. Women often begin to let their guard down in this phase, and they have generally slept with the man. Now, it’s time for him to stop and decide whether he really likes the woman or not. Now that the sex is out of the way, he can actually think straight and really consider whether he likes her as a person. Men go in their “man cave” to figure this out. Sometimes, they go dark and silent. Other times, they just distance themselves. It’s clear to women that there is something amiss, but we generally do not know what it means. This is when women start to lose their s*** and call their girlfriends to commiserate and evaluate. They can be heard saying things like, “I haven’t heard from him in awhile. What should I do?” Or, “He sounds weird in his texts.” Or, “I knew I shouldn’t have slept with him. This always happens after sex.” It’s instinctual for men to do this, and it doesn’t mean they are jerks or they are trying to torture us, but it is the exact opposite of what women do, so it’s totally foreign and confusing.
If a woman has not read this book yet, she will likely start to become sensitive and vulnerable and question the man’s real affection for her. In some cases, she might even start to chase him. This is the worst thing she can do because it turns the natural roles for men and women sideways, and as a result, the relationship, upside down.
A note on Stage 2 & Sex:
Generally, a woman isn’t inclined to have sex until she feels some kind of emotional connection. If she has sex, it means she’s invested something of herself. Men, on the other hand, are instinctually inclined in the beginning of a courtship to get the thing they want most—sex. They don’t wait to do it until they feel something. They wait to feel something until after they’ve done it.
Bottom Line: The man needs to go to the man cave, and the woman needs to stay at her own house until he comes out.
Stage 3: Exclusivity
The man and the woman graduate to this stage when they’ve both decided that the other person has the potential to be a life mate. In other words, the man came out of his man cave with the understanding that he actually likes the woman as a person. And, the woman played it cool while he was figuring it out in the cave. The element to be aware of in this stage is the tendency for the man to stop wooing because he feels he’s already won, and he’s happy with his prize. It’s important for men to keep courting and for women to keep receiving and avoid the impulse to dote on him and fulfill his every desire.
Bottom Line: Men need to keeping wooing, and women need to keep receiving. Women should continue to find balance in their life, and avoid the inclination to fall off the face of the earth ignoring friends, family, and hobbies to be with their new mate.
Stage 4: Intimacy
The man and the woman are content and comfortable with each other, and they begin to let their guard down and share more of themselves. Intimacy is accomplished when we feel chemistry with a person on all 4 of these levels: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. The woman begins to feel closer and more vulnerable, and as the man’s feelings grow, he fights the urge to pull away before he gets closer. The woman should be careful not to chase and allow the man to work through the push and pull that he will experience as he reconciles with his desire to be autonomous and also exclusive in this relationship.
Bottom Line: The relationship is building, and the man will struggle with his need to be autonomous while also being committed. The woman will continue to open up more and needs to avoid the urge to chase. Men should encourage and support womens’ moments of vulnerability.
Stage 5: Engagement
In the final stage, we recognize our partner to be our life mate, and we want to make the ultimate commitment and get married. Both people are really clear that they want to make it work with one another, and it is a time to happily build a life and future plans.
Bottom Line: Congratulations. You’ve done the work. You’ve finished the race. You’ve got your partner for life now. Hopefully, you only celebrate getting to this stage once.
The situation that prompted me to write this blog, for lack of a better word, sucked. It ended in a chaotic downward spiral that was unnecessary and uncomfortable for me, but it also brought me to this book, which introduced me to a lot of practical knowledge, a different perspective on dating, and a new appreciation for men. Knowledge is power, and this book has given me more clarity and more confidence in the decisions I make in my dating life. I hope it can do the same for you too!
Founder of Bare Organic Mixers, Natalie is a 30 year old, single entrepreneur who is simultaneously building a brand, writing a book, and still trying to make quality time to date quality men. Her blog titled, “The Business & Love” will follow her dating adventures one cocktail at a time as she begins to put love first and business second.