Join Cathy Vartuli from as Reid Mihalko from discusses delaying attachment and giving yourself time to got to know your partner (before renting the UHaul on the second date).

Reid: So this is the Unhooking II, or what we will say Delaying Attachment.

Cathy: It’s good if you can delay that. I’ve seen a lot of people–

Reid: [whispering] this is Cathy Vartuli from in case you didn’t watch the last one.

Cathy: And this is Reid Mihalko from So I’ve personally experienced it, I’ve seen friends where they get hooked on a partner or dating experience, a friend, really soon before they really know them. And it can be kind of fun to be deeply connected with someone, but when you get hooked early, you don’t always make good decisions. I’ve been there. I know that. How do you delay that hooking experience?

Reid: This kind of falls under the rubric of just generally psychological and chemical imprinting. So the joke that I say when I’m giving lectures on imprinting, it’s like when you create really powerful experiences for people, especially first time, you know, whatever that is, you take somebody’s virginity, whatever experience and they’re just like, “Whoa.” And you rocked their world or blew their mind in such a way that like something shifted for them. For them, and also for people who are starving for certain kinds of experiences or social connection or sex, for the people who are starving it’s like you go grocery shopping when you’re hungry and you end up making–

Cathy: –buy everything in the store–

Reid: Yeah, you make bad food choices. So you’re actually kind of making bad imprinting choices because you don’t realize that you’re susceptible to imprinting because you haven’t been getting certain needs met and sourcing them in other places. And then for the people who are like first time experiences that are really powerful or even, for whatever reason, a really powerful experience, it doesn’t have to be their first time.

Cathy: Well, brain world, especially if it’s the first time, your brain’s kind of like, “Oh, I’m never going to get that anywhere else, I have to get it from this person.”

Reid: Yeah, or it’s been sucky every other time, and then you’re like, “Oh my God, you’re the savior.” I call those people baby chicks, because it’s like you hatch them and they’re like, “Peep peep peep peep” and they just follow you all over the place. Ways to delay those, I’ll say sexually speaking, because it’s more fun to talk about and it will get more hits. But it can happen the same way for emotional and cognitive things. People who are just starving for good brain food, and then you’re just like pontificating and just feeding them ideas and they develop a crush on their teacher. It’s like, “Wow, you’re so smart, you’re amazing, I want to eat your brain.” So it doesn’t matter how it comes about, but ways that you can delay imprinting are creating containers. Saying, “This is what we’re doing and exploring” and then you do that, and then at the end of it, you say, “Thank you for doing this thing that we explored.”

Cathy: Close the container.

Reid: You close the container and you watch the first video and you do your little energetic unhooking, which is whether you believe in energy or not, you’re cognitively creating an anchor for what this was and what it is not. Without doing that, people start making things mean things. Other ways to delay imprinting have to do a lot with time. Let’s say for sex, right, I talk about this in another lecture, and I call these my slut protocols.

Cathy: Okay.

Reid: And I think people who are sluts or generous with their genitals, people who have their black belts in promiscuity, which means they’re promiscuous and no one’s angry at them, because they’re clean and precise, I think what you end up doing is there are some people who are just really susceptible to falling in love. And then there are people who are, it’s not like they’re not intimate or vulnerable, it’s just their brain chemistry don’t mug them in the same way, so they can just be more cognizant and present. They can still have a great time and enjoy it but they’re not like in love.

Time is really useful in keeping things from being hooked or anchoring, the imprinting piece. So if I’m having really great hook-up sex with somebody, there’s a big difference between we get together once a month versus we get together three nights in a row every week. Because if we’re having really amazing sex and really digging each other, those three days in a row will — you’re basically bathing your brain in oxytocin and a bunch of other chemicals.

Cathy: And it’s going to crash afterwards.

Reid: Well, you’re more susceptible to imprinting.

Cathy: Mmhmm.

Reid: So delayed — like seeing each other once a month is it usually ends up being great for most people to not hook. It doesn’t mean you’re happy about it, right? But you’re like, “Wow, I’m not necessarily falling in love.”

Cathy: At least in my experience, when you first start dating someone you see each other a lot, like night after night you really fall — it can be really intense really quick, whereas if you see each other maybe a week apart, and then over time it may be okay to step that up, because you’ve kind of got a baseline, you’re a little more stable.

Reid: Well, and the thing with love is I don’t think you can necessarily prevent falling in love, it’s are you guys a good fit for falling in love?

Cathy: Yeah, making a conscious choice about it rather than like, “Must have you.”

Reid: Yeah. And a lot of people when they’re in love, I mean, chemically speaking they’ve done MRI studies where the areas of your brain that are lit up when you’re in love are the same areas of your brain that are lit up when you’re addicted to crack. You are not making rational choices. So it’s really useful for you to figure out how to delay that so that you can stay rational.

Cathy: Keep your feet under you.

Reid: For most people, everyone has heard the story of, “We had a date Friday night and it ended Monday morning.” There is a good chance one of you or both of you is imprinted, and you just think they’re your soul mate. They might be, but odds are … but you just feel like they’re your soul mate because of the brain chemistry and things like that.

Cathy: And six months later you realize you’ve moved across the country and…

Reid: Yeah, you moved into their house the next week, that’s a love brain chemistry response for the most part. Not everybody. I know we’re going to get some nasty comments there being, “I did that, it was the love of my life, they were my soul mate.” Yes, I get it. So, the two basic ones are creating strong containers, and closing rituals or communicating your needs and boundaries at the end of a strong powerful experience. And delaying how many times you see each other. Just time-wise, once a week works really well for some people. But if you go on a long weekend to a resort and all you guys do is knock boots all weekend, that long weekend will probably result in one of you imprinting, or both of you imprinting, and then you’re in la-la land and maybe not making great choices.

Cathy: Great, thank you.

Reid: You’re welcome.


More on improving communication and relationship skills:

How Do You Unhook and Stay UnHooked

What To Do If Your Lover Seems To Lose Interest…