Today’s generation operates unlike any before them. In the complicated world of dating, adults today don’t seem as resilient as they once were. In the 70’s and 80’s singles were expected to be tough in order to navigate the challenges of dating, career, sexuality, and empowerment. Being tough never meant pretending that you didn’t have feelings. Being tough meant working past what you felt to do whatever you needed to do.
It meant to act greater than you felt.
Dating has become a place where feelings are no longer acceptable. So much so that being vulnerable becomes interchangeable with experiencing an emotion. In the era of swiping left and right, it’s like singles forgot that those are the faces of real people (you hope). To be someone who cares about others is to be considered weak, not spartan, not a bad bitch, but a simp. To want love is synonymous with ‘being desperate’. The dating ‘game’ has transitioned into an emotional game of chicken.
Whoever shows that they care most loses, creating an environment where acting non emotional or like you couldn’t care less ‘where things are going’ makes you a good dater. In a climate where what you don’t feel is as critical as what you do, how can you stay sane and human while dating?
Understand That You Have Feelings
You met a guy that seems to check all of your boxes. You like him, and he seems to like you. You let your guard down and you open your heart only to realize that you and him might not be on the same page. It hurts.
To feel disappointed, sad, remorseful, or surprised by any particular outcome is human. Dating requires feelings but most singles tend to only entertain the good ones. The insecurity and less desirable feelings are typically ignored until they are too large to deny. You hate that you feel anything that isn’t excitement or joy but you do. You have to accept that you have feelings, you’re human. With the elation, passion, and connection comes their opposites.
Loving is a guarantee that you will feel unwanted emotions like rejection. These are the result of a trigger that causes you to relive a hurt from the past. A man that can make you feel wanted can also make you feel unwanted – which brings up painful memories of high school etc…
So what do you do when you are triggered into feeling something unwanted?
The best response is to accurately name the feeling without a story attached. Ask yourself what is the emotion that you are feeling?
You are disappointed because his behavior has changed.
You are surprised because he used to be more attentive.
Leave out the why, and name how you feel as accurately as you can. Once you can name your emotions, you can move past them but never ignore them or that you are human. Never ignore that you feel. Never consider yourself weak for having feelings in the first place.
Don’t Create A Story Where There Isn’t One
- He hasn’t called.
- He doesn’t want to be exclusive.
- He isn’t that into you.
There are so many scenarios where the mind wants to create a narrative. An event happens and instantly you want to know what it ‘means’. Humans are meaning making machines. The best thing that you can do is accept the fact that everything doesn’t mean something. You don’t need some creative storyline to explain away a behavior.
When something is happening outside of your desired outcome, understanding, or control – the best response is no response. You might find yourself reflecting on the situation thinking, “Isn’t that interesting.” or “That’s surprising.”
The last thing you want to do is to create a story that doesn’t need to be there. If you’re dating someone whose behavior makes you feel bad about yourself these are the things that you DON’T want to do:
- Don’t believe that if you were different, prettier, thinner, funnier, richer or had sex sooner that you would have changed the outcome.
- Don’t think back to all of your past disappointments and proclaim that this ‘Always happens to you’ or that you ‘Done it again’.
- Don’t create a struggle where one is not required.
If you face disappointments in dating take note but don’t create a narrative that makes you the victim. You are STILL an amazing woman who is STILL available for the right guy. This just happens not to be the right guy. And wouldn’t you know, he seemed to have the qualities. Being wrong doesn’t require a narrative.
Now that you have more evidence that this guy isn’t the right don’t try to fit someone’s behavior into a convenient story.
Keep Your Options Open
No matter how many experts try to convince women that they should keep their options open and date more than one guy at a time, women always fail to do just that. The reason for this appears to be because most women just don’t understand what that means. Think about dating this way. The man you like is not the movie; he is the preview. Unless you have a conversation about exclusivity you are still getting the preview, the best parts. And this movie looks really good, but guess what; you’re still just watching a preview.
Keeping your options open means living in a mindset of abundance. You have a standard. If you are dating a man that meets that standard, great. If you are dating a man that wants to be in a relationship with you, great. If you are dating a man who is not meeting your basic standards of communication and treatment, or who DOESN’T want to be in a relationship with you, keep dating other men. That simple.
Keeping your options open isn’t about being disloyal or dishonest. Dating more than one man at a time keeps you distracted and prevents you from focusing your energy on a guy that may or may not be interested in dating you exclusively. While there are numerous articles on how to keep a guy interested, or make him want you, the guy that wants something serious with you will be explicit. As the saying goes, “If he wants you, you’ll know. If he doesn’t you’ll be confused.”
Be Expressive Not Needy
Communication in dating can be very tricky. What you say and what the other person hears isn’t always the same thing. When you’re dating someone pay attention to how comfortable you are expressing what you want. There is a fine line between asking for something and being needy.
You might find yourself thinking about the guy that you’re dating all the time. You might care about how much you ask of him, and be conscious not to ‘rock the boat’. Often there is more that women want from a man but she has to determine if her needs aren’t being met, or if she’s just being needy.
Say what you need to say because it makes you feel better but know that just because you ask, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. When you’re afraid asking might chase this man away then you’re being needy. The man that wants you, will happily give you what you need. He’s probably doing this already. If what he is doing isn’t keeping you satisfied it’s okay to admit that you’re with the wrong guy. You might need to move on.
Just because you like things about him just means he’s likeable. It doesn’t mean he’s the right person for you.
Relationships take a long time to unfold. Even the most stable relationships can falter under the weight of the times we live in. Today, a marriage that has lasted 15 to 20 years is not divorce proof. So while you’re excited about what you could be creating with someone over a one month period, know that there are years, if not forever to go. Dating is just the beginning of a long journey so don’t rush it.
When you meet someone that you are interested in and things seem to be going well, don’t forget who you are, or who you were at the beginning of the journey. Understand that relationships take time to develop. Even when you’ve decided that you’ve met the person you want to be with, have the patience to get to know who they really are, not the person they are showing you.