Encore or Final Curtain

So you've had your morning shower and cup of coffee. You've worked your way through your self-doubts and remorse, and, best of all, your partner and you are still looking at each other with that gleam of lust in your eyes. You're really feeling pretty darned good about the whole seduction.

Or, alternatively, you've had your shower and coffee, you've had some time to think about your feelings, and frankly, you're thinking that maybe the whole thing was a big mistake.

Or perhaps you're vacillating between elation and regret. Or maybe you just feel sort of numb.

In any case, you may be feeling obligated, at this point, to make an intelligent decision about where you want your new relationship to go.

Well, stop right there. Remember that you're right in the middle of a new experience, and even though you have now made love with this person, in many ways the two of you still may be strangers. You don't have to, and in fact you should not, make any life-changing decisions at this moment.

This is not to say that the feelings you are having about this person right now are completely invalid. To some extent, your morning-after feelings may be a foreshadowing of the feelings you'll have if the relationship continues. But remember that if you're ambivalent at this point, it could just be a result of the natural processes we talked about earlier in this chapter. More than likely, you're going to need some time alone before you make any decisions, even for the short term.

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Don't try be* make any long-term decisions- about a relationship after making Jove with someone just one time. If you're glad you've spent the time together, but don't know for certain how much farther you want things to go, remember there isn't a timer belting toward a deadline for ma king your decision. Take enough time to figure out what you truly want. You or your partner may need some extensive time alone for introspection. If there is something, special between you, it won't just disappear while you make up your rriinJ.

Unless the person has a serious critical flaw, or there's some other reason you definitely know you don't want to see him or her anymore, you really don't have to make a decision now. Nobody is giving you a deadline for deciding whether or not this person is "the one," or even whether or not you want to go to bed together again.

Heart Brakes

Even though you shouldn't feel obligated to make a decision about the Future of a relationship after going to bed with somebody only one time, pay attention to obvious warning signs. If there is something about your partner that is truly making you uncomfortable, heed your intuition. If you just proceed, ignoring your intuitive warnings, you are setting yourself up for real heartbreak later On. Never stay in any relationship where you don't feel safe, honored, and respected.

Heart Brakes

Even though you shouldn't feel obligated to make a decision about the Future of a relationship after going to bed with somebody only one time, pay attention to obvious warning signs. If there is something about your partner that is truly making you uncomfortable, heed your intuition. If you just proceed, ignoring your intuitive warnings, you are setting yourself up for real heartbreak later On. Never stay in any relationship where you don't feel safe, honored, and respected.

What If Your Cup of Tea Isn't Your Mug of Morning Coffee?

Suppose that for some reason you've realized you truly aren't interested in seeing your partner again. This happens sometimes, even if you've carefully screened your lover beforehand. The most important thing to remember is that this isn't a failure, on yo^rjj^art or your partner's. Though it may have seemed the night before that the two of you had a lot to share with each other, you—or your partner—might have realized that you have simply exhausted the supply of things that you had in common.

It's not unusual for people to be incredibly interested in something—or someone—only to find that the interest wanes rapidly. It's not so much a matter of one or the other person's shortcomings as it is that you've looked closely enough to know that you aren't well matched to each other. If you can take away the need to blame somebody for a relationship not working out, you also take away a lot of the pain and, ultimately, the bitterness that so frequently arises.

If you are able to view the situation in such a no-fault light, you will be able to tell your partner how you feel without adding to his or her discomfort. Similarly, it will be easier for you to handle your disappointment if your partner is the one who decides he or she doesn't want to continue. After all, it does you no good to attack your partner's (or your own) feelings of self-worth by implying that one or the other of you is, for whatever reason, unworthy of a relationship. Here are some pointers to remember if you've decided you definitely do not want to continue the relationship.

that person angry at you. Such an obviously patronizing statement is offensive, and insults your partners intelligence. It's better to adopt a no-fault position. The two of you simply weren't well matched after all, and nobody is to blame.

• If there are specific reasons you're no longer interested, you can tell him or her those reasons. But be careful about what you say. Be diplomatic and nonjudgmental.

• Even if there is no specific reason, but you just don't feel right about the relationship, you owe it to your partner, and to your own sense of integrity, to tell him or her. Don't beat around the bush and say, "Maybe we should just cool it for awhile." Let the person know this is goodbye. How much you tell your partner about the reason for your decision is up to you. But do say something. Simply avoiding contact by not calling, or returning calls from, the other person is just plain rude. It sends a negative message about you, and can cause the other person to have major self-doubts. You both deserve better.

• Whatever you have to say, say it now, in person. If you're certain you don't want to see your partner again, you probably won't change your mind if you wait a week or so, and you will only prolong the agony for that person (and you) if you drag it out. And please do not take the coward's way out, deciding you'll relay the news later by phone, mail, or e-mail. If this person was worth the time and effort of a lovemaking session, he or she is certainly worth the decency of a face-to-face farewell.

• Above all else, be kind. Don't make a disappointing situation worse than it has to be.

Heart Brakes

If you tell your soon-to-be-ex partner, "It's all my fault that things didn't work out," you will only make

Heart Brakes

If you tell your soon-to-be-ex partner, "It's all my fault that things didn't work out," you will only make

You Don't Float Your Partner's Boat.

What if the situation is reversed, and your partner is the one who decides he or she doesn't want to go on with the relationship? It's natural to be disappointed; the trick is not to think of this as a rejection of your entire being. It's certainly appropriate to ask your partner the reason for his or her decision, but if the person is evasive or gives you a generic answer, don't dig for a more specific response.

More than likely you didn't do anything wrong. It could be that your partner had sudden cold feet. It could be that (despite your careful screening) he or she has turned out to be one of those serial seducers for whom the hunt is everything, and once the deed has been done the thrill is gone. Don't waste time speculating or placing blame. The best favor you can do for yourself is to accept the shortlived affair with good grace and go on. Here's what you need to do:

• Thank your partner for his or her honesty, and say you are sorry it didn't work out. If you had a good time, be sure to thank him or her for that too.

• Allow yourself to feel your disappointment, but don't think of this as a rejection of your total being. If your partner simply isn't interested, just consider this his or her issue, not yours.

• Feel grateful that your partner was honest early in the relationship, instead of leading you on. Sure, it would have been better if you had known before you had sex, but this way is still easier than it would have been if the relationship had dragged out for weeks or months, allowing you that much more time to grow attached.

• Again, remember who you are. This person may have taken a few hours of your time, but did not, and cannot, take away your essence. You are the same seductive person you were before you had sex with this person.

How to Handle It If It Knocked Your Socks Off

Let's say that, upon waking, you find yourself singing those sappy show tunes we mentioned earlier, and overcome by the desire to wrap your new partner up in your arms and smother him or her with kisses? You feel exuberant, as if the world has taken on a new richness, and your life has been reborn. You are, to put it mildly, elated. What do you do?

My first recommendation is that you take a few deep breaths, count to about a thousand, and even run around the block a couple of times to let off some of that steam you're filled with right now. You feel great, and I want you to hang on to that feeling. I just want you to take a little time out, so you won't come across as some wild-eyed Jack or Jenny when you face your new partner again. After all, you want to entice this person, not scare him or her away! Just keep these points in mind:

• The other person may not feel quite the same as you do. Even though you want to give your partner the benefit of the doubt where feelings are concerned, don't assume that the object of your new-found excitement is just as giddy as you are. While the other person might well share your feelings, he or she might just as likely be feeling some doubts, and your exuberance could even add to those doubts.

• Realize that the giddy stage won't last. Even if both of you are so ecstatic that you're singing those show tunes in harmony with each other, it's a good idea to at least acknowledge to each other that you feel giddy right now, but that you want to be smart about the whole thing. You can even share a laugh or two about how the two of you feel like kids, cut loose in a toy store with your parents' credit cards. At least pay lip service to the fact that you're both acting purely on emotion, but that you need to let common sense creep in at some point.

No matter how good the sex was and how strong your mutual passion still is, it's important to know that your relationship is still rather fragile at this point. You both need to maintain the delicate balance between feeling close and being smothering. You want to sustain your newfound closeness, while allowing the relationship a little cooling-off time too so it won't burn out too soon.

No (natter how wonderful the sex w^, if you want to continue the relationship you need to have a slight "cooling-ofF1 period. Ifs importantto maintain a balance between being cloie and clinging to each other. Plan some fvnr n on erotic activity, such as going to the zoo, a water park, s funny movie, -Or a comedy club.

This may very well be the point at which both of you need to have some alone time. But if you choose to stay together the rest of the day, plan an activity that doesn't lend itself quite so readily to physical intimacy, or that doesn't sustain and amplify such an emotionally charged atmosphere. For example, this would be a great time to consider doing something together that is purely fun, without being romantic. A good guide for selecting such a place would be to imagine that you're both adolescents, who aren't sexual with each other, and to plan your date accordingly. Some examples are:

Ask the Love Coach

Ask the Love Coach

• Amusement parks

• Getting together with a group of friends

• An organized group function, such as a church or singles mixer

Wherever you go, remember to have fun. If you're feeling giddy, enjoy the feeling but don't take it too seriously. Realize that eventually you are going to come down.

Be Yourself Seduction

Be Yourself Seduction

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