Any of you who may be fans of the rock band Cake are likely familiar with the lyrics of a song entitled Love You Madly which state “I don’t want to sit across the table from you wishing I could run”. In my experience, discussions about dating tend to bring about a… well… less than favorable response. The question I pose to the universe is, “Does it really have to be this way? Does dating have to be such a drag?”
I had just turned 34 when I got married and as such, was well acquainted with the trials of dating, not just from the perspective of a bachelor in his 20’s, but of one into his 30’s as well. I often wish I could sit down and do some date coaching with my 20’s self. Since no such time warp is possible, at least not to my knowledge, I will settle for sharing some relationship insights and hope it will be beneficial to any who may feel like they are in a dearth of dating despair.
1. Turn Toward the Process Rather Than Away
Just as in marital therapy, we encourage partners to emotionally turn toward each other in their relationship, in dating it my be of value to turn toward the process of dating. This has a lot to do with where your focus may be. When you arrive home from a date which will likely not have a follow up; do you think, “There goes another wasted night”? Instead, how about looking at any highlights, such as “While I didn’t really feel a connection to him/her, yet they were really attentive and the play we went to was fantastic!”?
2. Though it May Sometimes Get Serious, In General Keep It Light
There tends to be a lot of pressure (imposed by ones self or others) in the dating process resulting from sizing one another up as a potential spouse, even as early as the first date! If it was good enough to turn into a second date, we’re already thinking, “He/she could be THE ONE!” My suggestion is to RELAX. Focus on having fun! Even with the dates that seem a bit on the bizarre side, you’ll still walk away with a really good story, right?
3. When it is Necessary to Let Someone Down, Use The Oreo
Undesirable as it may be, sometimes it becomes necessary to tell someone, “I’m not interested”. I always had a strong aversion to this part, whether on the giving or receiving end. There’s no way to really make this a fun experience, but you can always buffer the delivery by starting and ending with a positive. Start with something about him/or her you liked, and end by expressing your appreciation for the person’s time and willingness to initially go out. Make it specific. “I think you’re great, but…” just doesn’t have the same affect as pointing out a positive attribute of an individual.
Remember, it’s probably not as bad as you think. With the right approach you can keep dating enjoyable (at least most of the time).