You want a relationship that lasts. You want a partner to share things with — go to movies, out to dinner, go out with other couple friends, and not be the third wheel. You’ve been looking. You’re open. You allow your friends to set you up with their other single friends. You’re on Tinder and Bumble, and you go out every Saturday night on another date.
You finally meet a guy you are really into, and he’s into you. You sleep with him. The sex is amazing. You’re each getting high on fresh, positive feedback coming from this new coupledom. You spend one night a week together, it quickly turns into two, and soon you are spending the majority of your nights together. You now have a partner, someone to go out with to dinner and the movies, and then BAM, just like that, it fizzles out, and he’s out the door.
You swear you aren’t hurt, but you post the breakup on Facebook to share with your 1,627 friends– you’re acually heartbroken, and you’re still not sure what went wrong. You thought you met “the one” only to have it fizzle out in a matter of months, eight tops.
And then you start all over again.
I have many single friends who date.
They date a lot because they’re looking for a meaningful relationship — one that lasts.
However, many start in a way that’s been proven to have the highest rate of failure for a one on one relationship — with sex.
When couples have sex soon after meeting — at the start of a new relationship — sure enough, after four months, or maybe, sometimes a little longer than a year, it fizzles, and they are stuck wondering why he/she is out the door — he stops texting and calling — or sometimes, she loses interest or some combination of both.
There is now a term for entering and exiting relationships quickly, with impulse and chaos (sexual drama and ‘passion’) called “churning,” ever hopeful the next person will last and work out for the long haul. However, many people find themselves almost instantly in a new and similarly passionate relationship.
Cornell University policy researcher, Sharon Sassler, recently decided to study relationship “tempo.”
“Based on the hypothesis that churning leads people to enter less than satisfactory relationships, they investigated the connection between the timing of when couples first had sex to their later perceptions of relationship quality.”
According to Psychologytoday.com
“In general, the findings supported the hypothesis that having sex early (defined here as within a month of dating) was related to poorer relationship outcomes for men and women.”
This doesn’t mean there are no long lasting relationship successes that start out quickly with sex. There are. Just not the majoriy of them.
One reason for this is because sex — especially if it has any attachment to the heart — triggers a level of deep intimacy, or certainty, for some [women], triggers an expectation for deep intimacy.
If you are not prepared to step up for what that entails, one, or the other person, or both, will be out the door — usually the man — in the form of “shutting down.” Shutting down is so universal and common that we rarely stop to think about the fact that maybe starting a relationship with sex is not the best way to start.
The research tells us the majority of relationships that start with a quick, intimate jolt to the system won’t last, and those that do end in marriage; the marriage will suffer in terms of quality.
Oxytocin — In Lust
Another reason relationships that start with a quick sexual hit fizzle, or last but result in a poor quality marriage or cohabitation, is because sex makes us dopey.
Specifically, oxytocin is to blame.
This “love” hormone floods our system after sex making us think we are madly in love with some guy who, maybe, isn’t all that great, or, isn’t great for us.
Oxytocin is known as the “bonding” hormone released when a woman has an orgasm, for that reason alone waiting to have sex until we have established some friendship with the dude we are just getting to know is optimal.
Oxytocin is responsible for the gaga feeling that comes over us immediately after sex.
I have been a victim of this powerful hormone.
Thanks to oxytocin I have made some pretty questionable choices and been strung out and head over heels “in love” (in lust) for some below-average man — not right me — that I wouldn’t have thought much of had I waited and learned more about him, and not immediately become entangled with him intimately between the sheets.
This powerful hormone released immediately after sex is what makes you think every single thing he does is adorable; like when he leaves his plate out on the counter, his inability to wipe up the mess he made in the kitchen, his socks on the floor don’t bother you, he smells delicious after a twelve mile run, you’ll do anything in bed with him because every crevice of him tastes sweet.
This honeymoon phase lasts may be a year, possibly two. And then, just like that, reality hits, or more accurately, you are used to his pheromones, and now, they stink, in fact, you want him to take a shower immediately after he runs, and what kind of a grown man can’t put a dish in the dishwasher.
Sites like Bumble and Tinder might as well be called “churn.”
Because of the Internet and the ease with which people can connect, even down to allowing us to view “the available” within a five-mile radius of our current location, it makes the act of “churning” even more possible and probable. Ahhhh, so many choices.
And while meeting and dating is essential if you want to meet a partner to spend your life with — and dating sites can facilitate meeting many different people from any part of the country or the world — holding off on the sexual part will allow for some clarity on what you are getting yourself into and will allow you to gain knowledge about who this person is as a friend first.
If you are on Bumble and Tinder just to get laid, go for it. Maybe you like sexual drama and chaos, if that is so, have at it.
However, if you are looking for and genuinely want a relationship — one which lasts down the road — and is of high quality when you do marry, hold off on jumping into bed with a potential mate.
If entering a relationship with sex is the least effective path to having a grounded and healthy relationship, what is the more effective way to begin a relationship?
The smart path to a healthy relationship is beginning one in friendship and moving up to a solid partnership.
Take it slow.
- Do you want to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t your best friend?
- Do you want to be in a relationship with somebody who is not on your side? Who isn’t supporting you? Who isn’t caring about you?
- Do you want to be in a relationship with somebody who is not your ally?
If so, continue the endless sexual drama and the ups and downs of a relationship which starts with sex.
If not, then start with a basis of mutual caring.
You will have a higher chance of having a partnership — one built on a foundation of real friendship and genuine love.
Ground yourself in friendship —
When you start off a relationship with friendship, then you have a sense of what you are getting yourself into IF you do make the conscious choice to take the next step of making your relationship sexual.
After friendship, the sexual part of it will happen or it won’t eventually, depending on what you want.
If you are striving for a partnership with someone, starting in friendship will give you a solid footing for a healthy and grounded romantic relationship.
Without the “help” of oxytocin, you will be able to fully realize whether you truly like this person and whether he truly likes you.