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What is the progression/stages of dating? What process does a man's mind go through during each?
Sex & Intimacy / 10:13 PM - Monday March 23, 2009

What is the progression/stages of dating? What process does a man's mind go through during each?

After knowing each other since we were thirteen, losing our virginity to one another at 18, and remaining very good friends and each sleeping with numerous other people in the intervening 12 years, my close friend and I slept together about two weeks ago. The next day, we talked about things and agreed to "see what happens". Since then, we've talked on the phone every day and spent last weekend together. All this is great, and I know we are both adjusting to seeing each other in a different light. I don't want things to move too fast, either. I am, however, curious as to what the difference is, in men's minds, between dating and being a real couple. I mean, does it seem to anyone else that knowing someone for 17 years and being ultra-familiar with who they are for better and worse might kind of cut out the need for these kind of contrived stages of dating?

I'm curious because I asked him why he seemed kind of awkward about pda and he said it's because we aren't yet a 'real couple'. This is all so new, I want him to be comfortable and take his time, but I'd love some feedback from other people.

- Asked by abroadabroad, A Thinker, Female, 36-45, Teaching

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Here are the stages of a relationship in a man's mind and what he is thinking at each of them:

Before you have sex for the first time,
he's thinking "When will have sex?"

After you have sex for the first time,
it's "When will we have sex again?"

- Response by chessplayer, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Administrative

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Do take your time, just because you have known and dated in the past doesn't mean they really have the same values as you. I dated a man three times 16, 30 and resently and almost married him the last time. But, Thank God we took our time, because found out that time can either improve your relationship or make you just want to stay friends. If I had rushed I be rushing to get DIVORCEd. Just relax and let it grow and just Communicate Alot...

- Response by sexsationalwoman65803, A Hip Hop Girl, Female, 46-55, Who Cares?

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Yes, the past history might be a good reason for things to move a faster than normal, but it doesn't mean it's going to be instant either. Two weeks, even with the past history, is really fast to be expecting things to be completely established. Give it a little time and enjoy the rush a new relationship always involves. Maybe in two months you'll be a "real couple".

Also, thought occurs to me his comment about pda may have been him fishing for an answer from you about how you feel about things, if you want to get to "real couple" status be sure to let him know you are open to, even eager for it to be so.

- Response by twotwenty, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65

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~Romance Crash & Burn Imminent!~

- Response by geester, A Creative, Male, 56-65, Celebrity

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Knapps Relationship Model:

The steps up the pyramid...

Initiation: This stage is very short, sometimes as short as 10-15 seconds. In this stage, interactants are concerned with making favorable impressions on each other. They may use standard greetings or observe each other's appearance or mannerisms.
Experimenting: In the next stage, individuals ask questions of each other in order to gain information about them and decide if they wish to continue the relationship. "Many relationships progress no further than this point" 17.
Intensifying: Self-disclosure becomes more common in the intensifying stage. The relationship becomes less formal, the interactants begin to see each other as individuals, and statements are made about the level of commitment each has to the relationship.
Integrating: The individuals become a pair in the integrating stage. They begin to do things together and, importantly, others come to see them as a pair. A shared relational identity starts to form in this stage.
Bonding: During the bonding stage, a formal, sometimes legal, announcement of the relationship is made. Examples include a marriage, "best friend" ritual, or business partnership agreement. Few relationships reach this level.

And the down-slope begins...

Differentiating: In this stage, partners begin to stress the "me" instead of the "we." In other words, the individuals begin to assert their independence. They may develop different hobbies or activities. The relationship may continue to dissolve, or this stage may be a warning sign that the couple needs to address their relationship status.
Circumscribing: Communication between the couple diminishes during this stage. They tend to avoid certain topics of discussion. Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state.
Stagnating: During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
Avoiding: The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion.
Terminating: This is the final stage of the relationship. Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, or arbitrarily, through divorce. Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively.

- Response by anie01, A Thinker, Female, 26-28, Teaching

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