by Amy Jones
Recently, I was talking with some friends about dating. They’ve been a couple for about 5 years, and we started discussing how dating has evolved over the last few years. They met the old-fashioned way. One evening they just happened to be in the same place at the same time, sitting next to each other while waiting for their take-out orders at an Italian restaurant. What are the chances of that happening? For some people, this serendipitous meeting does occur. However, for the rest of us, we have to rely on technology to meet other singles.
With the introduction of dating apps and the increased number of singles using these apps you would think that dating would get easier. Dating apps save time, increase the chances of meeting someone and narrow down preferences. But have they made dating easier? I don’t think so.
From my experience, it is a numbers game and, as the old saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.
As our discussion progressed, the underlying question kept coming up, “Do people really know what they want?” And the answer, from my perspective in the dating world remained the same, “I don’t believe they do.” We create a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves and deal-breakers. We get online, write a profile and then jump into the dating pool. We create stories around the photos we see, the words we read and then have a whole concept of what this person is going to be like before we meet them for the first time. We have created expectations and then, often, we are disappointed when the person doesn’t match the story we’ve crafted.
Then we meet someone who we have a spark with, the chemistry is there but there are some things that may arise on the deal-breaker list. We compromise our values, our desires and our preferences because we want to connect so desperately. We are alone and lonely. We don’t get touched enough. We are tired of doing things by ourselves like eating, traveling, going to the movie, and sleeping. Sometimes people will say the other person will complete them, they are looking for their first last kiss or their soul mate.
The part we are missing is that we are making it about the other person when we should be making it about ourselves.
We need to be asking ourselves questions. How do I want to feel when I’m in a relationship? What do I want to receive from the other person? What is important to me that I can experience outside the relationship? How will this person interact with my friends and family? Can I see myself with this person?
Looking at it from a different perspective will also change the way we look at the person and the relationship. I believe it is unreasonable to expect that we are going to get 100% of what we need from our partner. Yet, when we jump in the dating pool, this is what we’ve sold to ourselves. And the worst part is we’ve created a whole story around how this other person is going to fill in the gaps, meet our needs and be the end all, be all to our every desire.
This is simply an unrealistic expectation and, in doing this, we are setting ourselves and the other person up for failure and disappointment. Yet, we do it time and time again. It has become human nature to create this story line and then wonder why we can’t find what we are looking for. We become frustrated and jaded. We go from date to date, unfilled and unsatisfied. How can we change this experience?
Keep these 5 tips in mind when you are dating and write your list from your personal desires and not things about the other person:
#1 – Take a step back and getting in touch with yourself and what you want.
The list of must-haves, nice-to-haves and deal-breakers are personal. They aren’t about the other person, they are about you. From the perspective of being a business owner, I must be with someone who understands that I don’t have regular hours and may have clients over the weekend. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand what it takes to run my business. This is both a must have and a deal breaker. A nice to have would be someone who shares a love of cooking. Being in the kitchen together would be a way to connect, create and share a glass of wine.
#2 – Discover what is important for you to receive from the relationship and your partner.
Do you need someone who is home every night and doesn’t travel for work? Do you need quality time from the other person? Do you need help around the house? Take some time to discover your love language and the love language of your date or mate. This will help you discover how you give love and how you want to receive love. Once you know this about yourself and your partner, it makes the relationship flow better. My primary love language is acts of service. It is helpful for my partner to know that starting my car on a cold morning is more important than him telling me congratulations about a new client (this would be words of affirmation).
#3 -Keep focused on the here and now without projecting out into the future.
Take it one step and one date at a time. Stay in the moment of the experience and allow it to take its course. There are so many things you may miss including red flags because you might be looking into the future or seeing the potential in the other person. Remain in the present to see what is right in front of you and not what potential you see in the future. This is an important step. On every date I go on, I am focused on what we are discussing and what is happening at the time. Recently, I had a guy who stood up when I got up from the table to go to the restroom and then stood up again when I returned. I’ve never had that happen before and I really appreciated it. I took time to really think about how respectful this was.
#4 – Allow the other person to show up as they are without creating a story or making excuses.
Listen, observe and let things evolve. Pay close attention to the actions of the other person. Are they doing what they say they will do? Ensure that actions and words are matching up. Over time, people’s true nature shows up. Be patient, don’t rush things. I believe it takes about two years for people’s true nature to emerge. If they have done something that is a red flag more than twice, it is part of their nature and they will continue to do it. The first time is a warning sign. The second time is a repeating pattern. The third time means it’s a habit. For me, the second time it happens is the last time.
#5 – Identify things that are important that you may have to outsource.
Do you like to eat sushi, but your date/partner doesn’t? Find friends that you can eat sushi with. Do you like to go to sporting events, but they don’t? Again, find friends that you can do this with. It is important to have things in common especially life goals, foundational basics like morals, ethics and integrity. However, there will be differences as well. Don’t expect that you and your partner are going to match up on everything and have the confidence and security to outsource the items where you don’t match up. I love to go dancing several times a month. This is something very important for me. My partner may not like to dance however he may be willing to go out with me or I may have to go out with my girlfriends in order to get this need met. Either way, recognizing that this need is important and that I may need to outsource it is something I need to identify.
In 2016, Match.com reported that the fastest growing dating group was over 50. In 2018 We are in the demographic and geographic area for dating and finding love. Keep these tips in mind and I hope you find what you want!
About the author: Amy Jones is a personal growth visionary, international speaker and author who lives and breathes one simple philosophy: live in the moment. For over two decades, she has inspired thousands of people; intent on helping facilitate their personal growth and self-healing process by creating opportunities for significant and lasting life changes through personal interactions, workshops and writing found on www.TheAmyJones.com