As a kind person, dating should be a natural extension of your most authentic self. That said, even the conscious dater can fall into some unusual traps.
You did it. You’ve reached another year of possibilities.
With self-acceptance and clarity left in place of a race for the clock, a hard-earned chance at a brand new year reveals you’re ready for love. You finished the soul searching and faced the transformation brought on by the winter season. You’ve defeated doubts, silenced the inner critic and inner work-a-holic who somehow managed to hijack your peace consistently last year. It was a feverish internal battle, but you’ve discovered yet another layer of depth and gratitude while letting yourself off the hook for fallible imperfections.
Although it’s been awhile, experience tells you that the best way to get back on the conscious dating horse is to take it slow while your heart, full of optimism, tells you to leap in. How hard can it be? In an ideal world, love is a no-brainer. By mere thought alone, single hearts are wide open and flirtation flies around with reckless abandon any and everywhere. By the first online dating profile question, however, the fear of the unknown comes flooding back in and suddenly meeting singles seems complicated.
The dating conundrum of what to do and how to show who you are can be a real buzz kill online and offline, but here are a few scenarios to remind you who not to be and to vet accordingly:
Mr./Mrs. More to Love
Sure. They’re magnetic and fun—not to mention, it feels really good to make new friends. Casual passing after a sweaty yoga class or bumping into one another at the water cooler gives the impression of a far-more intimate exchange than you maybe realize.
You hug as a generous extension of your heart. They do it out of confusion and hormonal distraction. Only to find Mr./Mrs. More to Love confess to having a guilty crush on you. Under the assumption that it’s sweet, you reassure them, only to find they finally mention being in a relationship before leaning in for an uninvited kiss. Mr/Mrs. More to Love seems strangely relieved and continues to pursue, oblivious of your whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis frown.
We all have a story, but once a well-meaning honey trap-zaps your interest in being open to someone special by pulling you into an unfair, complex love drama, you may miss quality opportunities to connect. Get clear and be stern. There is no shame in shutting that down for good.
Mr./Mrs. Newly Transformed
You haven’t seen them in what feels like a lifetime. You pique their interest upon mention of your years experience on the awareness path, only for them to have a misty-eyed ah-ha moment before your very eyes. Suddenly, you’re trapped, hearing about the ayahuasca experience they had while hiking in South America for three weeks and how deep and life-changing it was. They now know the meaning of life. They generously correct your comments, now that you are both on the same spiritual level—well almost.
They patronize you, minimize your experience and enjoy building themselves up to be all-knowing. They break it down; because, in their view, after only randomly bumping into you at a party, it’s time for you to hear it so you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Suddenly, the online dashboard of people with common interests who are willing to hear you out and listen inspire you to hit the mute button on mystic party chatter. When interests from yesteryear switch from signing out with “Peace” to “Love&Light” while breaking every mutual respect rule in the book, don’t be afraid to release the old in order to bring in the new. In this case, run, don’t walk.
We’re so connected, why talk?
Living a conscious lifestyle often means we make room for a peaceful day-to-day existence. After stretching ourselves to the limit in order to exercise discipline and quiet the mind, though, there’s nothing like that ill-timed self-professed wellness guru to abruptly cut you off in mid-conversation in the hopes to flex their holistic ego.
It’s just as important to stay on the same page when sharing space or having spoken (or unspoken) dialogue as it is to spot a socially awkward, supernaturalist with unusual philosophy on connecting that somehow manages to destroy relationships rather than build them.
Rule number one of engaging in meaningful conversation online or offline is no one person dominates the wheel. If they do, it’s not sacred dialogue between two people and it’s not mutual, it’s intervention. Both have a place and both require your energy and permission to continue, online and offline. Curious conversational preferences in-person are just as unappealing as one-word answers given by a new prospect online. Sorting awkward chats aren’t always fun or convenient, but there’s a difference between nerves and nerve. Choose wisely.
Love’s biggest demand is that we wholeheartedly commit to surrendering what no longer serves us on a day-to-day basis, staying in the moment, and that we learn from our own mistakes as much as we learn from the well-meaning mistakes others make. The best way to knock out January jitters is slowing down enough to dedicate as much time to personal interests, health, and our dreams as we do to a hopeful agenda of enlivening our dating life after a long, dormant slumber.
No matter how you approach partnership, being selective about your approach and using your resources can be the difference between a promising heartfelt exploration or an exhausting avoidance of everything you don’t want to be. The side effect of using soulful resources is the return of self-respect and trust in choosing what feels right for you based on who you are right now—and without that, soul searching would be missing a major ingredient.