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5 People You Date Before You Fall in Love

5 People You Date Before You Fall in Love

People say that dating is a numbers game, but I think it’s a lot more like waterskiing.

When you make your first attempt to waterski, you fall over forwards. On your second try, you fall over backwards. On the third try, you fall to one side and on the fourth try, you get up on skis.

Each time, you learn a little something and make adjustments.

Love is the same way. You have to take a dive a few times before you get it right. And just like waterskiing, there’s a pattern to the learning process: five people you’ll date before you truly fall in love.

Great on Paper
He’s a tall, rich, handsome doctor who mentors underprivileged kids. Your mother loves him, your friends love him, and everybody says you make the perfect couple. He gives fabulous birthday gifts, never forgets an anniversary or what you wore to a special occasion. He takes your car in for an oil change and a car wash when you’re out of town, and even lets your cat sleep on his head.

She’s a blond, beautiful supermodel/art student who worked her way through college as a massage therapist for the elderly. She stocks the fridge with steaks, bean dip and beer for your boys night in. Your boss thinks she’s hilarious and has promoted you twice since you started dating. Your friends are jealous as hell and while every person on the planet thinks she’s the greatest catch EVER, she only has eyes for you.

Sounds great right? As perfect as the Great on Paper date may be, you can’t convince yourself to fall in love with them. You try and try and try. You really want to, as this person is clearly your escort to the perfect life that awaits you.

But you don’t think that his or her jokes are that funny. On Sunday mornings, you act busier than you are so that you don’t have to spend the entire day together. You like the security and comfort of the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend, but the reality is not that spectacular. There is no spark.

And sometimes, we try to talk ourselves into that Great on Paper relationship — if we can’t be happy with this perfect specimen of the dating pool, will we ever be happy? Only if we’re true to ourselves and trade the Great on Paper for the Great in Person.

Bad Boys, Bad Girls, Watcha Gonna Do?
Nearly all of us go through some period in their lives when we’re swept up by a bad boy or bad girl. For women, it’s the Navy Seal with the amazing bod and the mental prowess of a Spam sandwich. The Harley guy with mean beard stubble and vibe to match. For guys, it’s the Angelina Jolie lookalike who makes you feel like the center of the universe, and then puts the moves on your roommate the minute you leave for the men’s room. We can see the bad boys/bad girls coming a mile away, and yet we fall for it every time.


Part of us likes to believe we can be the one to turn this wildcat into a pussycat. Part of us just enjoys that down-to-our-toes thrill, the excitement of something we KNOW is bad for us. (Like chocolate cheesecake, $300 scotch and Jimmy Choo shoes.) Some of us are just gluttons for misery.

And most people actually grow out of the bad boy/bad girl phase once we hit our mid-20s, although some of us take a little longer to learn the lesson.

At some point we learn these bad boys and bad girls are beyond reform, and the rush we feel when we see them as they could be (faithful, honest, dependable) wears off to the reality of what they are (screwing your best friend.)

Which means the best thing you can hope for with bad boy or bad girl is getting them out of your life for good.

Extreme Jealousy: Dating Edition.
Where have you been? Who were you sleeping with? Why do you have your boss’s cell number programmed into your phone?

This person is so madly in love with you he or she will feel compelled to break into your email account, circle the block when you’re at home alone and even (surprise!) crash your family reunions.

When you call your jealous date on his or her behavior, he’ll say that he’s only doing it because he loves you so much or she’ll say she wouldn’t feel so insecure if you weren’t so freakin’ flirtatious.

This is not love, even though it’s quite a heady feeling to be the center of someone’s universe.

And this is not passion. It’s the first stop to crazy town.

Break it off. Break it off now.

The Zealot
Maybe his cause of choice is a certain political candidate or she’s dedicated her life to Operation Smile. The Zealot is entirely consumed with global warming, the corporate ladder, saving the lemurs, converting everyone they meet to Scientology or tracking down and preserving every single Cadillac that once belonged to Elvis Presley. He’s passionate, she’s consumed: They’re working for a higher cause. When you date this person, you’ll find yourself sucked into their enthusiasm, copying flyers at 2 a.m. or selling wrapping paper door-to-door to raise the needed funds.

Sometimes the causes are worthy, and you feel good about the work you’re doing together. But eventually you may end up, er, faking enthusiasm. Maybe you don’t want your entire life to be about ONE THING.

When two true Zealots for the same cause meet, they have a powerful union, as long as they stay passionate about the issue. But if you’re lukewarm on lemurs or Democrats or fundraising, your relationship with the Zealot is doomed to fail.

The good news is that a new recruit will take your place as soon as you vacate it.
After all, the Zealot doesn’t have room in his life for someone who isn’t completely dedicated.

The Best Sex of Your Life
This will probably be the first and the last time in your life you have 17 orgasms in a four-hour timeframe, but it will stick with you for the rest of your life. Something about this person makes you want to get freaky in an alleyway. You’ll get wild with this person in your mother’s basement, at the carwash, in the parking lot at the dentist’s office and on the back of a motorcycle.

You’ll try flavored lubricants, sex toys, bondage and porn. And one day, you’ll get out of bed, exhausted after another seven-hour action series, and realize you don’t have anything in common but sex.

You’ll decide that you want something even better. And that, my friends, is when you’re ready to fall in love.

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