How Long You Wait, Statistically, Determines How Long You Date

by Dan Scotti

I don’t think many people enjoy waiting.

In fact, the entire evolution of modern technology has pretty much revolved around one main premise: eliminate waiting.

As part of the human race, we’ve all been blessed with a limited stock of patience, which is why our society has gravitated towards a system of instant gratification.

With that said, patience is still, and will always be, a virtue. And just because certain things may come to you quicker, it doesn’t always translate positively to quality.

I mean, take dining out at restaurants for example: Unless you exhibit great self-control and social skills, nobody likes waiting for his or her food to get prepared when out to eat.

Think about how regal it would be to park your ass down at Ruth’s Chris, order the filet and -- bam! -- seconds later, the waiter is sashaying his way over to your table, wielding a tray of vittles.

Sadly, that would only be possible if they microwaved your food -- which, theoretically, is possible.

Again, keep in mind: Quickness doesn’t always lead to quality.

For this reason, most Michelin starred restaurants have long wait times before food is served.

They understand taking a few extra minutes to perfect their craft goes a long way and – in many cases – can be the difference between good and great and great and outstanding.

And this conception holds true across many different walks of life. Maybe not with minutes or food, necessarily, but with not rushing things in general.

In college, if you breezed through your studies (to get a jump start on day-drinking), your grades were probably reflective.

Those who took the time to write sh*t out on index cards, however, almost ALWAYS flourished (academically, at any rate).

This is why it’s stressed to us at a very young age to “take our time” with things and not always look to jump the gun.

But it won’t always be easy. Like I said, as humans, we’re not the most naturally patient creatures on earth.

We have urges, and moreover, we like to act on these urges -- as fast as possible.

I suppose this is a residual characteristic passed down from our cavemen ancestors, who survived solely by acting on instinct.

Oftentimes, once we see something we like, we’re not satisfied until we have it.

But that doesn’t always amount to success. At least not with regard to rushing into sex, from a relationship standpoint.

According to Jeanna Bryner of LiveScience, “delaying sex makes better relationships,” as studies show.

“Couples who had sex the earliest -- such as after the first date or within the first month of dating -- had the worst relationship outcomes,” Bryner claims, given the results of one study conducted by researcher Dean Busby and his colleagues at Brigham Young University's School of Family Life.

The reasoning behind this belief is once sex is introduced in the early stages of a relationship, this “rewarding area of the relationship overwhelms good decision-making and keeps couples in a relationship that might not be the best for them in the long run,” as Busby explains.

I can see where he’s coming from. In fact, this is a little something I like to call the “Vince factor.” I present to you Exhibit A: Vinny Chase (yes, everyone, from “Entourage”).

He’s the king of sex on the first night. Hell, he’s the Michael Jordan of scoring on first sight. But, still, he’s single.

So, apparently, none of these flings have found a way to stick, not that he’s necessarily looking to get cuffed or anything -- don’t get it twisted -- but that’s just an observation. Sexual rapidity won’t always translate to the long term.

Having said that, let’s bring on in Exhibit B: E and Sloan (also from “Entourage”).

E, on the other hand, is hardly as keen to sleep with the first (sexy) woman he sees as his buddy Vince. E didn’t just do the “I Dream of Genie” gesture and find Sloan by his hip.

No, E spent time courting Sloan prior to ever sleeping with her, and, as a result, their sex life wasn’t the forefront of their relationship once they became an item.

And as the story goes, Sloan and E *ultimately* lasted (although I have a feeling there will be some drama in the movie).

Sex early in relationships, as Bryner writes, skews focus away from vital aspects such as communication and commitment, due to the instant pleasure that comes with sex.

Susanne Alexander, a relationship coach, told WebMD,

"It becomes much more difficult to objectively see each other's character traits [when sex is introduced early].”

The sex might be the driving force behind the first few months of your relationship, but when you actually start to discover the more nonsexual aspects of your significant other, you may realize this person is not who you thought he or she was.

To gain a more scientifically verifiable answer to whether or not sex early on is detrimental to a relationship, Busby “recruited 2,035 heterosexual individuals who had an average age of 36 and were in their first marriages” and administered them a questionnaire that revolved around relationship satisfaction and stability.

Next, the participants were asked to self-report whether or not they had sex early in their relationship, late in their relationship or waited until marriage.

According to Bryner, “relationships fared better and better the longer a person waited to have sex, up until marriage, with those hitting the sack before a month showing the worst outcomes.”

Statistics showed when compared to the “early” group, those who waited until marriage rated:

1. Relationship stability 22 percent higher.

2. Relationship satisfaction 20 percent higher.

3. Sexual quality 15 percent better.

4. Communication 12 percent better.

Busby reported while 40 percent of couples are “essentially sexual” within the first two dates, when individually asked if they could trust their significant others with their pets for the weekend, “many could not answer this in the affirmative.”

This shows the lack of true trust between a great deal of sexual partners, today.

Of course, waiting until marriage is a bit extreme, but still, these statistics do present a strong case for waiting -- however long you choose to -- instead of rushing right into sex. Ultimately, sex requires maturity, as do relationships.

Part of maturity is knowing what’s best for the big picture, regardless of impulsive desires.