"He's just not that into you." That one now infamous line -- pulled
from the legendary Sex and the City television series -- spawned not
only a book, but a dating revolution that, for a while, turned many singles'
lives upside down. At the core of the shake up: A philosophy that told us if
your partner isn't giving you the attention you expect, don't hang around and
wait for change - just move on.
But as sound as this tenet may be, it also underscores what experts see as a
major problem in relationships today: We frequently
expect a little too much, a little too soon. And that, they say, can spell
By Ty Wenger
Fifteen years ago, I found myself in a romantic pickle: Cheryl, a woman I
had been dating for about three months, was nearing her 25th birthday. The
birthday gift in any three-month-old relationship is a dicey one, and I
deliberated over it for weeks. Too big too soon and it could look like I was
trying too hard. Too little and I might appear indifferent. Too romantic and
I'd run the risk of setting the bar too high.
And so it was with great enthusiasm that I finally unveiled...
"People want to rush into a relationship and they want it all to work
out right away. They become very concerned if the other person doesn't call
them quickly or doesn't want to see them with increasing frequency," says
JoAnn White, a relationship expert and psychology instructor at Temple
University in Philadelphia. Often those expectations are simply
Many times, she says, one partner simply doesn't want to move that fast. So,
tossing away someone simply because they want to take it slow could turn out to
be a big mistake.
Psychiatrist Virginia A. Sadock, MD, notes that getting swept up in romantic
desire is not, in and of itself, a bad thing, as long as we don't subject our
partner to our fantasies too soon. "If there's this kind of desperation to
get things moving too fast, it just pushes the other person away," says
Sadock, a professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.
So how do you keep yourself from expecting too much too soon? How do you
know when to hold on and when to let go? Experts say it all boils down to just
a few old fashioned bylaws of romance:
Don't rush into sex.
Let the relationship deepen slowly over months.
Think about what you bring to the relationship, not what you get
Understand that heady passion may not last, but love does.
Work through problems to have a stronger relationship in the end.
Keep It Light at First
While the wisdom may seem a bit conventional, experts say one of
the best ways to win at love is to hold off physical intimacy until you really
get to know someone.
"Sex changes everything," says relationship coach and matchmaker
"I always tell my female clients not to have sex until he says 'I love
you' -- because if you become intimate too soon you'll be thinking 'Oh, now
we're a couple,' while he's thinking 'Oh boy that was sure fun,'" says
Darnay, author of the book Dating 101.
The end result, she says is that one partner is playing by one set of
relationship rules, while the other may not even be on the game board.
To avoid all these complications, Darnay advises both male and female
clients to keep things light and breezy -- and put no expectations on each
other -- for at least a few months.