Dear Dr. Brian:
I met a great guy recently online and we met for a spontaneous meeting at a coffee shop. We hit it off really well and ended up spending an entire night talking, watching a movie, and eventually cuddling together. We both discussed that we should take things slowly and did not end up doing anything sexual.
We’ve been texting daily ever since and have plans to spend time together this weekend. I can’t stop thinking about him! I would love to date this guy ! He seems great so far and gives me butterflies in my stomach! Should I plan anything elaborate for him? Get him a surprise gift or plan an overnight trip somewhere? Should I formally ask him out on a date? I don’t want to mess this one up, so please help!__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Congrats to you on your new dating prospect! It sounds like the two of you share some good chemistry with each other and there appears to be mutual interest in exploring things further. I applaud you for holding off on taking things to the bedroom; this can often times sabotage a budding new relationship because an emotional connection has not yet been established and there is little foundation to build from once sex has been introduced into the mix. The early stages of dating are all about the “build-up”; getting to know each other, determining if there is genuine compatibility with your personal requirements for a partner and relationship, having fun and sharing new experiences as a bond begins to develop.
One of the challenges of these early stages of a new attraction to someone is tempering your excitement enough to make sure you take things slowly and gradually pace the development of the relationship. This means being very careful not to introduce things like gifts or extravagant trips too early. A degree of intimacy needs to be established first, otherwise you run the risk of scaring the guy off by coming on too strong before a true comfort level has been established with defining what you each want. This can only be accomplished with the passage of time and more shared experiences with each other to build up trust and connection. This also means being cautious about spending too much time with each other at the expense of attending to other friendships and responsibilities you may have in your lives. Too much closeness and contact too soon can also cause a dating relationship to fizzle prematurely because the intensity of your involvement peaks and plateaus too quickly before that intimacy can evolve. Remember that intimacy takes time and cannot be rushed. You each need boundaries and space as you’re getting to know each other to process what you’re thinking and feeling and to allow each other time to miss each other, foster more curiosity about one another, and to instill more desire about getting together and learning more about each other.
You seem like a true romantic, so go with that! Just remember to pace it and not to dive in head first. Flirtation, mystery and intrigue, creativity….these are all aphrodisiacs that fuel chemistry and attraction. To use an old term…engage in the process of “courtship”. Court him in your own unique way and style. You’ll be great!
You might also want to review the following article about how to pace a new dating relationship: http://thegaylovecoach.com/2009/08/screech-putting-on-the-brakes-in-your-new-dating-relationship-for-everlasting-success/
Have a blast!