Dating has evolved into a ‘phase of life’, an interval to enter when the desire to meet the one is most prevalent. While some date for the sake of socializing with no intention to settle down, others are on a quest to find their future partner. Dating also referred to as “the dating world” has even turned into an industry all to itself; with the pressure building up around who succeeds and who fails. This is why there’s an over analyzed thought process around being ready and prepared for that “world”. Doesn’t it remind you of the time you were thinking of starting your own business? Putting all the pieces together, the business plan, the marketing strategy, the return on your investment and oh most importantly; what sets you apart from the rest?
So in order to be ready for this “survival of the most prepared” phase, we must do our homework. We must have all the ducks in a row, with a clear vision of the finish line. Or do we?
I often hear from friends, family, and clients about the time, money and energy it takes to date. Those monthly dues for online dating sites, eating out and walking away from many “crazy stories” can quickly add up. Someone once told me that she could easily publish a book about her horror dates. Yet with all that we hear and see around us, we still feel the urge to merge and swim in the dating game with the hope to finally meet the love of our life. Then why not reassess the process, the goal and the results altogether, so we can take the pressure off and flow in this mysterious and adventurous abyss of an emotional playground.
Most of the dating advice we give and receive are based on premises that most often fall short of producing favorable results. With all the good intentions behind the tips we pass on to each other, there lies the potential to create confusion leading to a set of daunting perceptions and misconceptions. Here are a few examples that can help you decide which way to go and to make dating an enjoyable phase of your life.
1) Our mind is a powerful tool. We often hear how thoughts shape our reality. So why not clear the mind first. If your mind is full of stories of past failed relationships, yours and your friends, you are most likely entertained by what doesn’t work more than what does work. Allow the time and space to clear your head first. What you think of and speak of is a matter of choice.
2) Personal presentation is an individualized thing that varies from person to person. For some, unless they’re at their best appearance, dating is not an option. While for others, how they look holds less significance. There really isn’t a formula for when is the right time other than being open to allowing someone else to be part of your journey regardless of how you think you should look. After all, we all go through changes and it’s nice to get to know someone while you’re in the process of your transformation.
3) Too much expectation is placed on dating and the outcome of the date. So much so, that we shift our focus on the projected future instead of being present in the moment. There are hundreds of questions designed to help us get to the core of the other to help us decide their qualification level. When two people who have seemingly prepared themselves for the set of question and answer sessions, they will naturally deviate from the effortless progression of learning about each other. This state can turn production of Endorphin (happy hormone) into Cortisol (stress hormone), therefore, getting in the way of an enjoyable evening.
4) Age seems to play a big factor in how we go about dating. The common denominator at every decade of life has always been Time. The race to keep up with expectations we put upon ourselves based on what we’re told everywhere we go. It’s either time to fall in love, to get married, to have children, to raise the kids with another, to not be alone, and to find a companion for our senior days. So there’s a sense of urgency even if we’re not consciously aware of the time factor. When I invite people to have fun on their date, I often hear, “I don’t have time to waste. I need to know if she’s the right one.” or “I need my questions answered so I can decide if he’s worth my time.” The pressure of time hinders love to showcase itself.
5) There will inevitably be those dates that lack the spark and excitement. But acknowledging that there is a gift in everyone that is packaged with their unique stories can set you free from attaching your experience to disappointment. The purpose of engaging in a conversation with someone of interest is to measure the connection you feel to them and not to be so judgmental of how they respond to your questions.
6) Typically dates are planned around evening drinks and/or dinner. Rarely do we count going on a hike, doing a project together, working out together, going to the library or even the museum or a sports game as first dates. This comes from the emphasis we put on verbal communication. We feel the need to be still and only rely on what we hear to help us get to know the other. This naturally adds to the pressure of saying the right thing and dealing with awkward conversations. Hence, we opt for another drink to ease the nerves.
7) It’s a warm-up game. Dating is a playground, it’s a gym where we go to work our ‘socializing with interest’ muscles. If you look around you or even ask around, most people that are in love and in committed relationships have actually met at the most unexpected places and times in their lives. They weren’t caught up in “the dating world”; just open to love and to be loved. Dating is getting more pressure than it really needs. If we can remember to ease up on ourselves and others, we can actually meet an incredible person that may just be the right one, or at least play their role in our journey of self-discovery & pursuit of love…
To assess your dating readiness, you can take The ULT Test today and receive a 15-minute free phone consultation. You can take the test now and then schedule your free call with Haleh Gianni.