The dating scene can certainly be a complicated place to navigate. There are many things to consider when meeting and potentially dating new people. But, of course, the most important thing to think about is the motivation for dating in the first place.
We are social creatures and, as such, we are naturally in search of companionship. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
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However, it is important to discern between seeking a companion or life partner versus desperately attempting to fill a void. The steps you can take to prevent the latter are vital in ensuring that dating doesn’t become an act of desperation.
Follow A Check List
Though dating is a bit more complex than grocery shopping, it is important to have a “shopping list” of sorts to reference when determining compatibility or lifelong potential. This list should contain the qualities and characteristics you look for in a person, as well as the behaviors and capabilities you value – like being emotionally available, sensitive to your needs, empathetic toward others, etc.
Remember, everyone has rights in a relationship, and each one of us has a right to have our own individual needs met. So rather than trying to force someone who is not capable of meeting or respecting those specific needs to be the kind of person who has that capability, we must seek someone who already does. To use the grocery shopping analogy, you wouldn’t buy carrots and try to force them to be peas.
Additionally, the check list reminds you to maintain reasonable standards, rather than settling for less than what you desire and deserve. Of course, the emphasis here is on “reasonable.”
Having expectations that are too high or unreasonable will sabotage a relationship before it starts. And, with regard to dating, it will turn the dating scene into a dysfunctional one – a comfort zone that keeps you from addressing your fears of commitment and/or rejection.
Be In The Moment
Unreasonable expectations typically stem from unresolved issues from the past and fears of the future, reflecting an inability to stay in the present moment. As such, it is important to practice mindfulness in order to enjoy a healthy dating experience.
Mindfulness simply means being mindful and in the moment. So, when you begin to feel fears of the future or think about the what-ifs, simply shift your focus to the present moment by concentrating on the basics: your breathing.
Be aware of your breath – the inhaling and exhaling.
Sit with any uncomfortable feelings that arise knowing that this too shall pass.
The emotions and discomfort will be fleeting, so you must learn to simply allow them to pass without reacting. Imagery can help with this, so try to envision yourself standing on the banks of a river. Imagine your fears or what-ifs as a leaf atop that river.
Sometimes, that river will be raging. Other times, it will be a gently flowing stream. Either way, simply allow the leaf (your fears and what-ifs) to float by.
Of course, sometimes our fears result from a dysfunctional or traumatic past. When this is the case, that river may appear more menacing – like a scene from War of the Worlds. In these cases, mindfulness alone may not be enough, but you can seek the help of a professional to find that calm place once again.
Date Yourself, Too
Getting to know you and practicing self-love is something that must come before attempting to date or love someone else. And, even when dating or a serious relationship begins, both need to remain at the top of the priority list.
Dating yourself before and while dating others allows you to become and remain aware of any issues that might be surfacing as a result of your past. The experience allows you to take necessary steps to heal and evolve.
This process allows you to avoid codependency and keeps you comfortable with spending time with yourself. The latter prevents you from developing or inadvertently nurturing fears of being alone or abandonment issues.
Remember, you need to be the best thing that ever happened to you before you’ll ever be the best thing to ever happen to someone else. Court yourself in the same way you’d want someone else to!
Dating can be a complicated experience, one which finds far too many people trading in their dignity for acts of desperation. Make sure you’re dating for the right reasons by following the steps above.
You may also be interested in The One Word That Can Revolutionize Your Dating Life