Dating isn’t Dangerous
Some people love dating… some find it pure torture… sometimes people love dating because it serves as a source of accomplishment, or even self-approval (or should I say validation of self-worth).
I might hear from someone “Dating is awesome… I can get any girl I want to go out with me! I’ve had 30 dates in the last 60 days!” And, often these men and women struggle to commit. They get the fun and maybe the sex, or the ”juice”, so to speak, from dating a lot and they never get the real prize.
Others might feel validated saying, ”I was asked out six times in the last week!” And again, the dates don’t lead anywhere. They never turn into the relationship where you’re truly seen, honored, respected, valued… truly loved for who you are. The unconscious thought, ”Loved just for me?! No way!” often runs right below the surface in these singles.
Either way, they keep on dating… trading short-term feel-good fun for long-term love… and the short-term “feel good” never really lasts.
The key question for these men and women is …
Why does your heart, your soul, your spirit want to date? And… are your dating practices truly honoring that desire?
Going deeper, you might ask… Is there a way that dating has become a source of accomplishment or validation? Is it possible that underneath you’re actually terrified by the idea that if you ever stopped dating and actually got into a relationship that you might feel not enough, vulnerable, seen, exposed, responsible, or even hurt, disappointed, or heartbroken… and that’s simply “not an option”?
Is it possible that the real danger in your mind is relationship?
On the other hand, some feel tortured by the idea and reality of dating. They’re frustrated, and needless to say hurt, by the rejection. They hate the thought of another one that “didn’t work out.” It feels devastating when they’ve had a few great dates and then he or she says, “It’s not working for me.”
Dating can be torture when the mind-talk runs wild trying to figure out the future. That might be worrying, “Oh my gosh, she said yes to the date! Where in the world am I going to take her? How am I going to be sure she has fun? I know I want a second date, so I CAN’T mess this up… this has to be just right!” Then the pressure and the stress build. No wonder it’s torture!
Or maybe you’ve given the guy your number, or you’ve had a first great date, and at first your mind worries, “When he call?” Then when the phone hasn’t rung, the thought shifts to, “IS he going to call?” Then it might be “Should I call him?” and then the self-destructive thought, “What’s wrong with me?” might plague you for days. That’s torture.
So can dating feel dangerous? Sure it can. In the scenarios I described above, dating can feel like a minefield of “pain” bombs and it absolutely does not have to be that way!
Take the first step to “safety” by asking yourself, “Why are you dating? What’s your purpose in going out with him/her?” You need to know not just your short-term purpose but your actual long-term life reason. You need to know… “Would you like to get married? Would you like to have kids? Would you like to have a life partner?” Any long-term reason is fine and you need to know yours.
These are the real reasons most of us date. Sure, is it perfect to say, “I just want to have a good time Saturday night?” Absolutely, and if we do that week after week, month after month, it feels pretty empty and you miss the real prize – the healthy, hot and happy relationship with a partner you adore.
Alternatively, it can also be the focus on this end goal that makes dating torturous. You can turn dating into an interview process. You can set expectation way too high, way too fast.
You have to remember that dating isn’t about finding the one. It’s about sorting out all the ones that aren’t a fit (that is if you truly desire a long-term partnership).
What if every time someone said, “No” or “It’s not working for me,” his or her honesty was a blessing that saved you weeks, months, or even years of deeper hurt? What if you knew that “No” meant you we getting closer to your ideal partner? Here’s the thing, you WANT them to tell you the truth if it’s not working for them so that they don’t string you along… so that you have the chance NOW to go find one that is a fit… one that you do want to spend the rest of your life with.
What if you said thank you for every rejection? What if you blessed that man or woman with gratitude and well wishes because he or she is just as disappointed as you… because you weren’t their “fit”?
What if dating was just like trying a new food or trying on a new jacket. Some foods feel good in your mouth… some jackets feel good on your body… and some just don’t work for you. We don’t judge the food or the jacket, we simply let them go and move on. We weren’t bad. The food wasn’t bad. There’s nothing “wrong” with the jacket (or you)… you just weren’t a fit.
Here’s the bottom line. It’s the expectations and attachments that make dating painful. Focus on your long-term goal without trying to make it happen and enjoy the fun in the moment!
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.