Dating is a fickle beast-is it
not? You have nearly as many how to books as you do bibles in just as many
languages. Yet it seems that the landscape of dating has only gotten more convoluted
and difficult! Do you Tinder or go for Match. Com? Do you lay your cards out on
the table right away or do you hold them close to your chest. Who should text
who and after how long from last speaking?
The thing that I have found both
in my years of dating, though admittedly it was back in the stone age before
Facebook, Twitter and the entire texting bit, but also professional experience
is that there is no one size fits all guide on drawing them in or catching that
fish. Everyone is unique and has different angles they are operating with.
There are, however, a few things that I feel have earned the right to be called
out as the things NOT to do.
These are a selection of things
taken straight from the annals of my many moons coaching clients who are
searching for love. While I tailored these towards dating the truth is they all
tend to be deal breakers whether you are dating or in a committed relationship.
While there is no surefire way to reel them in there certainly are things that
will send them running for the hills.
Oh yes! This is an important one
I think for many of you! A client of mine recently explained that she could not
let her guard down and show even a modicum of interest with her recent paramour
because then there would be “no mystery”. Yet she was curious why he was slowly
starting to distance himself from her. Well if you fail to show them you are
interested at all they will eventually begin to think you aren’t and will find
someone else who is more interested in them than they are games! Games seem to
be this generation’s easy button for relationships. While games are fun in the
short term take them too far and they will destroy any chance you have at
developing an actual relationship with the person you are dating.
your best Speedy Gonzales.
Just like a fine wine needs time
to age so too does a good relationship. Trying to go from dating to exclusivity
to ruminating on what you think your kids will look like is like tying a noose
around the neck of whatever potential might exist between you two. I say might
because the first several months to even a year or two of a relationship are
really getting to know one another beyond just the potential you see between
you two. No one is the truest self when they first begin dating; chances are we
wouldn’t get a second date if we talked about our penchant for peeing with the
door open or how we walk around our house singing aloud whatever we are doing in
that very moment. We always put our best foot forward when we are “courting”
and that is fine. But it does mean that we need to allow things time to evolve
so that they begin to see us when we are not entirely coifed to perfection. One
of the biggest mistakes I have seen made is getting so caught up in the
destination that they destroy the journey.
We all want a man or woman who
treats us well, respects us and makes us laugh, right? We want someone who
makes us feel good and doesn’t leave us feeling deflated or otherwise defeated.
The issue is not having standards but having expectations that make it nearly
impossible for anyone to meet and satisfy them. If you are continually running
into walls and finding that your dates fail to evolve into more meaningful
connections ask yourself where your expectations are. Are you expecting him to
fill a void that you should be tending to yourself? Are you looking for love
from a healed or wounded place? Are you getting turned off because he has a
single hair out of place or fails to text you 50 times in an hour or respond to
your texts within minutes because dare I say it he has a life of his own beyond
you? Be sure that you are fair to him. The more fairness you show to others the
more they will treat you in kind.
While we all try to show our best
side when we first begin dating someone it’s important that we not view
everything from rose colored glasses. If they say one thing yet do another
chances are there is something amiss. If they are checking their phone when
they should be interacting with you this is not a favorable sign. If they keep
you a secret or treat you as though you are just a friend in front of people
you run into yet you have shared a bed—pay attention. Do they start off with
just one beer but then quickly devolve into a drunken mess leaving you to take
care of them? Do they speak negatively about their ex or treat the waitress
like garbage? These are all red flags that you should pay attention to. Do not
mistake them as just idle banter or assume that their treatment of a waitress
or clerk has no bearing on how they will treat you.
being honest about your needs.
I'm not suggesting that on the
first date you explain how you are looking to get married this year and have
your first child before the ending of the next-that would just be relationship
suicide! I am however, asking you to honor your needs. If you are indeed
looking for marriage and children and these are nonnegotiable but they go on
and on about how those things are nowhere in their 5, 10 or even 20 year plan
then it’s time for you to hit the pavement. Sometimes you meet someone and your
love for them outweighs the desire for certain things and in that case that is
fine. It is essential that you are certain of this because all too often when
we let go of things that are important to us just because we would rather be
with them than be alone we create a breeding ground for resentment. Furthermore
do not think that just because they say they don’t want these things now that
they will change their mind. Chances are you are not the exception to the rule.
The important thing to do is communicate your needs and ask how certain they
are of their stance. If they say they are certain, believe them.
attached to potential.
I hinted at this one in an
earlier point but it is important enough to warrant its own space. When we
first meet someone who has captured our attention there is a wealth of
potential that we begin to attach. We have a surge of all of these feel good
hormones and suddenly the sky is the limit; there is nothing you two cannot do.
And while this all may be true the fact is everything seems gorgeous from far
away. It’s not until you get up close that you begin to see the cracks. Every
connection needs time to evolve and reveal itself to each of you. If I had a
dollar for every person who came to me because someone they swore was their
soul mate no longer was interested in them I could retire today. The fact is if
you have not spent at least a year together you have only a glimmer of an
understanding of what is truly possible together. The qualities that make a
lasting and stable relationship take time to cultivate and form. Before that
time has been given the rule of thumb is to stay open and receptive but not
attach yourself to what you think is possible.
stop having fun.
I once worked with a woman who
handled her relationships like they were business meetings. Everything was
micromanaged and brought down to its barest element. Everything was dissected and
controlled and there was little room for spontaneity or levity. I have worked
with women who were so caught up in the fact that they were such and such years
old and still not married with children that they didn’t realize they were
approaching love with a stench of desperation so thick it choked people out.
When you approach love and dating from the perspective of having fun, learning
about yourself, others and just getting a chance to explore what is out there
you are guaranteed to have a good time no matter whether it develops into a
relationship or not.
Dating is supposed to be fun.
Relationships, believe it or not, are supposed to be fun. They are meant to
make you feel good. Even in the challenges, even when something hits a rough
spot sometimes it just takes an instance of making the other laugh that can
turn everything around. We have a tendency to make dating and relationships so
much harder when we make dating about a destination. When we are approaching
love from the wounded place of filling a void, fulfilling a desire, filling the
other side of the bed we end up causing ourselves distress. We end up making
poor decisions about who is allowed in our hearts and beds. We end up losing
ourselves because we are so caught up in the work of dating and forgetting that
half the fun is in everything that happens before the destination.
You can fret that things are
hard, that the clock is ticking or that nothing seems to go right but your
reality will always reflect your inner state. Who would you rather be with?
Someone who is fun, lively and radiates a sense of contentment within
themselves or someone who is constantly trying to rush matters fit a square peg
in a round hole and otherwise forces something?
The more that you become the
qualities you want to see in a person the more you will attract them in others.
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