Confessions of a Cerebral Dater: Learning to Trust Your Partner

black-man-in-deep-thought

My father taught me a lot as a child. One of the things that I learned from my father was how to judge character and someone’s ability to be honest. I’m going to share that secret with you all today. My father told me that the best way to judge a person’s character is to notice their patterns and when the pattern is broken, always know that something has changed. He told me that he didn’t need to catch me lying or breaking a rule when I was young because he studied my patterns; what I would do, where I would go and the way I would act. When he learned my patterns, each time something happened outside of the norm he knew that I had done something I probably shouldn’t have been doing.

It’s my fault that I decided to take this advice and apply it to every part of my life, including dating. As a cerebral dater, I’ve approached each situation the same way that my father showed me how to gauge a person’s honesty and integrity. I always sit back and watch a person with no involvement or direction. I begin any relationship by learning a person and their patterns; what they do, where they go, who they hang out with, and how they go about their daily routine. These are all pieces that help me gauge a person’s honesty.

Let me pause for a moment. I must preface this post with the following, I admit I have trust issues. These are issues that I’m working on, but these issues are ever present in my mind. Due to my cerebral nature, I try to figure out how these play a part in my dating life.

If I learned anything from the responses from last week’s post on Unspoken Expectations, I learned it’s not good to sit back and let a person fall into preventable traps. Let me back up for a moment, it’s not “nice” to sit back and let a person fall into preventable traps. I think that distinction has to be made. The reason why I say it’s not nice and not that it’s wrong is because when you think about that from a distance, how many bad situations could be avoided by allowing someone to show their true colors?

Women probably know this lesson better than anyone else.

Women tend to give a lot of information to men; sometimes the information is unsolicited, too. When you give all this information, you allow the other person to adapt to your personality and then they can expose the flaws in your dating persona. I’ll give you a perfect example, if you think that snooping is okay because your man should have nothing to hide – he will simply delete all of his text messages and call logs to avoid being caught. On the other hand, let’s say you never told him you would snoop through his phone – this is not to say that snooping is right – what do you think you would find if he’s not expecting it?

From personal experience, I think most men learn one thing from their fathers or the men in their life. If you want to be with a woman, simply listen and be the man she wants you to be. Women learn this lesson too, but unlike with men, it’s probably not ingrained in them from a young age. This is why I prefer to observe and listen before I start to share my thoughts on a person’s actions. I want to know a person in their truest form before I begin to offer adjustments. It’s in that analysis where you learn about a person and really figure out if you’re compatible.

Mr. Spradley wrote in his Novella:

I believe in secrets. I believe that our lives are most influenced by those words left unsaid. Those are the words that dominate our thoughts and course our steps. Each of our little worlds is shaped not merely by that which we utter, but also by those things that we feel and know in our deepest places and choose, through great effort, to keep to ourselves.

If that isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is.

Here’s what I learned about secrets. Secrets are not secrets unless there is an underlying need or reason for why everyone shouldn’t know. Examining the reasoning behind a person’s motivation to keep a secret can tell you a lot about that person. Moreover, you’ll never discover these secrets by asking, “Hey, tell me your deepest secrets.” It’s a careful balance of allowing a person to disappoint you and knowing that you can’t immediately mention the disappointment, until you fully diagnose the totality of the disappointment.

I could get upset that a woman doesn’t answer my text messages within a few minutes of receiving them early on, or I can wait until she reveals to me that the reason she doesn’t is because there is someone else in her life. Despite how much pain and anguish it may initially cause you, patience is a virtue. Think about it as if you’re trying to figure out why you have a headache – you can choose to take aspirin to alleviate the pain or you can dig deeper to figure out if it’s a stress or an anxiety problem.

Is this approach too meticulous and calculated to insert into matters of love and the heart? Perhaps, but I’ve admitted that I’m still working through flaws in my own ideologies. It’s the approach that I’ve chosen, and it’s somehow enabled me to protect myself from heartbreak and pain. There is no greater pain than deceit or being lied to, so it’s okay that we do everything in our power to prevent it. I caveat that statement by saying that you can’t hold things against a person for something someone else did; however, you can take steps to prevent your own personal vulnerability. Everyone is fully within their rights to deal with issues internally or externally. I’m just trying to prevent giving the other person the ability to circumvent my personal system of logic by allowing them to reveal their true nature. Over time, I’ve configured this system tin my head and practiced it, and I’ve learned to trust the worthy and distrust the unworthy. Such a system, based on my personal view of logic and honesty, may not vibe well with everyone. But, it vibes well with me.

Dr. J

From Our Partners

  • girlwithots

    This is so distinctly different to how I approach relationships. I believe in knowing what I’m looking for and communicating that so my partner knows and seeking the same from him. Over time consistency in his behaviour will reveal what he can/can’t/doesn’t want to give me of my needs and wants and vice versa; thereby allowing us to decide if the relationship should continue or not.

    That said I rarely start a relationship off of random encounters so I already have time as friends or acquaintances to monitor behaviour and note patterns.

    I guess in this respect I’m guilty of being one of the “women tend to give a lot of information to men; sometimes the information is unsolicited, too.”

    Interesting post. Now I know what men are thinking when they’re very quiet early days and are always leaning back studying me.lol

  • theSUNK

    Great post! I've never been big on trusting people, I think I could even go further saying that I don't care what they do to an extent. That extent usually comes to just blatantly disrespecting me and my intelligence. I'm not going for that.

    However I told my mom's this past break that the chick I use to talk to was a straight liar even when she had no reason to lie. That's when I told my moms, "I can finally trust her now, because I know exactly how she lies."

    Once you figure out how a person lies, there's no need to pry, get upset, or be flustered; you just accept them for who they are and if you can deal with that, then so be it.
    My recent post What a Woman Should Know About Hooking Up with Other Women

  • http://www.OpinionatedMale.com Mr SoBo

    "I’m just trying to prevent giving the other person the ability to circumvent my personal system of logic by allowing them to reveal their true nature."

    Spot on. My sentiments exactly. I have always found it unsettling and puzzling that many people go through life deluding themselves with the 'idea' of a person they have created in their own head, rather than the person him/herself.
    Simply give them the rope, sit back, and allow them to do what they want to do with it.

    People would save themselves so much heartache and distress if they approached dating and life in this manner. Nothing calculated or tactful about it. Its simply refusing to influence any given development or situation by not projecting or telegraphing your expectations unto another. By limiting your social cues, it allows the person in question to more comfortably behave in accordance with their true nature, thus revealing more telling aspects of their character. The result: It makes your job easier to identify if this person is right for you.
    My recent post 21 Questions: You Can Go Through This Door, But HE Can’t? Double Standards in Society

  • Smilez_920

    I think if you use this method to much or to an extrem , it could hurt more than help. Other than that the sentiment of excepting people for who they are and deciding if this is the person you want to deal with is spot on. We tend to want people to take us flaws and all ; for who we are. But then we expect are partners to be some imaginary person we made up in our head long before we met them. Yes people grow and change, but for the most part , people are who they are.

    My mother tells me all the time that no ones perfect, of course you should have standards and be with someone who treats you right, but everyone has flaws , you have to decide if your partners flaws are too much for you to deal with or not and go from there . My parents use to hit me with the patterns thing too, they could always tell when something was up.

  • Tunde

    i don't have trust issues but i don't think there's anything wrong with observing a person's actions and matching that up against their pattern of behavior. i think that we all do it to some extent.

  • cynicaloptmst81

    Yup, I have trust issues too, man.

    I have a really difficult time allowing people to see me weak and vulnerable…needy. I don't trust people to do anything about it (fix it)…so I'd rather not show it. As much as I hate selfishness, I've grown to expect it. When dating, I can come off cold, calculating, and heartless…because my emotions are the LAST thing that sign up for the ride (if they ever really do). Its like…I have to keep a piece of me just in case you start tripping so that I'll have the strength to recover from my disappointment. I have to do a lot of observing before I give myself over emotionally…which can be a bit unfair to the guy that leaps months before me, lol. And the second he makes a dumb choice or appears shady in any way, that observation time is extended…or I eventually check out.

  • Streetz

    That pattern point is so key!

    • newgirl

      sometimes the pattern is contrived too though…

  • ThatDaDivA

    OMG: this *ish is starting to get depressing as H E Double Hockey Sticks!!! THIS is what you call dating—-I always sit back and watch a person with no involvement or direction. I begin any relationship by learning a person and their patterns; what they do, where they go, who they hang out with, and how they go about their daily routine. These are all pieces that help me gauge a person’s honesty.—–

    Are you CRAY??? This is wwwaaayyy too much over thinking & potential stalking when you meet someone. So if someone deviates in ANYWAY, SHAPE OR FORM from the patterns and routines that you have “figured out” for them, they are instantly LYING to you? Child, Puhlease.

    First of all, I never give men THIS much information about my life for this very reason, too invasive, too controlling, too soon. I don’t need someone tracking my every move then calling me a LIAR when they think something I’ve said or done does not add up! get to know me as a human being not my patterns of behavior, I am not a dam science project.

    And what if BLACK WOMEN started treating their MEN this way??? A brother could not make a move! What if he wanted to to the gym to workout instead of the park and didn’t say anything??? Has he DEVIATED from his pattern?? Is he now a LIAR??

    You have got to relax with this foolery or just STAY SINGLE!!!!

  • newgirl

    I think this is brilliant, every time I do the observe the guy thing, he hangs himself, men are not as good of actors as women are actresses. Their facades will slowly but surely start to fall down and the real him will be right there before your eyes. Don't think it should take more than 3 or 4 weeks if done properly.

    But the key with men is to place them in circumstances that do the work for you, like around a bunch of hot women, around other attractive guys, or crowded places, different races is a good one. If women would just do this, they would not be surprised that they got ditched or left because you will already basically know what he is going to do by observing.

  • Mira

    I have been coming to this website for the past two years lurking on and off.

    I admit Dr J, you have always been my least favourite writers in terms of your assessments and opinions on dating.

    However reading this article and a few recent things you have written, I find that you are one of the most honest writers out there. This article spoke to me probably because I do the exact same thing ( trust issues I am also working on).

    Now I'm not really sure how I stop being so calculated in my dating and relationships.

    Mira

  • Pingback: 5 Ways To Overcome Trust Issues |

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