They say you have to learn to walk before you can run and this couldn’t be more apt for when it comes to dating. However, when applying this to the Asian dating world, it’s often easier said than done. The pressures to find a life partner often leads to people forgetting and enjoying the art of dating. A first date is often treated as a job interview for a wife or husband. Dating is accelerated as though it’s a race to the finish line for a spouse and hasty choices made from fear of not wanting to waste time with the wrong person. The end result is highly likely to be the least desired result – single and still searching. But by being consciously aware you can avoid these pitfalls...
The crawling stage - Otherwise known as the first few dates. It’s all fun and exciting to have discovered someone that you ask, or agree to go on a first date with. At this point all you really need to be doing is assessing whether the other person intrigues you enough that you would like to meet with them again. You should be exploring what you have in common - lifestyles, interests, passions, drive and ambitions - and how well you get along & communicate. You shouldn’t even be thinking about whether their culinary skills are going to satisfy your parent’s palates, how many past relationships they have had, or whether they are going to make an amazing parent in the future. Whilst these things may be important to you, thinking so far ahead from the outset, inevitably puts unnecessary pressure on both of you.
The standing stage – After a few dates you’re still interested in getting to know this person further. This involves building up momentum. Just to clarify this does not mean calling, texting or emailing every single day but at least communicating a couple of times in between your dates. You’re bonding further but are not necessarily in an exclusive relationship but certainly exploring the possibility. You are spending more quality time together, starting to divulge personal information and sharing small intimate or special moments (without necessarily being physical). As you move into this stage, it’s still too early to know whether he, or she is the one. Don’t put pressure on yourself trying to get a definitive answer just yet. If it is going well and there are no major issues – go with the flow and enjoy the present moments.
The first few steps - Things are still going really well and you are now in an exclusive relationship. You’re sharing more personal and intimate information and venturing into one another’s friends & family circle. You communicate daily and you’re spending more quality time together, including weekends and holidays. You may start talking about the future, but that does not mean you should be expecting, or rushing into marriage straight away. By trying to accelerate the relationship at this stage could lead to your downfall. Remember, you are still discovering each other and at this stage you’ve only just taken your first few steps and are yet to walk.
The walking stage - You’re much closer to finding out whether he or she is the one for you. You now know each other really well and are open about sharing all personal information. Not only are you part of one another’s daily life, you’re also considered to be part their friends’ & family circle. Whilst you may have briefly touched upon the subjects of finances, living situations, in-laws and kids previously you are now exploring at a deeper level in order to plan a future together. Having given your relationship an opportunity to grow organically, a formal commitment of living together, getting engaged, or married is now on the table. You’re both now in a position where you can make informed decisions about your future, rather than act in haste and repent at leisure.
Agreeably, there are no hard & fast rules about how long you should be in one phase before you move on to the next, as every relationship is different. You will increase your chances of meeting the right person by not putting pressure on yourself because of your family, society, age, biological clock or the fact that all your peers have coupled up. I will leave you with some food for thought:
A plant cannot grow overnight from a seed, it has to be nurtured and go through a natural cycle of growth. If you’re overzealous and water it too much, eventually the plant will drown. Conversely, if you’re too laid back and forget to water it, through neglect the plant will dwindle away. The key is to strike a balance together with the natural growth cycle and you will yield a plant from a seed...