I speak to a lot of women about their dating lives—awesome, amazing, wonderful women. Many tell me that they are afraid about dating, or some are so tired of being disappointed that they don’t even want to try.
It may be so messy or frustrating that they may not want to continue putting themselves out there. Does this describe you? If so, then I’ve got four tips you can use to start feeling better about dating today.
Thinking of dating as a process is the opposite of thinking, “I am going to meet my man and I will just immediately know he is the one.” Having this attitude will put so much pressure on you, and it will take the joy out of dating. But if you think of dating as a process of discovery about yourself and about other people, then it will put you in a position of curiosity—curious to just learn about other people and about yourself. It will totally take the pressure off.
I used to coach a woman who had been seeing a guy for several months, but she told me that she just wasn’t sure about the relationship. As I dug deeper, she told me that they had gotten exclusive pretty early on, and what that meant for her was that her emotions didn’t have a chance to naturally develop.
This can happen to anyone; if we go too fast, then our emotions don’t have the opportunity to grow at the same pace and progress along to the same stages of the relationship. Thinking of dating as a process allows you the time to go as slowly as you need, which allows your emotions to grow in concert with everything else. And if you tell yourself that you are going through a process, that makes everything a whole lot easier.
You don’t want to think of dating this way: “I’m going to get the crumbs because there are no good men left.” When I hear my clients say this, I remind each of them that we are not in a “man shortage!” I say this so frequently that I looked it up. The last time I checked, there were about 26 million single men between the ages of 30 and 60 in the United States alone.
These men are unattached, and that means they could be eligible, right? Sure, not every single man in that pool of millions is going to be the kind of man you’d like to marry. However, there are bound to be just many good ones out there! So instead of dreading dating and thinking of it as “I just need to settle for what I can get,” you should remind yourself that there are more than enough eligible, single men that can check all your boxes—and then some. Keeping an open mind will help you stay positive about dating. Remember, there is no man shortage!
The third tip is closely related to the first one—thinking of dating as a process. One of the things we often do when dating is that we mentally start skipping a few chapters. Especially when we meet a guy, we may think about the prospective relationship all the way down the line . . .thinking about if it will work out or not. This practice, my friend, will make you anxious.
For example, I currently have a client that I’ve been coaching for a few months. I’ve been working with her to challenge herself to stay in the moment. I tell her that she does not need to figure everything out, all at once, so early on into a relationship. I say this to all my clients, but you will only be able to make a decision when you have enough information. That’s all there is to it. You need to focus on going slow and keeping your mind on the present moment. If you don’t, anxiety will creep in and threaten to spoil things. If you try to figure things out too quickly or understand things you don’t have information for, you’ll be apprehensive.
Remind yourself as often as you need to, but just focus on the “now” in your relationship. So, when you’re out on a date or talking to a guy for the first time, remember that you’re in a process and there are some things that you simply won’t have information about until you hit that natural milestone in the relationship. When you catch yourself starting to mentally spiral, just stop and think, “Okay, I’m staying in the moment, and I’m going to enjoy the process by doing so.” Tip #3 builds on Tip #1 that way.
Another thing that gives us anxiety when dating is that we may see ourselves as being less than the men we encounter. We may think, “Oh, I really like him, I’ve got to prove myself if he is ever going to love me.”
You are not beneath the men that come into your life.
One thing I tell the women I speak that it is so important to remember is that dating is not about proving to a man that you are valuable right at the beginning. If that’s the perspective you’re bringing into the relationship, you may miss that he may not be the kind of man you want to be in a relationship with. Trying to prove yourself can end up wasting your time and your emotions.
Dating can be so much more enjoyable when we don’t put so much pressure on ourselves. If you think of it as a process, remember that we are not in a man shortage, stay in the moment, and remember that you don’t need to prove your value, then you can focus on enjoying the men you’re getting to know. You’ll find that you are worthy of love, that you can give and receive love, and that the dream you have to love—and be loved—really is possible!
I say all this not only from my perspective as a relationship coach but also from my personal experience. I really thought that I’d never find love, I took it as a fact, and I gave up on thinking it would happen for me—and then I ended up with a really great man.
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