Obvious,But Not So Obvious

I think that I've been pretty lucky when it comes to dating because although some of the guys I've been with have been less than nice, for the most part I've never dealt with anything that was really crazy.  My main problem with guys is that most don't understand what a relationship is really about and how a relationship naturally forms. Actually most people in general, male and female, don't understand the basics of relationships.  We've become such a microwave society, so much so that we cheat ourselves out of quality relationships everyday. Sometimes we focus so much on "networking"-what we can get out of people and how we can get it- that we forget how to genuinely relate to people, which is all a relationship is. 

I heard some of the best relationship advice of my life at a seminar I went to called How Not To Marry a Jerk.  My favorite thing from the whole seminar was the R.A.M, or the Relationship Attachment Model.  There are five stages to the natural progression of a relationship:
  1. KNOW- This is the stage where, of course, you are getting to know each other. You ask stuff like, you know, where are you from, what do you do...very superficial questions. And according to the facilitator this stage lasts ATLEAST 3 months. Whenever you feel like things are going too fast, rewind back to this stage. It probably was rushed.
  2. TRUST-  As you'll see, many of these stages are self explainatory. But they're also the types of things that are apparently obvious but not so obvious. This is the stage where you build up trust for a person, but how do you know when you really can trust a person? If the Know stage lasts 3 months, this one should last at least that long if not longer.
  3. RELY- Just because you trust someone does not mean that you would rely on them. To rely on someone is beyond trust; you actually would put some important aspect of your life in their hands.
  4. COMMIT- Oh yes. Here is that word that players hate to hear. 
  5. TOUCH- In other words, sex. See how this is the LAST step in the natural progression of relationships? But somehow we think that we can rush to No.5...and then we wonder why we have such a hard time.
If you want to read more about this read How To Avoid Marrying A Jerk by Dr. John Van Epp. 
The seminar went on to list some traits of "jerks", but over the years I have noticed some traits myself...watch out for these:
The Salesman Approach- When a man tells you all these reasons why you should date him, or he makes excuses up front about some personality quirk he has, run!
One of the first things he tells you is that he's got lots of female friends- The problem is not in the female friends themselves, but in his attitude towards them.  Many men who tell you this upfront separate romantic relationships from friendships instead of seeing them as consecutive levels in the same process.  He may end up giving the emotional connection you crave to them while expecting you to be satisfied with only a romantic or physical element. A man worth having is willing to be your friend and your lover. You should be his best friend.
He tells you that he doesn't want anyone in his business- This may seem at first like something a discreet gentleman would say, but if he never mentions you to anyone even when the situation is appropriate, he's probably hiding something.  A girlfriend  is a significant relationship in a man's life...and although you don't expect him to gush  about you to everyone at the grocery store, you  should be on his mind enough that if something reminds him of you he should mention your name.
The bottom line is, hold out for quality and stand on your convictions. Life is too short to accept less than that.