One of the most consistent patterns I find in my private practice is that men and women too quickly dismiss potential partners for a reason that isn’t necessarily that important. Though not a client, I can think of an acquaintance who once said she decided she couldn’t go on another date with a certain man because he said the word “guesstimate” at dinner. She thought this was just ridiculous – and couldn’t stomach the thought of what other silly words he might have in store for her later.
How someone kisses is another example of a behavior that, for some, can be a deal breaker. Some people joke that you must test-drive the sex with someone in order to figure out if the sex will ever be any good. Similarly, some people judge someone’s sexual attractiveness based on how well they kiss on a first date. Come on people, isn’t that a bit shallow? If, in fact, this behavior is that important to you, perhaps your badly kissing date would consider attending a major conference to improve his or her status. Okay, maybe that’s not so realistic…
The point is that men and women must have open minds as they look for an appropriate partner. One of the things I like to say when people complain about their partners behavior is: Imagine when we’re all 80 and sitting around in nursing homes – is this something you’ll look back on as being that important? It may sound silly, but I believe this scenario – imagining how you’ll view things at 80 – helps to put things in perspective.
As you reflect on this issue, ask yourself if it’s possible that someone you’ve dated has dismissed you for some superficial reason. Dating is all about karma, I believe, and you must learn to receive what you dish out. If you dismiss someone for a simple, idiosyncratic reason, you must give full license to someone else in the future to dismiss you just the same.
The next time you meet someone and decide that you don’t like something about him or her, be sure to ask yourself if the reason is good enough. In other words, ask yourself if you are dismissing someone without giving him or her a fair shake. When it comes to dismissing someone because he or she is a bad kisser, or is awkward in some other way, remember that some of these behaviors improve with intimacy – and intimacy is like a garden that takes a lot of tending.