Why Our Relationships Are Failling 50% of the Time
It is a hard pill to swallow when you have put in the effort with someone you thought was Mr. or Ms. Right, only to find out that person isn’t the one.
Having sex early on in the dating ritual may have something to do with why Prince Charmings turn into cold-blooded toads and beautiful princesses transform into evil witches.
In our culture of romance and dating, we place too much emphasis on SEX: when to do it, how often to do it, where to do it, what to wear when we do it . . . But there is more to a relationship than sex. Sadly, however, many young adults are experts at giving blow jobs or getting their partner to reach orgasm in five minutes or less, but lousy at keeping their relationships viable.
How did we get here?
Sex education teaches sexually maturing adolescents to focus on the gritty stuff surrounding relationships: unwanted pregnancies, teenage parenting, STDs, and, of course, reaching orgasm. But relationships are so much more than unwanted fetuses and bacterial infections. Tabloids follow with their explicit dialogue geared at keeping readers “comin’ back for more.” And we cannot forget about the relationship expert we call Hollywood. It sends the message that if our lovers are not doing a good job for us sexually, we have two choices: dump the person at the next anticlimactic sexual encounter or get someone on the side to wow our socks off.
We have become a sex-worshipping culture, so much so that infidelity is listed as the number one cause of divorce. American people would rather break their families apart than deal with a cheating spouse.
Research shows that sex, on a good night, lasts about 10 minutes (my apologies to all the record breakers out there). If a couple has sex every day, that is a total of 60.83 hours a year devoted to reaching orgasm. That leaves 84 percent of the relationship unaccounted for. Who is teaching sexually maturing adults what to do the other 84 percent of the time they are with their sweethearts? Who is teaching young people what relationships are really supposed to do for them?
If you get into relationships just for the fun of it, then immediately stop reading this article and proceed to the nearest sex shop. But if you are of the group that wants something more from your relationship, it is time to reevaluate your attitude toward dating and sex.
Sex is not the do or die of a relationship. It is not the deal breaker it is made out to be. You would never know it, though. It has been wrongly glorified, given superhero status in keeping our relationships healthy. That may be true in an established relationship, but not in a young and budding romance.
Chris Rock once jokingly said that when we first meet someone we are meeting that person’s agent. People are on their best behaviors during the dating phase. Of course, this is not unique to dating. “Putting on a good face” is common practice during job interviews. Prospective employees put their best faces forward during the hiring process, but no sooner do they get the job and become comfortable than another side of their personality—their true nature—comes out: in many cases, the stuff disciplinary action was invented for.
This is exactly what happens in a relationship. People show you their best face in order to impress you. But no matter how perfect the face, it is not the face of the person you will date in the months to come. Be that as it may, the majority of lovers will have fallen head over heels and pants on the floor in the first three months.
What this means is that people are getting sexually involved and falling in love with virtual strangers. That would be okay if sex came with no strings attached. But unfortunately, sex by its very nature is an attachment maker. It causes people to form bonds with one another, even if they promise that it won’t. Sex relaxes our internal defenses, and makes us put our guards down and become more trusting. In the process, it causes us to overlook the red flags—the brow-raising behaviors that tend to pop up in our lovers once the “good behavior phase” is over. You don’t want this, certainly not at the start of the relationship. During this period, you want to be “in your right mind” so that you can weed out the riffraff. So that you can honestly assess whether the man sitting across from you is the type of person you can get along with after the initial magnetism wears off. There is no room for error, especially if you want to avoid the pitfalls and heartaches that come with choosing the wrong beau. Your defenses must be strong and intact.
Sex does not help you get to know a person better. It only creates an attachment to what you already know about the person. And in the first three months, you don’t know as much as you think. If that were the case, more relationships would survive.
For men—on the surface—there may not appear to be any benefit to waiting on sex, especially since you don’t typically form deep bonds through sex, as females do. You attach to a woman through the mental bond you create with her. You fall in love with women based on how well they capture your mind. But there is a reason, even for you, to keep your pants zipped.
You want to know if the girl you are crazy about feels the same for you. The problem is, sex clouds a woman’s judgment. It can make her appear to be in love, when really she is merely stricken by the aroma of sex. When the spell ends, you will be left heartbroken. Worse, sex can make a woman overly vulnerable. Insecurity and neediness go hand in hand with being vulnerable. Now, suddenly, the woman that you held the most respect and admiration for has become a pain in the derriere.
Women, if you are worried about a man losing interest in you if you don’t have sex with him right off: don’t. It is not sex that makes men fall in love with women, anyway. Well before the sex, a man has typically already made up his mind that he wants to go the distance with a woman. It is her personality, spending time with her, sharing meals with her, the stuff she talks about . . . these are the things that hook a man. A man who has invested this much energy in a woman is likely not to go anywhere. Don’t be fooled by the movies: men are most attracted to women who respect themselves and show confidence in their decisions, women who will not take any bull. By not having sex, you will merely intensify his yearning and deepen his curiosity. And if he won’t wait, then we pretty much already have a clue as to how that story would end if you did become intimate with him early on. The bottom line is, if you are unable to hold a man’s interest during that crucial 84 percent, the relationship wasn’t hanging on by very much to begin with. A man can get sex from any number of women but there are very few women with whom he will want to create intimate emotional bonds.
And for you guys: there are those bad-girl types who will be turned off by nice guys who want to properly court them. Leave those girls for their bad-boy counterparts. Trust me; you will catch more than your share of these girls once they are hurt by their bad-boy relationships in a few years.
One benefit to holding off on sex is that it allows you to form a deep friendship with the other person. It is harder to walk away from someone you have deep bonds with than from someone you hook up with on weekends for dinner and casual sex. Another benefit to waiting is that if the relationship doesn’t work, you will not have “wasted your time” with someone you never want to talk to again. More than likely, you will have inherited a true friend that you can confide in.
Keep your dates in the public sphere, with others around. Avoid intimate settings. Let your sweetheart know up front that you don’t intend to get involved sexually in the first trimester of your blossoming love.
Your sex-education class may not have told you, but I will. We live in a world rife with crooked politicians, crooked police, crooked doctors, crooked bankers, crooked lawyers, crooked teachers, crooked priests, crooked employers, and crooked day-care centers. To navigate this crooked maze, we need a strong support network. That is where relationships come in. Our relationships are designed to help us survive better. To give us more eyes, ears, and brainpower with which to stay safe in an unsafe world. It is a fact; a group of people has a better chance of survival than the lone individual. Sex is the most popular way to grow our families. But we cannot grow strong families if we pick weak partners who disappear after a few sexual encounters.
So if we want strong relationships, we have to take it off—not our clothes, but the pressure we put on ourselves to satisfy our society’s oversexed nature. Don’t let your hormones be the guiding force at the start of your relationship. Let your brain and gut feeling steer you into the arms of the most suitable partner. Your future is riding on it.