What Are The Stages Of Dating?

So far the best book on dating I have read is by John Gray. It is no surprise to me since his book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” was a life changer for me.  A few years after this book was written he wrote “Mars and Venus on a Date”

This book has a lot of good points that I will cover in greater detail in other posts, but this article is about his 5 stages of dating.

Here is an overview of the stages from his site:


1. Attraction

2. Uncertainty

3. Exclusivity

4. Intimacy

5. Engagement

Since I am still in the early stages of dating, I have mostly been involved with stages one and two, although I have experienced all the stages in my former marriage.

For me, the best part of knowing the stages was that it was nice to know that uncertainty is a normal stage of the dating process. During this stage the man and woman both evaluate whether they want to move forward into an exclusive relationship. He does not say how long this stage lasts but does stress it is important for both parties to go through all the stages at the same rate.

Interestingly for me, having met a player or serial dater, he does mention that that behavior is merely a failure of the man to go through the stages in the right order; jumping from attraction to intimacy and then lurking in uncertainty without getting to exclusivity. It made it easier for me to forgive his behavior of dating many women at the same time and picking them all apart for minor offenses.  If he had waited to get intimate physically with these women rather than jumping right in (which is often fun and sexy…let’s face it) he would have had a better chance of finding out which of them he was willing to commit to and try out for awhile.

cherry blossoms

The author talks at length about how the budding relationship needs to go slow, not because of any morals, but because it is what works best for both men and women.  This book echoes what my second favorite dating books say “The Rules for Dating series” which I will review later.  The Rules book focuses more on WHAT to do during the early stages of dating but not WHY to do the early stages of dating slowly.  If you are an S Myers Briggs type, who prefers facts, you may prefer The Rules, but as a N type, who prefers theories, I was more convinced by the Mars Venus book that going slow was not just some boring old fashioned idea but rather a true natural process for dating; especially for us middle aged post divorce daters who have done it all and often want to get right back there right away. Doesn’t work.  Every divorce and dating book always says “SLOW DOWN!!”.

I loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone, even married people.

Read more at Online Dating For Women Over 40: The Hopeful Woman’s 10 Step Guide to Enjoyment and Success

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