When it comes to finding a partner, or dating, the clichés are overwhelming. Nobody dates anymore. Every day a new article pops up warning the decline of love and marriage. The ruins of relationships are peppered in the news like bodies in a post war zone making it no wonder most adult singles seem to be cynical.
Despite the damaged reputation of dating today, there is a saving grace: reality. The blame of failed relationships doesn’t lie in the year we live in, but in what we get wrong about dating in general.
Dating is luck. It’s not.
The thought of the lottery being your financial plan seems absurd but finding love through luck makes sense. You have total control over your love life by the choices you make every day. You determine where you’ll go, how you’ll dress, who you’ll smile at and how open you will be to new interactions. You dictate how you will interpret flirtations or ambivalence. You create your love life. Your actions determine the results that you get. More importantly you determine if you will ever learn how to date.
Learning to date is no different than learning a new job or skill. There are best practices and indicators that you can follow for success but most people rely on luck. If at any time single men and women decided to be better partners and learned subtle nuances of interpersonal relationships dating would improve. We would no longer rely on trends or statistics to determine our success.
You don’t have to communicate. You do.
Relationships suffer when the two parties involved fail to communicate properly. Many singles allow their limiting beliefs, or worse their egos, to speak on their behalf; too afraid to say what they really feel. Our inability to separate deep seeded emotions from our daily conversations makes dating harder than it has to be.
Open communication in a relationship leads to problem solving but instead we drift in ambiguity never getting the answers to the questions we’re afraid to ask. Our fear of losing another person’s affection, the denial of our own needs, and the shame of wanting anything at all from another person make it impossible to effectively ask for what we want in dating. Yet people wonder why relationships don’t last.
Most couples break up before ever talking through important issues.
Everyone will respect you. They won’t.
Respect is what you give yourself. If you don’t place a high value on who you are and respect yourself enough to set boundaries in your relationships then don’t expect others to draw the line where you should have. No one can love you more than you love yourself or treat you better than you expect to be treated.
When another person disrespects you, it’s your job to walk away and set the standard for how you expect to be treated. Don’t assume that respect will be given to you. And don’t accept that you have to earn it. People are people, with a variety of standards. When you encounter a rude person, don’t blame yourself just move along. Show respect for yourself by living with standards and conviction.
Relationships should last forever. They don’t.
Throughout history, relationships have ended. Partners died in war, from diseases and women died during childbirth. The Bible is littered with break ups and failed relationships yet somehow Disney convinced us that love lasts forever.
Nothing lasts forever. Just because your relationship doesn’t result in marriage, that doesn’t make it a failure. Success of a relationship is not in forever but in how happy you were every day you spent together. While we focus on the statistic of divorce we don’t account for the many miserable years that lead up to the divorce.
The many years of brave faces, or cheating, or lonely nights that can occur within a relationship just because someone believes it should last. Bad relationships should end. It’s the fantasy of forever that makes them continue on longer than necessary.
No one dates anymore. Not true.
False. Single men and women arguably date too much. So much so that they actually fail to get into a partnership or committed relationship. They believe that another day means another date and a chance to meet someone that you like more, or that likes you more.
Everyone seems to date but you should date to the level that you require. If want a traditional partner who believes in customary dating rituals then it’s your job to find them. Stop accepting dates with people who don’t date to your standards.
If you accept less you get it. The art of dating wasn’t exactly lost we’ve just changed our requirements of them. There was a time when you had to follow the rules and a script in order to get a desired result. Men had to be gentlemen to get a kiss and women had to seem demure to land a husband.
We have lost the belief that we can still barter with traditional currency and get the person that we want. We’ve gained the fear of sending the wrong message, coming on too strong, and ending up alone. We don’t believe that you can play ‘hard to get’ and still get anything. This fear is so strong that we’ve abandoned past dating traditions because we believe they don’t work.
We’ve gained too much doubt in traditional dating so we lower our standards to accept less than what we want. If you want to date traditionally then require it.
It’s a means to an end. Nope.
Life isn’t over, until it’s over. The goal of dating isn’t always marriage but thinking that it should be keeps many people single. Ester Perel, psychotherapist says,” You can love more people than you can make a life with.” Meaning, every great relationship doesn’t always end in happily ever after. We connect with the people we need at the time, based on who we are. As we grow and evolve so do our needs.
Dating is a great way to build connections and learn more about ourselves through relationships. It’s a great opportunity to stretch our vulnerability and communication muscles. Dating is fun or at least it can be when you aren’t worried about where things are leading. Even if relationships end your time wasn’t wasted.
You didn’t do it all for nothing. Every experience is an opportunity to grow and dating is no different. Take dating as an experience instead of a means to an end with that end being marriage. You can still enjoy the trip without knowing the destination.