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  • paulinethepsychologist

Dating .. YOUR Way!

Dating can be done in the way that brings you least stress and most joy. And even when it's hard, it can be working toward your ultimate betterment and good.

So you are starting to think dating doesn’t have to be stressful and even working on incorporating some of the tips already shared.

Here are a few more:

4. Do it your way – no three-day rules, no you can’t tell someone you like them, etc. Operate with integrity.

You don’t have to play the part of a dater. You can be totally and authentically you. It WILL NOT work for some people. Great! That helps you get closer to who is the right fit for you. It’s not about sending the most perfect first text or acting coy or not seeming too this or that.

As cliché as it sounds, being yourself is the best bet. You don’t know what is going on inside someone else’s head and heart. Even your efforts to “be what they want” fall short because you don’t know how someone will interpret something. Your best bet and the one that will give you peace of mind through the process is not trying to be someone you are not and being as honest as you can be about who you are. Also, you don’t have to talk to multiple people at once. You don’t have to get physical. You can determine what works for you and then act accordingly. You really can do this completely your own way which includes …

5. Take it slow – Live your pre-dating life, take care of yourself, and know that protection isn’t a bad thing

Keep living your life. Do not forsake friends. Keep focusing on work. Have dating start as a small part of your life that can always grow. Too many clients I know start with such gusto and get burnt out very quickly. The more balanced your life is, the less you will need from dating in terms of expectations, and the more you will be able to gracefully handle the twists and turns (rejection is never fun but par for the course).

Even when you meet someone, know those amazing hormones are going to kick in (and fight to take over) so time is on your side. Often rushing comes from feeling discomfort with the uncertainty but you can reframe uncertainty as a positive thing because you are truly trying to see what is rather than forcing it to be something in order to feel less anxious.

It’s also okay not to trust everyone right off the bat. It doesn’t have to mean you have issues with intimacy or are a pessimistic person. It means you are protecting your heart and allowing someone to show you who they are. You can be nice and watchful. You can be available and protective. You can be loving to others and loving to yourself.

6. Realize that stuff will come up – but choose to use it to your benefit

So many clients come to me bewildered, "Why am I so okay single and then turn into someone else when I start dating?!"The truth, because you're pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. You may have strong feelings and strong reactions come up. Old wounds may resurface in fresh ways. You might make some big realizations and you may not like all of them. You are putting yourself in new situations so new things will arise.

Will it hurt? Maybe. Probably. But this isn’t about staying totally safe. This is about taking a risk, while also taking care of yourself. It is about opening to new experiences and new people and ultimately, that is a beautiful aspect of life. This is about growth and movement forward. And it’s about connection – to self and others. When things come up, you can respond with fear, shame, judgment, or confusion.

Or you can say, “Ok, wow, this is intense. I’m feeling ______, but ultimately, I am glad that is coming up so I can address it and learn about myself. I can choose how to respond to this.”

Marianne Williamson, author and spiritualist, states that romantic relationships illuminate the barriers we have to love. When something comes up (jealousy, inadequacy, judgment), you can choose to see that as a barrier to loving yourself or others that is being revealed so it can be healed. You can’t heal what you don’t know is there!

Often, to use these revelations for our good, we need support and guidance. Or else, we can easily be rip tided (yup, used it as a verb) back into the spiral of that emotion and an old history that no longer serves. Write down what is coming up. Seek the support of a close friend. Talk to a dating coach. Work with a therapist. Choose to face it with kindness and courage because when that part is healed, love will more easily flow in and out.

And there you have it!

Now go out there and make some memories (remember that bad dates sometimes make the best stories). As humans we are hardwired for connection so get out of your own way and let the natural process of connecting with someone else happen.

In the next blog, I will offer some guidance on how to savor your singleness and deal with rejection – something clients bring up all the time.

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