Why is it that so many people who are getting back into the “dating world” seem to have such a miserable experience, while others talk about the process as if it were an exciting adventure? What’s creating such a different experience? Is the individual’s last involvement in a relationship affecting their attitude? Is fear keeping them armored up enough that they can’t actually enjoy themselves? Or are some people simply “unlucky”, coming across date after date who ranges from seriously immature or rude and self- centered, to someone who’s “quirks” are not the funny, endearing kind, but instead leave you scrunching up your forehead, asking “What the hell was that?”
All of these things can certainly play a part in whether you enjoy the process of dating again, but being “unlucky” is rarely what’s going on. The personal work that an individual does at the onset to ready themselves for what truly can be a fun, “adventure”, is the key to not only enjoying meeting new people, but to having a fun, flirtatious time that opens the door to the possibility of something deeper.
When clients come to me for my Conscious Dating Coaching, most have already given thought to some things that probably need to be in place before they date again. I hear how they have tried to honestly “let go” of any anger, resentment or sadness they were carrying from their past relationship. They tell me they’ve spent some time really thinking about the kind of person they’d like to meet and what kind of person they never want to be with again! And most tell me they have hit a place where they are tired of being “alone”, using that as the motivation to get back out there.
While there’s nothing wrong with any of those things, digging a bit deeper before venturing forth can create the kind of dating experience that feels a hundred times more satisfying, (even fun!) and sets a person up for successful coupling!
CONSCIOUS DATING MIND SHIFTS
OLD SCHOOL – “I’d better figure out first, what kind of man/woman I’m looking for.”
INSTEAD - Spend time asking yourself, “Who am I? What do I really want for myself, in a partner, in life?”
* Take the focus off of anyone else right now and make sure that you have spent enough time doing some big self-reflection, especially after a breakup. Understanding who you are, what you like and where you need to keep growing is way more important right now then who you can “find.”
OLD SCHOOL - “It’s been long enough now, that I guess I’m ready to jump back into the dating game.”
INSTEAD - Uh. No. Ask yourself, “Where have I grow and changed since I was in my last relationship and what do I understand now, about myself, my values and what I want?”
*Time going by does nothing to help you get ready to date “consciously” and open up the door to you meeting someone amazing. It’s what you’ve DONE with the time in which you’ve been single that matters.
OLD SCHOOL - “I hope I don’t meet any crazy people out there. If I keep attracting this kind of thing I don’t know what I’m going to do!”
INSTEAD – Assume you are going to meet all kinds of people initially and yes, that will include some real “wackadoodles!”
*You’re going to meet negative people, emotionally immature people and even some mentally unstable people. You’re also going to meet witty, fun loving people and individuals that have been doing a ton of great work on themselves and are hoping to not meet a “crazy” person on their date! Meeting someone and continuing to date them are two very different things!
Here’s what I want you to do different now: Trust yourself and hone your intuition. That means listening for any signs of something “off” when you have an initial phone conversation before setting up a date. Don’t even meet for coffee if there’s something not right. Always have your first date be casual, short and all about meeting to see if there is even a connection. Again, watch, look, and listen for red flags and DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT agree to a second date if you get that “hinky” feeling, regardless of whether the other person wants to meet up again! Women, LISTEN TO ME HERE! If you want to avoid “crazy”, drama filled, painful encounters down the road, you have to commit fully to listening to your inklings, your gut, that “still small voice” and not begin questioning whether you should “give it one more shot” if you hear “D-O-N-E.”
OLD SCHOOL – “I’ll try this for a while and see if I have any luck.”
INSTEAD - As you head into each date, say to yourself “I’m excited to not only have the chance to meet a new fellow traveler, I’m curious what I will learn about myself in the process!”
* Like anything else, setting a clear intention to make the most of each encounter and keeping an upbeat attitude helps create the out-picturing of what you are looking for. I can’t tell you how many times an individual allows the dating process to be about whether they are “liked” instead of recognizing that it’s a numbers game and the majority of people will not be a good overall fit for you. A successful date is one in which you have gained important information about whether to see each other again!
OLD SCHOOL – “The downside of dating is that it’s exhausting to keep being in short term relationships! It looks like it’s going somewhere and then we break up!”
INSTEAD - Embracing this one, new dating mindset will change everything about your experience!
“Dating is NOT a relationship. Dating is the time you spend with someone determining whether you can actually have a relationship with them!”
*I heard this line from David Steele years ago and I pass it on whenever I can. Dating gets a bad rap because people jump in too quickly, become “exclusive” too soon and pretend they are already in a “relationship” after a few times spent together. When you can remember to balance your heart and your head, using the dates as ways to keep testing the waters and watching for your “deal-breakers” to be met, then an eventual ending doesn’t feel like a “breakup.” We human beings are a complicated. It takes time to get to know someone and initially, the fun, infatuation and natural “high” that comes from connecting on a heart level with another person is easily interpreted as “real love.” Let dating be dating. Use it to explore, to remain curious and don’t lock things in. It makes the process much less painful and so much more enjoyable when you let things unfold with some ease and an open mind.