Give That New Relationship Some Emotional Room To Grow


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Everyone knows about *** predators. Primarily male, they are physically aggressive-leering suggestively, staring inappropriately, going for the "accidental" grope, and generally making a nuisance (or worse) of themselves. But in the world of dating, there is another unsightly, though somewhat less hideous beast that remains largely unaddressed: the emotional predator.

If a *** predator comes on too strong sexually, an emotional predator comes on too strong emotionally. This is the person-here, women are the more frequent offenders-who stares at you across the table on your first date in loving adoration. She is convinced that the two of you are soul mates before the appetizers arrive, and by desert-if you've managed not to flee in terror-she will be naming your children.

Perhaps the problem has not been addressed directly because the offense is harder to prove. ("Officer, arrest that woman! She looked at me like she wanted to marry me!") Or perhaps emotional harassment is just easier to ignore until it rises to the level of stalking, at which point the law will step in. But even at lesser levels of emotional intensity, emotional predators can cause a lot of discomfort. At the very least, they can get in their own way. . .

Where *** predators are too aggressive in seeking the *** connection they crave, emotional predators drive people away by being too aggressive in seeking emotional intimacy. The problem can arise in both personal and professional settings, from the frightening first date who wants to elope to the depressing office worker who wants to tell you her whole sad life story in your first day on the job. At best it's a nuisance. At worst it's downright offensive.

Of course, some women just don't see the problem in what they're doing. "Isn't it great, " they say, "to find that incredible connection with someone you can just share everything with?" Yes, it is. But a healthy emotional connection takes time to develop, even if you have an immediate sense of the possibilities.

Put it this way, I wouldn't want a guy to expose his most intimate physical assets on our first date, no matter how hot he might be. And that guy you happen to like doesn't want you exposing your most intimate secrets either, no matter how much he might like you back.

Both physical and emotional intimacy are worth working up to. And a little mystery is intriguing. Half the fun of dating is slowly peeling back the layers-of both clothing and personality-to reveal the human being underneath. So don't be in such a rush, ladies. Make him work for it a little. If you want him to respect you enough to build that physical intimacy in a slow and enticing way, then you need to respect him enough to build that emotional bond with the same care and consideration.

Good things come to those who wait. Sex and friendship are no exceptions. Build those foundations slowly and carefully, together. Then whatever you build on top of them will last a lifetime.

-EM Sky has been a math instructor for The Johns Hopkins University, a special effects technician in Hollywood, a project manager for BellSouth, and a rock climbing instructor in Atlanta. She even tried being a lawyer for a while, but fortunately she came to her senses. Now she is an author, writing on business, life, and society for the whole human being. [ ]


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