I remember years ago, when I was a young spunky hairdresser, aka "hair-a-pist", I had a young male client who was telling me about this girl he met who he was totally "in love" with. He explained that although things started off really well, they suddenly seemed to be going stale and he was really worried; he asked for my advice. So... being the amazing relationship expert that I was at 26 years old (haha! NOT!) I decided to ask him a few questions, then really listened and analyzed his reply to each one. To my recollection, it went down kind of like this....
1. What made you feel that things were going "really well"?
His reply: We talked at least twice a day on the phone and saw each other 4-5 times a week. It was incredible, we had so much in common.
2. Did this happen from day one or did it develop over time?
His reply: It happened from day 1, we were so into each other that we could not get enough.
3. What was the first thing that happened exactly to make you realize a change?
His reply: After about three months of constantly seeing each other, and learning everything about each other, I called her one night to see if she wanted to go out and she said she did not feel well. I asked her if I could bring her anything... she said no. She seemed really short and did not want to talk which was really weird.
4. How long ago was that and what makes you feel like things are going stale now?
His reply: Well, since that night which was about a week ago, we have not seen each other and she never answers her phone. I call her a few times a day and get nothing. I finally got a message from her saying that she felt we needed to slow down.. that she needed time. So what do I do???
Now... here is where I had the realization of exactly what happened.
"Too much time too soon leaves Jack broken-hearted and Jill uninterested."
This rule goes both ways. There is a balance that must happen in a budding romance... it is the balance of excitement and reservation. Most people, regardless of realizing it or not, need a little game of cat and mouse. Now... I am not one to condone altering who you are... in fact I am ALL for being 100% of who you are 100% of the time... just not necessarily all at once, if that makes sense.
In a brand new possible relationship, key word "possible"; meaning it has not yet been decided that you are in one, you must maintain some control over your excitement as well as telling that person EVERYTHING about you on the first few dates if you want it to have a chance of lasting. You must also realize that part of maintaining that interest is the art of gradually getting to know the person.
Let's think of a new relationship interest like opening a present....
Think of Christmas morning... you tear into a present really fast, it is exciting, but then you get kind of bummed now that the present has been revealed so quickly... the excitement is over, you lose interest after a minute or two and it leaves you wanting more. So, what do you do? That's right, you start looking for another present under the tree.
So... what could you have done differently?
You could have enjoyed every moment and every facet of thought that went into that gift if you had just SLOWED DOWN the process of revealing it. You could have stared at it for a few moments, admiring the pretty paper and the care that went into the wrapping, then as you slowly opened it... you could have imagined what was going to be inside and even stopped for a minute half way through to build the anticipation and excitement of the reveal. You then reveal the box... and hold it close, perhaps shake it to take a guess what is inside, and again... the excitement builds. Finally, as you S-L-O-W-L-Y open the box you peek under the lid and realize there is still tissue to tear away. HOW EXCITING! Now... you are overcome with anticipation as you tear into the final layer. And now.... when the gift is revealed you are overcome with joy, it is perfect.... simply incredible and you now will cherish this gift forever and probably remember the day you got it and how exciting it was to reveal the gift itself.
Budding relationships are the same way
When this client of mine asked me for relationship advice so many years ago, I wasn't an expert, but what I had learned at that point after having one divorce under my belt and several short-lived dating spells, was that there WAS an art to building a relationship, to keeping someone's interest, and part of that was to not allow the gifts to be revealed so quickly. They called it "courting" back in the day, today ... we just call it taking your time getting to know someone and not sleeping with them on the first date. If you give them all you have in the first month, what will they have to look forward to? The chances of them getting bored because the excitement is over are high and they will end up looking for another present. You must learn to build the anticipation for both of you, because getting to know one another on a deeper level slowly but surely will make your heart and mind go crazy... that is what you want.
So, are wondering what I told him to do?
She asked for time... so I told him, "give it to her". He was a little freaked out by that and shared that he was afraid that he would lose her, I told him if he did, she wasn't meant to be. I told him to stop calling her... to stop giving her the attention she was used to and that if it was gone and she missed it, that she would call him. I told him that if she did call him, to not answer but allow it to go to voicemail and then call her back later on that same day so that she would know he wasn't waiting by the phone... (even though he totally was). I told him that if she asked to get together to do something... to say no once in a while and plan things with friends so that she would know that his life did not revolve around her (even though it did.) He was a very sweet guy and was doing some pretty amazing things for this girl, he had a big heart and he needed to be sure she deserved it so she would not break it.
I am very happy to say that this was a success story. He did EXACTLY what I said... (I held him accountable) and she missed him. She started calling and he did not answer. She realized what she had once it was gone. They ended up getting back together and actually got engaged to be married about 6 months later married... I swear that is the God' s honest truth. It was pretty magical.
I am happy to say that all these years later, at 41 years old, I finally learned to take a lot of my own advice that I have given out for years and things are looking up for me as well.
You are a gift to someone... every single layer of who you are is a gift and you should allow yourself to be opened slowly; everything in life is the same way. There are many facets to a person, to an experience, to life itself and if you stop rushing everything; (remember tearing everything open so quickly ends the excitement) it can truly have a beautiful and likely VERY happy ending.
Start opening your gifts one layer at a time and see what happens!
Until next time...
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