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Five Keys to Dating Him without Getting Hurt

couple walking in a park

Today’s world is filled with messages on how to date, but frankly, most of what we hear is creating heartache after heartache for women. After even one heartbreak, a woman might find herself distancing herself emotionally, having problems connecting, or experiencing trust issues.

The examples in pop culture are numerous. On this past season of ABC’s The Bachelor, for example, viewers watched as women became physically involved with the leading man. In the words of one participant, when they kissed, all the issues in her mind “disappeared.” Several women during the season described delving into a fast, physical relationship, while the emotional relationship was missing something.

What we are seeing is that many women are first looking for a physical connection and then asking themselves: Do I really like him? Are we really compatible? Do we really want the same things in life? Unfortunately, once we develop a strong physical or sexual connection and become infatuated, our brains start to convince many of us that the answers to the above questions are yes, when in fact they may be no.

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Why does this happen? According to researcher Helen E. Fisher, individuals who are “falling in love” experience elevated concentrations of central dopamine and norepinephrine along with lower levels of serotonin, which tends to mean they obsessively focus their thoughts and attentions on one another and, more importantly, on their partner’s positive attributes rather than the negative ones (p. 416). Once that “falling” feeling has diminished, as it generally does over the next few months, individuals begin to notice deficits more rapidly than before.

So now we have a situation where a woman is emotionally invested and connected with a man, but experiences confusion about whether they are actually compatible or share the same values or goals. To protect her heart, she tries to convince herself that they are a good match and that they want the same things in life. But she may still hear that “little voice” telling her that something is not right.

Ladies! Consider the following advice to protect your heart, make smart dating decisions, and more easily find the person you may be searching for:

  1. Take the physical relationship slowly. Very slowly. Even kissing.
  2. Get to know him deeply. Find out if you share the same life goals and values. What kind of lifestyle does he envision? What are his thoughts on marriage and commitment? (Hint: If he tells you he has commitment issues and you are looking for commitment, then back away now.) Do you share the same family values? Do you see eye to eye on religion and spirituality? These are the types of answers you want.
  3. Believe that you can know whether you have chemistry with him before you are physical. Many people ask me, “But if we do not have a sexual relationship at first, how do I know if we will have sexual chemistry?” Do you long to kiss him? Do you want to reach out and hug him? Do you stare into each other’s eyes? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you can relax your anxiety because you do, in fact, have sexual chemistry. You can work on whatever sexual issues may arise once you have built a solid relationship.
  4. If a little voice inside of you is telling you that it’s not right, pay attention to that voice and try to figure out why it feels that way. What is it saying? What are the red flags you are picking up? Why are you staying in a relationship if your gut is telling you it’s not right? Are you afraid of being alone? Do you wonder if you will ever find Mr. Right?
  5. Be OK with being alone for a while. If you have a need to be in a relationship, you may settle or convince yourself that he is what you want out of fear of going without anyone. While you’re with Mr. Wrong, you won’t be emotionally available and open to meeting Mr. Right.

If we take care to protect our hearts and open ourselves up safely and slowly, we will reduce our possibility of getting hurt. Opening yourself up too much too fast may create a pattern of distrust or emotional guardedness with others that will make it hard for you to find “the one” even if he is standing right in front of you. Taking the time to open yourself up slowly and protecting your body and feelings will let you lead with your head so that your heart can follow.


Fisher, H. E., Aron, A., Mashek, D., Li, H., and L. Brown (2002). Archives of Sexual Behavior. Vol. 31, No. 5. Pp. 413-419.

© Copyright 2014 by Mieke Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C, therapist in Silver Spring, MD. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Ansley April 4th, 2014 at 3:39 PM #1

    Why are there so many young women today who are so caught up in getting a man that they forget that they are also supposed to be thinking about getting the right man?
    I am sure that there are so many girls focused on getting the Mrs. that they forget that this person that they are chasing down will be someone they will have to be with for a long time and they sacrifice a whole lot of themselves just to attract him and rope him in.
    And for what? A fat bank account? A good looking guy on your arm? If he doesn’t love you and treat you right none of those things will be worth it. The only thing that makes it all right will be that he loves you and takes care of you and is willing to sacrifice everything for you just to be with you. This should be the man you are looking for, and believe me, when the right one comes along you will know it.

  • Dani April 4th, 2014 at 4:02 PM #2

    I have made the mistake of diving in to a physical relationship with the wrong guy too many times because I have always been searching for something, somebody to love me, not realizing that if I could just come to love myself I wouldn’t need that from someone else.

  • Amy Armstrong April 5th, 2014 at 5:24 AM #3

    I went through so many infatuations in college, some of them morphing into “relationships” that lasted quite a while and took up an amazing amount of time and energy. Looking back on it, I think I got more of a charge out of the conflict and trying to please the other person instead of even asking if I really liked the guy. In the end, most of them were really annoying or just awful to me. It is definitely worth trying to figure out if you have a real connection before getting in too deep, and that includes all that physical stuff. Sex doesn’t make us smarter when it comes to mate choice.

  • Glyna April 5th, 2014 at 5:32 AM #4

    When I started dating my husband I never worried about getting hurt. Why? Because I knew that he wasn’t the kind of man who would do that kind of stuff to me that would hurt me that way. I knoew that he wans’t a player, a cheater, or the kind of man who would expect too much too soon in terms of a physical relationship. We may have arguments and disagreements but it would never be because of something that made me uncomfortable physically or something that I wasn’t ready for on an emotional level. These are the men that you need to worry about, those who push you to do things that you are not quite ready to deal with, and ultimatley you should steer clear of.

  • Maddox April 5th, 2014 at 12:26 PM #5


  • Janice April 5th, 2014 at 1:38 PM #6

    Girls, ya just need to learn that if you give a little he will wanna take a lot so give very little at a time. Don’t give away the whole bag of goodies all at once cuz then what will he ever need to keep comin back for? Give him just a little bit at a time, always leave him wantin just a little and by the time you are ready to commit so is he

  • Antoine April 7th, 2014 at 3:37 AM #7

    You have to know that one of the best things that you can do against letting someone else hurt you is to know who you are and to be definitive about that. Be that person who does not need someone else to define them or make them feel their self worth. I think that when you can get to the point where it really doesn’t matter all that much what someone else thinks or says about you is the point where you will become the strongest and when you are going to actually feel the most confident in who you are. In my experience this is when the best of the best will be the most attracted to you, they will like this confidence and will like seeing you as someone who is strong and capable.

  • mason l April 7th, 2014 at 3:43 PM #8

    What happened to taking things slow and getting to know someone first? It’s like we have forgotten that this is actually an option and we wnat to skip over this step and move straight to the very serious stuff. Why not just take your time and have a little fun with someone first? That can be so rewarding just getting to know someone new and learning new things from them. It might be the Ms right for you and it might not be but you won’t know unless you devote some real time into it and get to know the person on a deepr level than just what their favorite restaurant is.

  • leland April 8th, 2014 at 3:44 AM #9

    One heartbreak doesn’t have to be a major setback. I guess if you think that this is the love of your life, then yeah, it could set you back for a while, but otherwise dust yourself off and get going again.

  • Lindy April 9th, 2014 at 4:04 AM #10

    I have definietly been in relationships where I fall head over heels in love so quickly but the begin to see their faults very quickly so that is kind of my cue that this can’t be right.
    I think that when this person is right for you, then yes, you do know that they have flaws, but you are able to see them as the total package and these are not the only things that stick out to you.
    They just become part of what makes this person special, and the good should ALWAYS outweigh the bad.
    When it doesn’t, then you better RUN!!

  • daniel April 12th, 2014 at 1:15 PM #11

    All of the advice about taking things slow? My wife and I got pretty heavily involved right from the beginning and we have been together happily I should say for more than 20 years now. I might not want the same for my daughters but it worked for us. Sometimes I think that you have to look at what stage of your life you are in and what you know for sure that you are ready for. If you are younger maybe this wouldn’t be the right choice for you but once you are a little more mature and have some other things in order maybe it isn’t always so bad to dive right in. Relationships like this are not always a failure.

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