Turn on Your Dating Brain! Dating is competitive! Think of it as a super competition…

the Giant Slalom of the Olympics. So you need to put your best effort forward to win the man or woman of your dreams. What does this mean? It means using your intellect, but not necessarily your logic. Confusing, I know, so let me break it down for you.

Every day I have conversations with friends that are inspiring and informative. They are conversations based on logic. We deduct in our conversations that A+B=C, so thus the obvious answer to our questions is the sum of the logical equation. Throw this all out the window when dating. In other words, put aside your logical common sense brain for common sense matters, and switch to what I am going to call your “dating brain” for our purposes. The dating brain makes no sense to an intelligent pragmatic person. Thus, my hypothesis, which I have seen work time and time, again, is highly intelligent people have the most trouble with dating unless they have learned to use their “dating brain”, because there is no set equation as to how this “experiment” of dating should go that makes sense in the world of absolutes. Remember…in dating there are NO absolutes, but one can learn to excel in the dating game with just a few tweaks to how you perceive a situation.

First example – I am not really talking about left brain, right brain, although this seems “logical”. There are both left brain people and right brain people that are intellectuals. So, when I say that highly intelligent people find it difficult to date, I am not only speaking of left brain logical thinkers, I am also saying that right brain often abstract illogical thinkers have just as much trouble in the dating world especially if they are highly intelligent, even those these people tend not to be logical thinkers. Now I am sure you are really confused!! What I am trying to say, is that left or right brain tendency does not a better dater make! I happen to be a “right-brainer.”

What makes a successful dater is skill, being able to think on your feet, and turning the tables on what you think makes sense, to what will actually work and lead the other person to your expected end result, marriage or long-term commitment. A successful dater is patient. This is one situation where the old adage “think before you act” really does hold true. This is the hardest rule to follow when the excitement of a new love keeps you staring at the ceiling in bed at the end of the night while planning your elaborate wedding on Bora Bora, or just staring at your cell phone waiting for it to ring or buzz with a new message. Hormones are firing every time you see one another, and you can barely concentrate because you literally ache with anticipation of your next rendezvous. This is the time when you can screw it all up OR win the ultimate prize, the other person’s heart!

Men – If you are highly intelligent, very busy and organized, your logical brain will tell you the first date went so well that you should ask your secretary to call her and schedule out the next few weeks because you have a lot on your calendar, and you want to make sure you get these dates set just like another action item…just like you would schedule meetings for your work or recurring workout sessions. STOP! Dating is not so black and white! The dating brain will tell you to wait patiently for a few days and then call her yourself, and ask her for a date in a week or so. This way she knows you are interested, but not overly obsessively interested.

Women – Since most women are emotional creatures and that means you, after the first date you just feel so comfortable with this guy that you are going to call him and see how his day is going the very next day, or send him a quick text, because you just KNOW he is thinking of you because YOU just can’t stop thinking of him. STOP! Enter dating brain – I am going to wait until he calls me, and then wait another day or two before I return his call, because I don’t want to appear too eager, so he knows I am a good catch and have a busy life. The time I am offering him is valuable and worth a lot. He is lucky to have some of it. Voilá, you have just had a very bullish day on the dating stock market, so to speak! Your patience will drive him nuts!

Men – Valentine’s Day is here and you have just started dating a woman you REALLY like and want her to know it. Logical brain – The expense of the gift you choose is indicative of how much you like her. STOP! It’s time to pull in the reigns! It is great that you are generous and like to buy the woman in your life nice gifts, but the time for that is AFTER you have been dating for a while and are in a committed and long term relationship (yes, this is woman writing this believe it or not!). You need to find a balance in your dating brain. Your dating brain will encourage you to select a nice appropriate gift and card that are thoughtful and expressive of your affection, but not so over the top excessive that it screams “stalker alert” this guy is moving way too fast!

Women – Logical brain – You have had two dates with a man that you really like. You are having Sunday lunch at your parents this weekend and you want to invite your new friend. It makes perfect sense to you. Absolutely not!! This is not a way to start out a new relationship. Your dating brain will know that the time to introduce your parents to a guy is when you and he are in it for the long haul, not after two dates. Imagine if your mom started telling this guy she was SO glad her daughter had found you after having had such a “dry spell” in the dating world the last two years. In fact, your mom was worried she might have a nun for a daughter if your new boyfriend (yes, your parents are thinking this already) didn’t come along. Enough said!

Other examples of A + B = C:

Buying a girl flowers = a date. Not necessarily. It all depends on whether she is into you.

You and your coworker have so much in common and talk all the time = He must like me more than a friend. Just because you get along in different environments does not mean you will become a couple, especially where work is concerned when there are so many rules about dating in the workplace these days. Do yourself and the guy a favor, observe the rules! The same goes with assuming that a guy who is a good friend will become a boyfriend. That is not always the case, because there may not be mutual attraction and other factors. Sometimes it is better to keep a friend than blow any relationship all together by trying to become a couple.

Buying a girl a drink at a bar = Woman going home with you or giving you her phone number. Buying a girl a drink does not mean she owes you anything. It just means you are a nice guy and tried to get her to engage in conversation. Action on the part of a man does not mean inclination on the part of the woman. Sorry guys! A woman holds the cards in this case.

He told me that he really enjoyed our time together = He wants a relationship with you. NO, NO, NO! Just because a guy gives you a compliment or tells you he had a good time with you does not mean he wants a committed relationship. Even if he dates you for 2-3 years (never in MY life, but do what you want!) unless he specifically communicates that he wants to be married does he EVER mean he wants to be married to you or anyone! DO NOT ASSUME! Trust me; a guy will let you know if he wants to lock you down for a lifetime. There will be no gray area in his revelation!

Prepare yourself to date as if you were going to the Olympics because you are…you are going to the dating Olympics! Dating successfully is more challenging than most anything you will ever do in your life, and I assume that you are in the game to win the race. So, switch gears, turn on your dating brain, and consider it a game of chess.

Every move you make is critical, CHECKMATE!!

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D’Andra Simmons is a businesswoman and philanthropist.  She is the founder of Hard Night Good Morning Skincare and an active volunteer for the Dallas community serving on the Advisory Board of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts, volunteering with the Junior League of Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas or Cattle Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society.