Outside of breaking off a relationship, the talking stage is arguably the most treacherous part of dating because there’s a whole lot of gray area to play around in. You and your love interest aren’t something, but you aren’t exactly nothing, either.
You might talk often, go on dates (or at least plan to go), and have even gotten intimate a time or two. However, because there is a clear understanding that you’re still really getting to know each other, no solid commitments have been made.
If you’re a little older, you might know the “talking stage” as just one of the defining characteristics of casual dating. It’s the earliest stage of romantic connection, and to keep it all the way real, often the most frustrating as well.
And to keep it even more real, the frustration of it all is often reserved for people who either have a difficult time being upfront about their needs, struggle with being overly attached to love interests in general, or simply don’t know how to keep it cool.
These are the people who do things like stay faithful during the talking stage because they like their boo so much or don’t like dating multiple people.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, there’s definitely potential of you being left finessed and heartbroken if you don’t exercise proper discernment. Here’s how to avoid playing yourself in the end.
But did they ask you, though? No? Oh, okay.
The biggest mistake you could make when dating someone you really like is assuming that you two are on the same page at all times. This includes leaning into the idea of exclusivity and commitment way too soon.
When we look at our love interest’s behavior during the talking stage, it’s easy to say “well they did XYZ for me, so clearly they want the same thing as I do.” Or you take a look at all the extra attention, morning texts, cute dates, and start filling in the gaps for yourself with what you want to be true.
A hard pill to swallow when casual dating is that, whether you realize or not, assumption is safe. You don’t have to have the awkward “what are we” talk or face harsh, immediate rejection if the talk doesn’t go as planned. However, direct and honest communication is a necessary evil during the talking stage.
There is a possibility that you’ll get your feelings hurt, yes. On the flip side, everything may work out for the best! Either way, you get the answers you need to move forward accordingly, and that’s the most important thing.
However, there is one time where it’s safe to come to your own conclusions during the talking stage! If you ask the person you’re interested in a question that requires a clear, direct answer and they only make things more complicated and confusing, it’s safe to assume that they are not the right person for you.
Chemistry is not compatibility.
More than anything, chemistry is a feeling. There’s an incredible amount of attraction, similarity, and “like” involved when you have great chemistry with someone. However, that’s not a sign of compatibility.
Good sex, uncannily similar music tastes, or even enjoying the same hobbies won’t be able to tell you the truly important things like their take on political and religious topics, if you two live by the same values, or if commitment is something they even want out of a romantic relationship.
Unlike genuine compatibility, chemistry is strictly surface level. And if you find yourself wanting to commit yourself to someone during the talking stage based on chemistry alone, it may be time to dig deeper.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to be excited! Keeping things light, flirty, and surface level is a big reason why the talking stage is so enjoyable in the first place. But if you catch yourself starting to develop deeper feelings, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the important topics:
- Basic values
- Love languages
- Goals and vision for their own life
- Their strengths and weaknesses
- Past relationships and experiences
The moral of the story is to really dig deep and get to know the person before you make the decision to emotionally and mentally commit to them so early on in the dating process.
This is how situationships get started.
The fact of the matter is, all relationships must start somewhere. And for the vast majority of us, there definitely has to be a natural progression from “nothing” to “something” if we want to avoid the dreaded in-between phase of the talking stage and a relationship, often called a situationship.
Situationships develop for a number of different reasons, but we’ll visit only one instance here. Have you ever heard the phrase, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” It’s just another way of saying, ” do not expect somebody to make a costly commitment if it will give them nothing they do not already have.”
It’s a saying that’s often used to discourage sexual intimacy too early on in the connection, but in my opinion, this advice applies to much more than sex. When we really start to develop feelings for another person, we begin sharing secrets, vulnerabilities, time, energy, lifestyles—what once was “I” slowly merges into “we”.
Now you mean to tell me that you’re willing to offer up all of the aforementioned things without, at the very least, a verbal agreement of commitment, exclusivity, and security? Think about what you’re actually investing in the connection, think about what they’re investing into it. Then, think again.