My friend Ann recently shared in a closed group how she has grown selective about giving a man access to her body. Ann was not always like this. Free-spirited and wild are adjectives that suit her perfectly. At one point in her life she had multiple sexual partners and confided in me that she would jump into one bed from the last. To see this woman come a full circle from being sexually liberal, uninhibited to sexually discerning is intriguing.
In the same group she shares-
“I discovered that having incompatible people in my energetic field is quite destabilising for my energy. I observed that when I had multiple partners I was shakier in my energy.”
I relate to her. We are not promiscuous but neither are we sexually exclusive property of a single man. Both of us do not believe in monogamy or marriage as lifelong sexually exclusive commitment.
So where does this leaves us?
I have just come out of a sexually and emotionally abusive long term relationship. In the past, I would jump from one relationship to another. This created dependency. In order to leave one man I needed the next. Often this gave me little breathing space to decide if the man was fit for me or not. A handful of meetings, prolonged late night chats, kissing on roads and I was ready to fall in love with that person. The result of these hasty interactions was all the same – either the man would ghost me, turn into a sex predator, or stay for the sake of it but remain emotionally aloof. It drained my energy trying to cope with the heartbreak and distance that some of these men brought with them.
Technology has turned us impatient. In one swipe of a finger or a tap of a button, we are exposed to hundreds of people looking to date/ hook-up. This has drastically impacted the shelf-life of a relationship as stakes are lowered and back up options have increased significantly. Online attention gives you an illusion of choice, with enough men or women willing to flirt with you. In today’s culture, we rarely have to wait for anything. We don’t need to think. We can Google anything we don’t know and get answers at our fingertips.
But in this fast paced neon world, an old saying echoes in my mind: “good things come to those who wait.” This ancient wisdom is still relevant. Even research indicates that the ability to delay gratification is related to success in life and improved psychological health. Likewise, in intimate relationships, a little delayed gratification can go a long way, and this is why I have started practicing a 90-day probation period before I decide to be in a serious relationship (that also involves sex) with a man. It has worked wonders for my mental sanity and has protected me from making disastrous intimate blunders with men who sexually objectify me.
WHAT IS THE 90-DAY DATING PROBATION PERIOD?
The 90-day dating probation period states that for the first 90-days it is important to conservatively pace your relationship (by setting some boundaries) because, most often, problematic patterns will start to emerge around the third month.
Think about it, most companies have a 90-day waiting period before employees are able to receive full benefits. This is because they want 90-days to test out their hire, to make sure they are a good fit with the company and be able to fire them if necessary.
My experience is this: it takes around 90-days for a person’s patterns to emerge. Whether it’s in the workplace or in a romantic relationship, the first 90-days is a critical time of assessment.
Take a second and think back to your relationships, the beginning is almost always the most amazing because you’re both on your best behavior and you haven’t really hit any major bumps in the road. But people can’t contain all their issues forever, and as a relationship progresses their real selves start to emerge. The thing is, though, if you’ve accelerated your relationship, then it’s likely you’re already in too deep to really see the problems that are just starting to surface.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT WORK?
The first step in implementing the 90-day dating probation period is to decide your firm boundaries.
How much will you trust your next partner at the beginning of the relationship? How much will you depend on them in the beginning? How far will you go in your sexual relationship?
Decide and then stick to those boundaries.
Then use those first 90-days to investigate your partner (I’m not talking about Facebook stalking).
Don’t jump to either positive or negative conclusions without evidence that comes from time.
Test out your hunches. If something bothers you about this partner, put it on the table in a caring, respectful way. But then leave it there and see what that person does with it.
You are not just trying to get to know what your partner brings to your relationship, but also how willing they are to bend, make minor changes, and act conscientiously toward you.
Give the relationship time so that different situations can arise that will bring out different characteristics in your partner.
With time, people become more comfortable and behaviors that were previously suppressed will come to the surface.
Once you’ve given the relationship some time, then patterns will emerge that will allow you to decide whether or not you want to invest more in your relationship.
So we want to hear from you. What’s your typical pace to a relationship? Do you tend to put things on hold for a while, or jump in feet first?