I've observed how there are basically two ways couples tend to do a dating relationship. Dating relationships develop outside-in or inside-out. They may also be something of a combination of the two. I can tell you right up front that the major difference between the two styles is determined in the way the dating couple becomes physically and/or sexually involved with each other or not. Remember these are broad generalizations, but please consider their merits and tell me what you think.
"Outside-In" dates tend to constructively involve other people--other couples, friends, family members, colleagues and associates, fellow students, etc. These relationships find dating couples doing things that are out in the open; non-secretive. Their dates and developing friendship has a crisp, lightweight feel to the bystander. The dating couple exude an inclusive mutually shared enthusiasm. Their energies radiate a feeling that's celebratory, a message that seems to suggest something like, "Come have fun with us." They cooperatively plan the things they do and their planning becomes a valuable part of their dating experience. Their dates can have a subtle, positive influence on the people around them, i.e., their family members, friends, co-workers, etc., and they collaboratively discuss their experiences for the value such discussion has to help them understand and appreciate, or not, the merits in their continuing the dating relationship.
"Inside-Out" styled dates tend to get predictably and quickly focused on the couple's "one another" experiences. Other people may be included in their dates, but increasingly their presence becomes a tool to initiate their own together time. To the familiar bystander the dating couple's friendship begins to feel exclusive and detached from other people; it may feel heavy and awkward, a "three is a crowd" kind of feeling to friends or family members. Planning is generally and increasingly an unimportant element in their dating experiences since apparently "just being together" is all they really seem to want. Since alone time appears to be one of their constant and major objectives on a date, other people may not be positively or memorably influenced by the dynamics of their developing relationship. Their conversation and discussion, an important pass-time for their early dates, is decreasingly important and marginally meaningful unless it promises future time together doing what they want to do, i.e., being together.
Because both good intended (and not so good intended) men and women initiate dating relationships that start "outside-in," it's muting to the relationship's growth dynamics when their dating behavior turns "inside-out?" There are ALWAYS big downsides to that event.
I'm going to follow-up on this discussion in the next blog.
So until then be safe, have fun, and be smart!