So. I read somewhere a some time ago that whether a relationship progresses quickly or gradually doesn’t depend so much on the total elapsed time, but rather the progressive order of the “steps”. The assumption is that there are certain steps that are taken in the developing stages of a relationship. A relationship in which some steps are skipped is said to move quickly. A relationship in which steps are in small increments is said to move slowly. Early steps include things covered by simple flirting such as eye-contact, receptive body language, friendly conversation. Later steps would be stuff like intimate conversation, foreplay.
I understand, of course, that these are just generalities, and everybody has a different idea about what the steps would be. Even among the locals of any big city, there are different cultures and subcultures that have different ideas about what the steps would be.
I remember reading of one clear example (maybe it was Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus?) of how the steps vary in different cultures. In happened that there were many American soldiers stationed in some European country at some time or another. Since many of the local men of the country were away in war, or casualties of the war, many of the local women ended up dating American soldiers. Whether it was a systematic study or just anecdotal evidence, I’m not sure, but an interesting thing was found. Both groups, the local women and the American soldiers, reported that they thought the other group moved the relationships very quickly. Apparently, it came down to a simple mixing of two particular “steps” in the relationship. The American men thought it was appropriate at a certain stage to hold hands. The local women, however, thought that holding hands was a more intimate step that should have come later. By a similar twist, the local women thought it was appropriate at a certain stage to kiss on the cheek. The American men thought this came unexpectedly soon in the relationship. So here both groups were thinking the other was moving things very quickly. You can imagine it led to many fiery relationships and broken hearts.
So now, of course, I want to ask about the situation here with locals and foreigners. I think it’d be too much to ask for a breakdown of your personal view of what steps signify the progression of a relationship, but feel free to answer however you like.
What specific example do you have from your own experience of how intercultural dating has had a mixup of “steps” in the progression of the relationship?