Maria thought she had found the one. Her and Joe spoke all the time, they had an amazing connection and she felt like she could tell him anything. She was planning where they would live, how many children they could have and her dream wedding dress. They’d been chatting for three months and had yet to meet in person - they lived in different countries. They spoke about what they would do when they met and Joe kept saying he would fly to meet her, but hadn’t yet booked anything.
Julie came back from her third date with Peter. He’d planned another fun date, he made her laugh but he still had that slightly goofy hairstyle. She took out her phone to message her friend to ask what she should do next. She was confused - it felt like hanging out with a mate - where was the crazy chemistry that she had felt with her ex? Wasn’t it a waste of time to keep hanging out when there was no chemistry? And what about his hair?
I ask you: who do you think is wasting their time more?
So many women I speak to would say Julie. If there’s no chemistry, what’s the point? Part of you should “know” straight away. If she’s got enough friends, she should move on and find someone who excites her. Right?
Maria on the other hand “knows”. She has the amazing connection, can tell Joe anything and they speak all the time - exactly what you should have in a fulfilling relationship. The fact she doesn’t want to even chat to other guys surely means this is a sign that he is the one. Right?
In my opinion: Wrong. On both.
Why Julie isn’t wasting her time?
When I ask women what they want from their dream relationship, they nearly always say “someone to be my best friend”. Then someone comes along who is like a best friend, and they say no because there’s no chemistry.
Early days chemistry is often a result of:
The activation of a hot/cold cycle that your brain has come to equate with love due to the way you’ve been treated in the past
Deep, lasting connection (the kind that will see you through a lifetime of marriage) comes from way more than physical attraction or mental activation. For women particularly connection grows. When you feel secure, loved and your needs are met, you’ll feel connection on a way deeper level than that crazy-hot chemistry you’ve felt before.
Julie isn’t wasting her time. There are a lot of really good signs for the future - Peter is thoughtful, funny and consistent. She feels like she can be herself with him and they have fun. She just needs to give it a bit more time to see whether that connection grows.
Why Maria is wasting her time, big time?
If I told you you could have the relationship of your dreams, but you’d never see each other in person - would you go for it? No, you’d laugh in my face.
Maria has got so wrapped up in a phantom relationship that she’s invented in her head. Yes, she can talk to Joe about anything and that makes her feel connected, but there are plenty of other people who could or already do offer her that same space. That connection is likely to be a creation of her own mind - something she has longed for for so long.
She’s completely overlooked the practical facts:
They have never met in person
Joe keeps telling her one thing but not taking any action
Joe could have a completely different life she knows nothing about
Joe does not seem ready to commit to a weekend together, let alone a relationship
She’s stopped seeing other people to commit to her phantom relationship
Many of these facts could come up, even if they were living in the same country.
The longer she leaves it, the bigger and more significance the phantom relationship gets whilst the practical relationship never gets off the ground. Now that’s a waste of time.
How to tell if you’re wasting your time
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel good in his company?
Does he share the same fundamental values that are most important to me?
Does he seem ready to be in a relationship in the near future?
If you’re answering yes, then no, you’re not wasting your time. Give it a bit more time and see if that connection grows.
If you answer no, then think hard about whether this really has the potential to go somewhere. At the very least, keep your options open and be ready to meet other guys in the meantime.