Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor
Have you ever been on a date that wasn't quite going in the direction you intended? Perhaps you were looking for a long-term marriage partner and your date was sizing you up as a short-term sex partner? Or maybe, just the opposite. Perhaps, you were in the market for the one-night stand, "hooking up", or friends-with-benefits, and your date was not on the same page?
If you have experienced this dating disconnect, you're not alone. Conveying and interpreting the meaning of a "first date" can be difficult. But, according to Epstude and Förster (2011), how people interpret ambiguous romantic situations can be influenced.
Epstude and Förster (2011) assert that love and sex are independent in the mind. They exist at different levels of thinking (called "construal levels"). Love is thought about on a more abstract level and in a longer-term, future timeline. Sex, in contrast, is considered on a more concrete level, in the here-and-now.
Essentially then, influencing an individual's level of thinking can make thoughts about "love" or "sex" more likely. Across 3 studies Epstude and Förster (2011) supported this assertion. They found that changing participants "construal level" resulted in them seeing more "love" or "lust" in ambiguous dating scenarios.
You can change your dating partner's "construal level" as well - with the right conversation. Talk about the right topics on a first date and they might be planning lifelong adventures by dessert. Discuss other topics and a single steamy night of passion might be more likely. Let's review a few examples of discussions that will get your date thinking along the lines of "love" or "lust"...
Cognitions (thoughts) of Love take place in the abstract and the future. So, to call upon that construal level, get your dating partners to discuss some of the following:
In contrast, cognitions of Lust take place in the specific and present. To elicit that construal level, get your partners talking about:
The mind is flexible, but it also has set "tracks" of thinking. Discuss long-term and positive generalities, and put your date on track to daydream about "happily ever after". Get them thinking about their current feelings, experiences, and body sensations, and put them on track for daydreams that are a bit more naughty. Either way, you take a bit of ambiguity out of the date. The direction you go in, however, is your choice.
Go to www.AttractionDoctor.com for more dating and relationship advice (in helpful categories)!
Until next time...happy dating and relating!
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© 2011 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.