A new relationship is great, but we can’t forget to be mindful in our approach. Tracee Dunblazier urges us to be honest, trusting and a wee bit selfish, too.
Time, time, time…our lives center around the time we have. Some people are looking to fill it, and others don’t have enough of it and when it comes to making new connections or even sustaining ones you have, it’s easy to give it top billing. If you’ve been on the dating scene, internet or otherwise, you know it can easily become a full time job.
It’s important to start out knowing what you want, what you have and what you’re willing to part with.
I know when it comes to relationship advice there are a lot of buzz phrases: love yourself, you’re valued, time is money, treat you right, respect you…blah blah blah. Trust me, I don’t want to be your mother here, but I am going to go old school a bit on you, just to get a few things straight.
The purpose of dating is for courtship, with the end result being a long term relationship. The purpose of “hooking up” is for getting your needs met, whatever those are. Back in the olden days things were much simpler…the agreed upon norm was courtship to engagement. I am not saying they were better times, just simpler. Since tradition and social morays no longer carry the weight of directing you toward what you want, you’ve got to manage that responsibility all by your lonesome, learning to be clear and communicate is the most important asset you have.
I don’t believe that spending time with someone, even if it doesn’t work out, is ever a waste and certainly if you’re jumping into the dating pool, you might want to make sure you’re ready to swim.
The three dangers of dating are: distraction, deception and dilapidation. You want to do everything you can to make sure that your dating experience is value added to your life, that you’re not in denial about your motives or someone else’s and that you don’t neglect the other aspects of your life that are important to you, while looking for that perfect date. So, I’ve rounded up some pointers for you to consider.
“Value added” boils down to meaning—and please don’t kid yourself, on some level, all of the interactions we have with others have meaning and impact on our lives. Dating takes time and energy from all the activities and people that you love and puts it into time spent getting to know someone new. The only way to make sure that your date is value added is for you to know and be clear about what you want.
It’s pretty common out there for someone to be “casually dating” when they don’t want to be casual at all, or for folks to say they are interested in more than they are willing to actually have. To all you ladies and gents out there just looking for companionship or sex, don’t judge yourself, be completely honest. There are quite a few partners out there who feel exactly the way you do and want the same things. The more honest you are going in, the quicker you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.
[NOTE: if you’re ready to be radically honest, try MeetMindful for free today—the fastest growing dating site for conscious singles.]
You’ll want to be clear on your motives; are you bored with the other things in your life? Have you experienced some sort of trauma and looking to take your mind off of it? Is it spring and you’re feeling a little lonely? Are you looking for the “one” to settle down with? All of these things are common motivators that inspire people, as the season’s change, to be open to dating and love. You’ll want to ask questions and really listen to the answers. It’s okay to say, flat out, on the first date, what you’re looking for. The key is to remember that any real connection happens over time and is based on patience, kindness and respect; all of which, you’ve got to give to yourself first.
I hate to say it, but there are a lot of liars out there, especially when it comes to the internet. Now more than ever, you’ve got to trust your gut. The first time I dated via the internet I found a lovely connection with a guy who…as it turns out…had just gotten out of a tumultuous situation, lied about it, came on really strong to me and then did a complete about face in less than two weeks. People who want to rush into something are usually motivated by something other than you. Be willing to set boundaries, knowing that if they push them early in the relationship, they’ll over look them later.
Another thing it’s easy to be deceptive on is looks and age. Me and a guy I was chatting with compared notes one night; he said that a 30-year old model had sent a bombshell bikini pic and when she showed up for the date…she was about 10 years older and missing three teeth. Oops! I then shared about the good looking, 40-year old cowboy that still had a six pack and when we met for lunch…he was 60!! Oops!
Don’t be afraid to do a background check or at least Google your date. There is way too much information available to keep yourself in the dark; you can let them know you’re doing it, too. Remember, a person who has nothing to hide…hides nothing. If they give you any resistance to looking into them, maybe they aren’t where you want to put your time.
It’s really easy when you first meet someone to get swept up in their mojo and loosen the hold you have on other valuable things in your life. If you’re an emotional person, multiply that by three. Dating takes some skills like organization, time management and emotional intelligence. If you are needing to develop any of these skills, dating will definitely help, but remember the first five minutes of the relationship is always amazing and oh so easy to get caught up in it.
When I’m dating, I find it best to make a list of the things that I need to do for myself first, and every morning go through that list before I move on to dating land. Be clear with your date when you meet them about what kind of time you have for communications and activities, that way they can adjust their expectations.
Most of all, be where you’re at: mentally, emotionally and spiritually and commit to the process—know that the right person will come your way.
Dating takes work, if you’re not committed to that, you’re wasting yours and others time. Of course, where there is dating, there must be compromise. It’s the key to any relationship, but that’s regarding time and activities not who you are or what you need; so be honest, trust your gut and most of all…have fun!
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[image: via Phalinn Ooi on Flickr]