In our last advice on relationships blog we introduced the five-stage framework in
developing relationships that clarifies behaviours for men and women. They are:
Today we will tackle the difficult stage of uncertainty.
Uncertainty is a predictable stage of dating. You may be surprised that being uncertain does NOT mean that this isn’t the right person for you. Both men and women tend to feel uncertain when they are dating someone that stands out from the others, when there is a special connection.
The first stage of dating, Attraction, is a time to meet and get to know a variety of people. Stage 2 is the time to focus on one and give the relationship a chance. Men and women experience uncertainty differently. Let’s begin our discussion with …
Uncertainty for Him:
When a man is uncertain he tends to question whether he wants to pursue a relationship. We all know at least one man who has dated just about every eligible woman in town, one more fabulous than the next. And yet this man is still single and typically says that he has never met the right woman. This man has not yet made it through the second stage of dating, uncertainty.
During this time men may find that other women begin to seem more appealing. Rather than looking to where the grass is greener, a man who is uncertain needs to stay on his side of the fence and dig deeper: Rather than questioning if this woman is the right person for him, he needs to ask, “Could I be the right man for her? Do I care for her? Do I want to make her happy? Does her happiness make me happy? Do I miss her when we are apart?”
Without acceptance that uncertainty is predictable, a man may get stuck in a cycle of serial relationships. Instead of testing to see if he can make a woman happy, he questions whether she can give him what he wants … and may miss the perfect partner for him.
Uncertainty for Her
When a woman is uncertain she tends to focus on where the relationship is going. Often she senses that the man is pulling away. To find reassurance, she makes one of two common mistakes: Either she begins to ask questions about the relationship, or she may try to win him over. Both of these approaches can push him away or prevent him from feeling confident that he is the right man for her.
In the uncertainty stage, when a woman doesn’t understand a man, she may begin to panic. She asks ugly questions like, “ Did I do something wrong? Is there someone else? When will he call?” These questions will take her in the wrong direction and she may make the mistake of being too available or, worse, pursuing.
Men are like rubber bands: They pull away and, if you don’t run after them, they will often spring back. For a woman, the stage of uncertainty should be a time to reflect on what she is getting from the man, not on what she could get. This is a time for the woman to stay open to his future advances, but more important, it is a time to fill up her life with the support of friends … to think about whether he is really the right person for an exclusive relationship.
So the best advice on relationships in the uncertainty stage of dating is to not lose your cool. There are some bumps on the path to finding a loving and lasting relationship and this is one of them. Stay tuned for our next blog on Love at First Sight. From my advice on relationships to you …