Last year, when I moved into my new apartment, I was newly separated and soon to be divorced, so I started dating. One morning, I was eating some cereal and thumbing through a copy of Self magazine that Shane had left at my place. What I read made me almost choke on my cereal. I wish I had it so I could quote it for you, but basically, it stated that there was something known as the "third date rule" and that basically that rule was that usually by the third date, guys are expecting to get laid.
I remember calling Shane asking if she'd ever heard of such a thing. I think she had heard of it, but wasn't really sure of all the particulars, not being a Third Date Girl herself.
While dating someone at a later point, he asked about sex and the approximate time frame involved and I said that I wasn't sure, but it wasn't in the immediate future and I needed to think about it. Then we started talking about it. Frankly, I was curious! Since I had been married for ten years, I was trying to find out if this was, in fact, true. So I asked him how quickly women would normally sleep with him and he said that there was this "third date rule." I was amusingly shocked! I'm just glad I had read about it in Self, otherwise I would've been totally surprised and shocked. Then I asked if that actually did happen. He said that sometimes it's later than the third date and sometimes even sooner (depending on how well the dates go I guess).
I can't, well, actually, that's not true... I could imagine having sex with someone on the third date. However, I don't think I could actually do it at this point in my life. If I was 20 and careless, then yeah, I might do that, but at 32, I feel like I should definitely know better than to do that. Not just for physical reasons, but for my mental health too. Making out is one thing, but to become intimate in that way would be something completely different and I want to make sure I'm emotionally connected to that man before I basically turn myself over to him. I want to love him and know that he loves me and doesn't just want me solely on a physical level. I seriously doubt that all these Third Date People really care about each other. It just seems impossible to truly care about someone after only three dates. You barely know each other well enough to want to start caring at that point.
For anyone who's reading this and thinks I'm on crack... this just in! My friend went out on a second date with a woman that he is mediumly attracted to and she asked him (also something I wouldn't do!) if he'd want to go out on a third date. He was up front with her and said that he was still dating other women that he had met online, but he did want to see her again. She said that was fine because she was seeing other people too and then said that if they went out again (the Third Date), maybe things could go a little farther. He didn't want to jump to any conclusions, so he said, "What do you mean by that?" and she said, "You know how attractive I think you are. Next time, maybe we could go out and then go back to your place..." Wow. I have no problems flirting and being playful, but I would not say that to someone that I had only been out on *two* dates with.
Obviously, I'm not a Third-Date-kind-of-girl. And I'm fine with that. There are so many people out there saying, "Just because we're women doesn't mean we can't enjoy sex the way guys do!" or "Forget about stupid rules, do what you want!" I just know that while I may want to do it on the physical level, mentally, I need something more. I don't even want to imagine how awful I'd feel if after having sex with a guy that I liked, he didn't call. Ugh. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I'm a fragile creature. I don't consider it a weakness, just a reality. So for my own sanity, I refrain. Even though it sometimes feel like I will go crazy. Luckily, frustration isn't lethal!
And here's how I know it's working for me. I have no regrets. I've never looked back over the past year and thought to myself, "Yeah, I should've had sex with that guy." Conversely, I know that if I had gone further with any of the guys I was dating, I would've regretted it. So, clearly, I've been doing a good job following my instinct about what to do. I don't stay up late wondering, worrying or fretting about what I did and whether that was a good idea. I sleep easy knowing I've done what's best for me.