The hottest topic on most dating blogs usually involves the disappearance of men during the dating process. Why do they disappear after the first date? After the third date? After the third month?
If had a quarter for every time I heard:
I was at a Memorial Day BBQ this past weekend and brought a good lady friend of mine. She is quite attractive, smart, and confident. Many knew that we were just friends, so men proceeded to take their best shot and see if they could make in-roads with her. For the sake of protecting her identity, let’s call her Trish.
Pop Quiz: You had an awesome date with a guy, give him a nice hug goodbye (always better cause it keeps him wanting more and keep you looking ultra classy), then you get home and you…which one of the following should you NOT do?
NEWS FLASH: We men love you women. We do. Honestly. Even though we may not seem like it at times, we are completely floored by every single last one of you. We will do whatever we need to get your attention, get a date, and spend a cozy evening snuggling up to you.
You are sitting on the subway reading your paper and she gets on at the next stop. Gorgeous brunette, beautiful smile. Faulkner novel in one hand, so you know she has an active mind. You are game to meet her.
This is not a Valentine’s Day Survival Kit Blog.
There is no need.
I wrote a blog here not too long ago, about tearing up “The List.” The one we all most likely have in the back of our heads that reads: “Must be this size, this color, have this amount of hair, like this music, make this amount of money, likes to travel, likes to cook, etc, etc, etc.” The point was that this approach to dating is limiting, restrictive, and self-seeking. Furthermore, it does allow for the universe to do its work and bring you the love of your life, which many times, ends up NOT being our traditional type. Now that it is 2012, I think it is a good topic to revisit and develop a game plan of how you can definitely broaden your dating pool and create room for that surprise catch to end up in your net.
1) Throw Away the List
Of course, keep your values and non-negotiables in constant view, but leave the “Must Be This Tall to Ride This Ride” thought pattern back in 2011. Be open to what the universe brings your way; If you think you cannot fall in love with someone who is not your “type,” consider yourself forewarned.
2) Accept or Pursue Every Date
The main caveat to this one is if the potential date elicits images of the shower scene in Psycho...It may be OK to table this particular opportunity. If, however, an unexpected date comes your way via friends or your own pursuits, I would say go for it, and work that dating muscle. The worst case scenario is that you went out on the town, found a great spot for your next date, and learned more of what truly doesn’t blend well with your personality. The best case scenario is that you are pleasantly surprised, have a fantastic evening, and want to explore it a bit further. However, none of this will happen if you don’t even give it a chance. Also, there is something to be said about being in motion and dating consistently. Think of yourself like an ambitious actor in Hollywood that says YES to every opportunity, including student films; you are always on set and working and prepared for when the big studio opportunity comes your way. (Keep in mind that student films also become smash hits as well!)
3) Make It a Series
In baseball, teams usually meet up for a 3 to 5 game series during the season. Anything can happen at on any given day, so it is a true test of their skill level to play multiple times in a row. Such is dating. So much anticipation feeds that first date, and even if you are an experienced dater, you might have jitters that can cause you to be a little off your game. First dates can become too orchestrated and too mechanical to the point that we are not bringing our true selves to the table. If there is a smidgeon of hope on the first outing, I would give it at least one more shot (if not two) to allow your natural energies to flow more easily.
4) GET OUT!
Mr. or Miss Right is not going to fall into your lap. You have to get yourself together, look sharp, and get out there and share your beautiful self with the rest of the world on a consistent basis. Last time I checked, there are no single people hanging out in your closet. Make a list of the 50 things that bring you joy (where others are present) and go out there and do them. We are our most attractive selves when we are doing what we love, but this is useless from a dating perspective if only shared within the comfort of your apartment with your miniature schnauzer. Make that list and set a goal to get out ONCE A WEEK. I don’t care if you hit up a gallery opening, do a half day hike, take the schnauzer to the dog park, or attend a formal cocktail party; just GET OUT!
5) SELF CARE
This should be the first on every dating list. When I work with clients, the first thing we focus on before talking about attracting, dating, or committing, is the status of your own self care. If you are not caring for yourself and falling into a healthy relationship with yourself everyday, how are you going to attract a healthy person into your life? The big question is to ask is, “Would you date you?” If there are a couple things you want to work on, then work on them. You might even want to take a dating hiatus the first 3 months of the year to ensure you are in a place to share your most balanced, self-loving, and radiant self; all before embarking on that anticipated first date. Important to note, however, said hiatus does not mean for you to hold up in your room for 3 months…keep doing those things you love and keep venturing out; other opportunities always pop up unexpectedly, romantic or not.
Now, take up that aforementioned list of requirements right now, rip it up, and be open and available to what comes your way this year. If you keep that fishing net tight, small, and in shallow waters, be prepared for slim pickings and quiet nights. However, he or she who casts the largest net has a bounty to choose from, and increases the odds of finding the one that is the prize of them all…especially when that prize fish looks nothing like the “targeted” catch.
Seize the date,
“You know…you are not getting any younger and when you have kids, you will want all your youthful energy. It might be time to settle down.”
“Why won’t he just ask you? It has been over a year, you know.”
“Maybe you should move back home. I am sure we can set you up with a special someone.”
“So when is the big day when I can officially say I am a grandparent?”
These are just some of the fine questions you might be getting this holiday season. Aunts, uncles, moms & dads (ok, maybe not dads), cousins, family friends, old high school pals…they will all inevitably feel that they have been sent by the Marital & Family Fairy (MF2) to guide you out of your torturous single life (which you might be very well enjoying) and gently push your novice wings to the glorious kingdom of holy matrimony and child bearing.
It is mostly out of love, and a feeling that because of their experience, they truly know what is best for you. God forbid an investment into the single/dating life should be part of any equation that will lead to your happiness. One cannot be complete without marriage and family, right?
Let me say right now that this is not an article about glorifying singledom or bashing the marriage/family life like it is solitary confinement at San Quinton. Rather, this article is about RUNNING YOUR OWN RACE.
During these holidays you might have every person who has ever laced on the relationship Nike’s feel the need to give you advice on your own pace and progress in your marathon to partnership. However, they may be looking at it like 400 meter dash since, in their experience, they knew from the first date that he/she was the one. Perhaps they married their high school sweetheart or struck gold on match.com on the first outing. Maybe they’re just miserable and don’t want to be there all alone. Whatever it may be, it is THEIR RACE, NOT YOURS.
The most important thing to remember is that YOU are taking care of you. You hopefully have a game-plan and a vision for your life and taking the necessary steps to manifest all that you desire. You are getting out of your way, staying in the moment, and knowing that each day you are embracing every opportunity this universe gives you to run your own race.
However, we can easily get off track when we start to compare our pace & progress to other runners. Trust me when I say this, NOTHING GOOD WILL EVER COME OUT OF COMPARING YOURSELF TO THEM. NOTHING. Furthermore, if you feel good in your game-plan, then nothing good will come from accepting the bombardment of advice/criticism you will hear when you go home. Reframe all that chitter chatter as just that…chitter chatter, and reaffirm that you are in good hands…your own.
If you are feeling that maybe your pace is off and are in need of a trainer of sorts, then absolutely make that a goal for 2012. Link up with a life coach, therapist, marital counselor, spiritual director, your best friend…whomever, and develop a game plan that works for you and your life goals. However, that is a process and journey you take with your trainer and/or your partner. This is not a group effort brought to you by the fine members of your adoring family and high school friends.
Remember…a marathon is 26.2 miles and demands preparation, a good mindset, and a consistent pace. So keep your pace, keep moving those feet, and don’t forget to enjoy each and every step of the way. Don’t worry about that finish line. It will take care of itself as long as you stay focused on the moment. You know my favorite mantra: The slower you go, the faster you will get there.
Happy Holidays and happy running (or should I say, pacing).
Seize the date,