Dating Might Be Broken, But You’re Not: 3 Ways to Find More Peace with the Dating Process
“Dating is hard.”
“Online dating is inauthentic.”
“Men aren’t even trying. They are lazy jerks.”
“Women are playing games. Bitches be trippin’!”
In the past, before online dating, a single, professional man or woman would be lucky to meet one potential suitor a month. And that would be considered a good month!
But now, with online dating, that has multiplied by the thousands! Swipe left or swipe right. Too short? Swipe left, and immediately another option pops up.
Attractive? Swipe right. Too religious? Swipe left.
Let’s face it, in our world today the landscape of dating has dramatically changed.
“Hit it and quit it!” It’s one of the dating cries of Generation-Z, also known as iGeneration or iGen and Post-Millennials. The people born between 2000 to the present.
Having gotten this far into this essay means you have put forth much more effort into reading this than many people these days put into wooing their latest sexual partner.
One young man bragged that he could get a girl to come over and have sex with him within 10 minutes without even using words. When asked how, he replied, “emoji’s”.
And it worked.
Why would anyone want to foray into this territory?
I am not a millennial, at all. I’m 51, so according to the Population Reference Bureau that makes me a Generation X-er. But after 20+ years as a relationship expert and psychotherapist in private practice, and 5 years dating myself, I have become incredibly passionate about doing this dating thing differently.
It’s time for a Dating Evolution! We can be better than this.
I am also raising two post-millennials, a daughter (14) and a son (16), and I don’t want them to end up as a statistic themselves. Whether that’s in the 50% of all couples divorced camp or the 1/5 of every married person who feels trapped or like they married the wrong person camp.
Many people have never been taught how to date. I know I wasn’t. I was taught to make sure the guy had a good evening. I was taught that my worth and value depended on whether or not the guy liked me, not on whether I enjoyed him or that it was reciprocal. It was much like how a job interview would go for a person desperate for a paycheck.
Here are three key steps to finding more success with the whole dating process in our world today no matter your age:
1.Accept 100 % responsibility for your own happiness. This means no blaming your ex, your parents (even when they propagated this mentality, albeit mostly unconsciously), your gene pool, community, teachers, coaches, mentors, government, global warming, income, boss, social media, traffic, gluten, etc. You get the point. Once we take complete responsibility for our own happiness, we experience invigorating freedom, and conversely, the sobering awareness that no one else can make us happy. It’s actually always been up to each one of us.
2. Clarify your own values, interests, and desires. In order to be authentic with another person, you must first be authentic with yourself. I suggest to anyone who is in the age range of 18-30 that they say “yes” to as many opportunities, experiences, foods, events, concepts and ideas as one possibly can. Clinging to your tribe might be comfortable and familiar on the front end but may limit your joy quotient on the back end. This is when we should spend the majority of our time developing our identity and discovering our strengths, interests, and values as well as our growing edges, fears, and dislikes. Our personality will beget our personal-reality. If you don’t like your personal reality, I guarantee you, changing aspects of your personality is always the first place to start to get different results in your personal reality.
If you find yourself coming out of a relationship, marriage, partnership or situation that usurped a lot of those years when you could have been investing in discovering yourself, I highly recommend you dedicate some conscious effort, energy and resources into yourself now making up for lost time before ever investing in another relationship. The dividends you will reap will be worth every bit of effort you expend on yourself.
3. Understand the difference between Real Love and Imitation Love. Our culture spends a lot of time selling us Imitation Love as Real Love via movies, music, books and TV shows. We are so inured to this that we often miss the important distinction between the two.
Real love is caring more about the happiness of the other person than how that person makes you feel.
Imitation Love is caring more about how the other person makes you feel.
We often trade praise, power, pleasure and safety as forms of imitation love when we don’t have enough real love in our lives.
We often don’t know how to let someone know the real us, the one with flaws, faults, insecurities, and fears so we pretend we’re something else, thereby ensuring we might not get rejected but also ensuring that we never get loved for who we really are.
This allows us the illusion that we are loved, at least for a while, but ultimately, we all desperately want to be really loved, flaws and all, and that can’t happen if we don’t ever reveal who we really are.
It’s high time to repair and improve the broken dating process! Practice these three steps to begin to allow more peace and experience more success with dating, no matter your age.