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We're deep into Phase 4 of our journey now--the dating phase! One thing that often makes ex-gays at this stage nervous is, what kind of activities should they invite women to?
In some ways, when you were gay, the claustrophobia of the gay scene made everything cozy. When you went on "dates" with guys, often this was a brief formality before you went to your or his place to have sex. The date was either a trip to a gay place where you knew a lot of people (and one or both of you had slept with many of the people there too), or a trip to a non-gay place where you tried to be invisible while you ate or did whatever, and made generic small talk until you could rush to somewhere private for quick sex.
None of that is like what happens when you date women. Especially given where you are right now, you have to shift mental gears and accept that the dates in Phase 4 do not involve a grand finale of sex. You will start the date, finish the date, go home, and go to sleep without having had full sexual release. You will often have no idea what she thought of the date or where the situation is going, until you decide whether or not to call her back and see how her voice sounds. That is just how it goes with women.
The whole world is a straight playground, so you may feel overwhelmed with the choices you have of where to take a woman. In this post I will try to throw out some ideas--take them or leave them since they are mere suggestions--to decide what you will invite women to do.
What do you like to do?
Sometimes we neglect basic questions like this one. Because in your Phase 4 the point of a "date" is not to throw out a thin pretext for having quick sex later in the night, you must focus your mind on the date itself, not what it might lead to later. The purpose of a date with a woman is the date, the stuff you do when you are with her in some public or semi-public capacity.
You will never get out of Phase 4 if you do not make it fun. Your goal on each date is to see how she and you react to each other in the most enjoyable possible circumstance. If you are feeling cold or unaffected even when you are on a date that is supposed to be fun, the future will hold few prospects.
Part of the burden falls on you to be a fun guy. Part of the burden falls on her. But make her job easier. Do something that you enjoy. If you hate opera, do not take her to the opera. If you hate speedway races, do not take her to the speedway. If you have horrible allergies, do not take her hiking when the pollen count is high.
Figure out what you enjoy doing, and invite her to that. The first requirement is that the activity matches something that will put you in a good mood and relaxed enough to fall in love.
What are her favorite things to do?
Here's where the "little black book" I told you about in my 10 Tips for Dating comes in handy. If you have been jotting down things she said in previous conversations, this gives you a clue as to what types of things she likes. Does she have esoteric things she talks about a lot, like quilting or old movies or Irish dancing? Go over the notes you wrote in your little black book and see if you can figure out a way to connect little things she's mentioned to activities in your area.
But be mindful of the first point, what you enjoy. If she really enjoys fashion but you hate fashion shows, don't invite her to a fashion show. Maybe invite her to some kind of gala or party where there will be a chance to dress up. Remember that her job is to arouse you and your job is to arouse her. You pick a fun activity so her job is easier. Pick an activity that matches her interests to make your job easier.
What can you do on your budget?
Dating does not have to be incredibly expensive. Public parks have romantic gazebos and areas to hang out. You can do outdoors activities during the day. Churches have social events that do not cost a great deal. And in any town or city there are usually local arts organizations that arrange free public events. If you go to something like a county fair that usually costs a mild amount to get in.
Whatever you invite her to do, let it be a real sacrifice given your budget. If you are making a lot of money, then take her somewhere nice and make her feel like a million dollars. Bring her to a high-end restaurant and a live performance show. If you are working at an entry-level job, then invite her to meet for coffee and hear spoken word or a live band, then use your conversational powers to get her to light up where you are.
You shouldn't be spending beyond your means, which will make you nervous and uneasy (bad bad bad for dating). Nor should you be doing something a lot cheaper than you could afford, which will come to her attention in ways you might not predict, and which will make you feel like the date is not all that serious. You want to feel like the date is somewhat of an investment, and that does boil down to money, in part.
Remember your style, and play to it.
The single greatest help on a date is your confidence. You want to feel at ease, comfortable, and in your element. You want to be in an environment that is familiar to you so you can focus your curiosity on her rather than on your surroundings. So just ask yourself, what is your style? If you were to ask a friend to write a blurb about you, what would your friend likely say to play up your strong suits?
If your friend is likely to say you're athletic and robust, then your still is, you are an outdoorsy sporty type. Maybe invite her to go hiking or something physical in a park, like canoing or tandem biking. (I remember one of the most romantic things I did with my soon-to-be-wife girlfriend was in Los Angeles, when we rode a tandem bike from Venice Beach to Santa Monica. I could feel us falling deeply in love, and I have to admit, I liked impressing her with my skill pedaling both of us.)
If your friend is likely to say you are hilarious and a great talker, then invite her to something simple where you will be having great conversation. Don't talk too much, but let your conversational charm shine through. Go to a coffee house or some kind of cocktail place where you can chat. You can go to some kind of exhibition or show where there is not a lot of loud music and you are free to walk around talking.
If your friend is likely to say you are suave and debonair, then take her somewhere where you can dress up and be elegant. Go to a banquet or fundraising dinner with a high dress code. Unleash your fashion skills and go to a place immersed in finer things.
If your friend is likely to mention that you are smart and artistically astute, then take her to a gallery or museum, an art show or concert. Let the fine art on display fill the silences if you are not a constant talker. When I was dating my wife, I knew she loved galleries and museums. To be honest, I adored the beautiful way she looked when she admired sculpture and paintings. It was a big part of how I fell in love.
Remember your goal is to fall in love
You can't force yourself to become straight. You have to fall in love with a specific woman. A date is partly a boost toward that goal, and partly a test to see if the attempt has failed. You want to place yourself in a situation where you are comfortable, curious, confident, and easily aroused. You want her to feel safe, at ease, curious about you, and easily impressed. Beyond that, let the chemistries do their magic. If you feel nothing at all, then she is probably not the one. If you feel yourself moved by her, then there are possibilities.
Part of falling in love does involve physical contact. So when you are trying to figure out what to invite her to, there is something to be said for activities that allow you to "make a move." Films are always the classic event that allow you to do the old-fashioned move of lifting your arm and setting it around her, moving in closer, then drifting toward her until you can kiss. But even if you don't make out with her on the date, you can still see if there is a chance to hold her hand, put your arm around her shoulder, or have little points of physical contact. Obviously for your first date you will do almost no physical contact. If you have made it to second, third dates, and so on, you start trying to establish more and more.
Your reaction to the physical contact matters. So does hers. If you feel as though you like it when you touch each other, that is a good sign.
Much of a date's fate lies in the follow-up
If you find women scary, imagine how hard a date is for her. She has to wait to see if you call her back. I made the mistake, when I dated, of always calling back the next day so a woman would know I liked her. This signals over-eagerness to many women. I cannot provide a simple guide of when to call back, because there is so much contradictory advice you hear about that. Generally, as the guy you are expected to call her back after the date, unless she tells you at the end of the night she is not interested.
You should never allow fear to stop you from calling her back after the date is over. My philosophy remains that whenever you do call her back, you should call her back even if you are not interested in going out with her again. You should thank her for the enjoyment you had. If you want to see her again, tell her that you'd like to see her again. If you don't want to see her again, find a polite way to let her know so she isn't waiting around in mystery. Something like, "I'm not really in a situation where I can go out again" or something similar, no matter how weaselly and predictable it sounds, is better than being a complete coward and telling her nothing.