Be Your Own Personal Dating Guru!

So, you’re ready for a new relationship. The fantasies of falling in love again flood through your mind, and your excitement pulses through your body. You signed up for a dating site, picked out your best photos, and created a killer profile. Suddenly, your lips go from being stretched wider than the Amazon River, to looking more like you just ate a sour gummy worm………

You just realized that in order to meet someone new, you’re going to have to enter the daunting world of dating.

Dating can be rough. When things don’t work out, it’s disappointing. When things don’t work out over and over again, it can wear you down. It can chip away at your motivation to keep putting yourself out there.

However, dating doesn’t have to be traumatic. You can learn to do it efficiently. That means wasting as little time and emotions as possible on someone who is not a good fit.

How do you do this?

1. Trust yourself. This includes trusting your feelings and your gut reactions. Your feelings are your guide, your proof, your inner-dating-guru. They are always valid. Yes, always. You’re not crazy, so the emotions you feel in response to someone come from something real. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If something hurts, it’s probably hurtful.

2. Don’t dismiss yourself. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. We deny what we feel all the time. We explain away other people’s behavior, as if understanding it makes it ok. We try to change what we feel and what we need, in order to match what someone else is willing to give us. And we try to change others so that they meet our needs, even though we feel disappointed when they don’t, over and over again.

3. Sometimes it’s them, not you. You may tend to brush your feelings aside, or chalk them up to your, “baggage,” but you don’t have selective-baggage. By that I mean there’s a reason one person you date makes you anxious, insecure, or gives you a weird vibe, while other people do not. The reason is the other person, not you, and not your baggage. Why not wait for someone with whom you are on the same page from the beginning? Why not expect that your needs can be met, and let go of those who aren’t meeting them? Why not wait for someone who doesn’t evoke anxious, suspicious emotions within you?

4. Know the difference between reality and hope. If you can trust your feelings, you can use them to make informed decisions about whether or not to continue dating someone. If you dismiss your feelings, you make decisions based on what you hope. What you feel comes from real experiences. What you hope, doesn’t currently exist and could never come to fruition. Making dating choices based on reality can be very difficult because hope paints alluring, beautiful fantasies in our minds of the futures we want so badly. Nonetheless, making dating choices based on hope is a step toward unnecessary dating-trauma. It’s important to stay with what you feel now, not what you could feel at a later date in time.

5. Take the best risks. You may think that trusting your feelings is a big risk. You may worry that in doing so, you’ll decide not to continue seeing someone, and you’ll miss out on something great. I ask you to wonder what would happen if your feelings are right. What if there is someone out there with whom you feel at peace, confident, and happy, rather than confused, anxious, and insecure? It’s more likely that you will find that person, than it is that you will change someone into that person.

People tell us who they are very early on when we meet them, sometimes verbally, and sometimes through their behavior. Listen to them. Pay attention. Then, pay attention to yourself. Listen to your inner voice. We feel our emotions in our bodies. Go into your body and invite your emotions in. Your brain can’t always make sense of what you feel. You won’t always know with certainty what’s going on with someone or with yourself. But, you’ll always know what you feel, if you pay attention. And, your feelings will always be there to guide you.

If you’re getting ready to date again, or you’re tired of having bad dating experiences, it’s time to start trusting yourself.

Send your questions to therapy@caitlincantor.com! If you have them, others do too!

The information contained on Caitlin’s Couch, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and any other material thereon, is for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended to (and does not), provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to the reader or to any other individual. The sole purpose of Caitlin’s Couch is to promote discussion, dialogue and awareness of various topics relating to lifestyle and mental health. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on Caitlin’s Couch.

Copyright © Caitlin Cantor 2014

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