First, I want to acknowledge and validate that dating today sucks. I’m not going to tell you that it doesn’t. But, it’s quicker, more accessible, and more flexible than ever. It just depends on what you believe about dating. Before you write off dating forever, let’s go through a check list.
Sorry to be cliche, but if someone told you they were going to introduce you to someone who is generally unimpressed with his/her life, would you be super excited? Being proud of who you are is not necessarily key to finding someone, but it is the key to finding the right one. I personally believe in the Law of Attraction, and I’ve seen it proven time and time again. If you aren’t happy with your body, or you aren’t prioritizing your well being, dating is going to be harder for you. It will make you way less likely to show up and be confident on a date. It will also make it hard for you to justify being discerning about who you date, since beggars can’t be choosers.
Action: Compile a list of qualities you want your partner to possess. Then ask yourself: “Do I possess these same qualities? For example, if you want to date someone who takes care of their body and appearance, ask yourself: “Am I proud of my body and appearance?” Or, if you want someone who loves their job and is successful, ask yourself: “Am I proud of my work? Do I feel successful in what I do?”
Many of us show up to dates and curate who we are to please the other. Not only is that straight up manipulation, but it also puts you in the fast lane heading towards relationship hell. Believe me, the right person for you will never need you to omit or confabulate. The right person for you wants you for exactly who and what you are. And if you believe in the law of attraction, ask yourself: “If I show up on a date and decide to curate who I am/how I come across to please my date, and he/she buys into it, what will I be attracting?” The answer: Someone who wants someone other than you, or someone who is also curating. Yikes!
Another reason for avoiding the “Content Curation” pitfall is simply a matter of presence. If you are spending most of your date or relationship manipulating the other person’s perception of you, your attention will be elsewhere. You will be disconnected and not engaged in the moment. A lack of real presence makes genuine chemistry and attraction very hard to foster.
Action: Look back on past relationships and identify patterns. For example, do you often find that people “totally change” a few months into dating? Or, do you end up in relationships with people who, it turns out, are not really into monogamy? Acting like you are “chill” or “totally ok” with a lack of commitment is NOT honest if you really want monogamy. Make sure that you are representing yourself honestly and clearly and the right person for you will want more of that. If you are not attracted to the person, and you don’t want another date, don’t lie at the end of the date and say you’re interested. Dating karma – it’s a thing. Gently let them know that you enjoyed meeting them, but you don’t feel the chemistry. Be honest and you shall receive honesty in return.
Dating feels daunting when the sole desired outcome is a relationship. However, I have been on tons of dates where I didn’t necessarily hit it off with the other person, and yet I was able to genuinely walk away having learned something. When you set a higher objective, the date will have deeper purpose and, therefore, feel more fulfilling. If you find out in the first five minutes that you are not attracted to the other person, you can still get a ton out of the date. Find out what they know that you don’t. Allow yourself to learn and connect with another human even if you don’t want to sleep with them. You’ll start to realize that your time isn’t wasted unless you choose to waste it.
Action: Before going on any date, identify a few questions you want to ask your date. These should not be generic questions like “how many siblings do you have?”, but rather, questions that really require thought and abstract thought. Give them a chance to teach you something they feel deeply about. Ask your date what they like to do on their own. Or, ask them what important lessons they learned from their parents, or about business. I know it sounds silly, but when you ask someone something new or personal (without crossing a line), you are giving them the opportunity to be themselves. And when all is said and done, that is who you truly want to know.
I always had this bizarre theory that I was going to meet the love of my life through a mutual friend. I had no basis for my theory, only that it was a feeling that I kept going back to in my mind. My intuition was trying to tell me something, and it was my job to listen. I believed that putting myself in new, unexpected situations with friends was going to pay off big time. It incentivized me to go out and have fun, and 99% of the time nothing came of it. But finally one day, my friend invited my (now) husband to a weekend we had organized, and I knew immediately that he was THE ONE. When we met, I felt compelled to say, “I was expecting you!”.
Action: Check your “story” about dating. Is it consistent with how you tell the rest of your life story? For example, my story is that my intuition ALWAYS leads me to the right place. It’s a great life story to believe in because a) it allows me to rely on faith, b) it feels true, and c) it has a HAPPY ENDING. (Of course, there are days when my story is more like “Everything sucks and no one appreciates me.” But, that’s maybe five days out of the year). Make sure you actually like the story you are telling about your life because by believing it, you are writing history (get it: “his-story”). So, if you have a story that goes something like “Everyone else has an easier time getting things in life,” well, friend, you are in trouble. That is exactly what you are going to get out of your dating life, as well as other relationships, your career, body image = pretty much everything. That story will be proven over and over.