Assuming privileges

When you talk to a potential suitor regularly for more than a few weeks before meeting, a false sense of intimacy can develop. In flirty or soul-baring emails and/or phone conversations, you can begin to feel a budding emotional connection to the other.

Then when you do meet, there is an odd closeness. You feel you know someone who you’ve not met — essentially a stranger. There is a tendency to fast-forward to physical affection that would have taken longer (usually) to develop if you’d had less pre-meeting phone time.

You may have developed a fondness for the person through what and how he shared. So when he takes your hand in his, it seems an abnormal mix of comfort and newness. You both are more comfortable touching during this first meeting than you would be on a first date with someone you hadn’t talked to a lot before meeting.

Unfortunately, I’ve found this unnatural familiarity leads to behaviors that assume privileges too soon. Strong relationships are forged over time, not jumped into quickly.

chickenIt’s like cooking a thick, juicy chicken breast. If you just flash sear the outside without proper cooking time, the inside is raw. Not only is that unappealing, it’s unhealthy. However, if the chicken is poached, roasted or grilled longer the result is a succulent, tender, delicious dish.

I guess I’m hungry! But the metaphor is apt.

I’ve been taken aback by men who I’ve talked to for a few weeks before meeting who’ve assumed we’d sleep together on our first date. Some of my pals say that this is an assumption many dating men have, even if you’ve only talked once! But even men who talk about the importance of respecting a woman, and wanting to get to know me, can act this way. It certainly doesn’t feel respectful when a man assumes intimacy that is many steps beyond your current comfort level — and you have to repeatedly tell him to slow down.

ship gaugeWhen sharing this observation with a sage gal pal she said that all some men need to feel the gauge is reading “full speed ahead” is a woman who shows some interest. If a man is not adept at reading a woman’s signs — which can be either blatant or subtle — he moves forward at the pace he wants, misinterpreting — or ignoring — the woman’s words and body language. This can be true for men who may be astute at reading people in other settings, so I’m not sure if it’s obtuseness or self-focusedness.

No matter what the cause, it is disappointing to learn that someone you became fond of over the phone can be an oaf in person. Which is why I try to meet a new man within a week or so of a first email or phone call. There is less time to build up false intimacy and overblown expectations.

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6 responses to “Assuming privileges”

  1. Trish Ryan Avatar

    That is a GREAT metaphor…I’ve been flash seared by these kinds of expectations before, and it’s not fun. It’s odd how out of sync everything can get if you do the online/phone thing for too long before meeting. Then you meet and realize, “wow…I don’t actually know you at all.”

  2. nysharon Avatar

    “he moves forward at the pace he wants, misinterpreting — or ignoring — the woman’s words and body language.” This is a warning sign of him testing boundries and/or not respecting them. Big Womping Red Flag.

  3. Rodney Avatar

    Yeah, I think the time you spend online/on the phone before meeting is relatively useless if not downright misleading. You really have to assume that the REAL dating starts when you meet the person for the first time, and everything before that was like the invitation to a party – all enticing and attractive, but you really dont know if you’re going to have a good time until you get there and start talking.

    Unfortunately not just the guys are culpable. I have a friend who recently told me that he’s frustrated at the speed that women want him to move. He said they want to meet for coffee first, drinks second, and by the third date if they’re not in the sack, they dump him for going too slow. How sad is that?

  4. Dating Goddess Avatar
    Dating Goddess

    Rodney: Thanks for sharing that women can be as hot to trot as the guys. I’m sure there are those who are, but that is different than what I’m hearing my single gal pals complaining about. I found it refreshing — and yes, a tad bit frustrating — that Prince Considerate had the 3-month-no-sex rule. But in the end, it was a wise rule.

    I like your metaphor of the party. True that the invitations can be razzle dazzle and the real thing a fizzle.

    We all say we want someone who likes us for our personality, which makes getting to know each other by voice and phone first sound compelling. But people can say the right things but until you see how they treat you in person, you never really know. I know I use the pre-meeting emails and calls to weed men out who get sexual even before meeting. So I want to get to know them a bit, but waiting too long has downsides, too.

  5. 1st_m8 Avatar

    My problem with getting to know someone over email/phone for too long is a bond may be formed but one piece of the total puzzle that I don’t know until I meet the man . . . will I be as attracted to him in person? I know this sounds shallow but I can’t do without the physical attraction. If guys could take the pressure off and just be friends when they meet me that would solve part of the problem here. But most are attracted and when I don’t feel the same it puts me in an uncomfortable situation. I have no problems doing the face to face but the longer I wait to meet someone and the more bond that is formed, the tougher the situation. Even some people I don’t meet through online dating don’t get it when I don’t feel the mutual attraction thing. They try to still push and think I’ll cave. Now all of this sounds like I am bragging which is far from the truth. I really want to find someone that likes me for who I am and the last piece for them is they find me attractive (like a perk). I always feel that I have to declare that I do have a brain!!

  6. Elena Avatar

    1st_m8, wow, that isn’t a problem I’ve personally experienced 🙂 but in all seriousness I can see how that would be a problem: A physically beautiful woman who most men would be attracted to but she isn’t attracted to just any random guy. To me it seems that the best way to handle that would be to get that first face-to-face meeting out of the way as soon as possible. Keep that first meeting very casual and short. But don’t kid yourself…your physical beauty isn’t going to be the “last piece” that a guy finds attractive, it will be the first, so you may as well accept that fact and work that to your advantage. The fact that you have a brain will be the icing on the cake for the guy who falls for you. Sorry but that’s just the way most men are wired.