When you are transitioning from one relationship to another or from the single life to a deeper relationship life, you are choosing to make a big change in your life.

Change is Difficult
We have inertia that tends to keep us doing things the same way we have done them in the past. Some of these ingrained practices have served us well. For example – getting up and getting to work on time.  Much of what we habitually do is of little consequence, the brand of shoes we prefer, what we put on a hamburger, etc. Unfortunately, there are also some regular occurrences in our lives that fit into that old definition of insanity of “doing the same thing and expecting different results.”  Whether good, bad, or neutral our recurring practices keep moving forward unless some force shifts their direction.  It’s as simple as Newtonian physics.

page_001Change Happens
Starting to date changes your life. You will be doing things that you didn’t do before. It feels strange, maybe even scary. Yet, you are doing it.  Give yourself a big pat on the back for overcoming inertia.

Change Leads to More Change
Your life is not just a bunch of unrelated practices.  Everything you do is related to the other things you do. For example, if you didn’t regularly get to work on time you wouldn’t be able to buy that hamburger while wearing your favorite shoes.

 A simplified representation of your naturally complicated life     
Think of yourself as one big hanging mobile of the things you are. mobileIf you move one piece, others move. If you make one heavier, you permanently shift others. No change is isolated from the others.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”    Alan Watts

Embrace Change
By choosing to date you’ve decided to make a big change to rearrange your life.  Realize that this will change many other things in your life.  Don’t give up control of those other changes.  Imagine how you want your mobile to look, and start tinkering with other pieces of your life until it looks better to you.

It’s a grand opportunity for reinvention.

Here’s a link to an article about personal change in Psychology Today that we think you might enjoy.

And a link to Wonderland Studio on Etsy who offer the mobile above and others. No connection to us – we just thought that they make nice things.

cool_pictures_of_love_heartsLOVE
Many would say we most want love in our close relationships.  We can’t argue with that.  The problem with looking for love is that love is so hard to define. What does it look like? How do you know you’ve got it?  How do you know when you are giving it?  Love is complicated, multi-faceted, and really hard to nail down.

Because love is so amorphous you may want to start any evaluation of your relationships with something more easily recognized even though it may be somewhat less important.

RESPECT
Respect is easier to identify. Most people don’t have a hard time coming up with clear examples of respectful behaviors. Listening attentively to someone. Trying to understand and consider another person’s needs.  Showing up on time.  And numerous others.  Some say respect is the fundamental attribute of love.  How can you love someone if you don’t respect them?

The essence of respect in a relationship is recognizing that another person is important and honoring that.  Each of us believes deeply that our own life is important, and it feels wonderful when someone else shares the recognition of our importance.

Act With Respect
In a relationship respect is shown through action.  To respect someone is act appropriately, to treat them with respect. If you believe you respect someone, but you don’t show it in your behavior, we would argue that what you have is not respect at all. Show respect when you are dating.  If you date doesn’t want respect, that’s a little spooky.

Expect RespectRespectful
You deserve it. It will be powerful positive force in your relationship. Look for respectful behavior when you are dating.

Respect Yourself
In some ways this can be the hardest part. Many of us have not yet learned to fully respect ourselves for one reason or another.  We wish there was an easy answer to this challenge, but there probably isn’t. Work at it. Own your self-respect when you are dating and in every other aspect of your life.  Your life is important, honor it.

Aretha Franklin knew what she was singing about. Listen to Aretha sing it!

Her smile!

That’s a powerful truth.

“Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.”     John Ray  1627-1705

And if you think a man’s smile doesn’t work for women, you haven’t been paying attention.

Smiling also makes you feel better. Check out this TED talk on the hidden power of smiling.

smile
Everyone has a smile.  Use yours to your advantage.

 

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”      Mother Teresa

Dating for the purpose of finding a long-term partner is challenging. There are many reasons for this.

One significant reason is that when we date we know we are being evaluated at the same time we are evaluating our date. That’s like selling and shopping at the same time. That’s a confusing situation.

When we know we are being evaluated, we tend to let that influence our behavior. We get nervous and tend to put on a bit of a show. We know that pretending to be someone we aren’t ultimately fails, but it’s tempting to try to please our date.  We want to be liked and desired.

Our suggestion: Just be yourself!

Be-yourself-5

Because it’s easier!

You’ve been being you all your life, and you’ve got the role down pat. Put your best foot forward, but just be you.  If your date doesn’t like you when you are just being you, what good things could you possibly expect from a long term relationship with this person?   (Warning: This doesn’t mean you must expose your date to your quirkiest traits on your first date.)

And it allows you to do what you need to be doing, shopping.

If you are paying too much attention to putting on a show for your date, you can’t pay attention to learning about your date.  It’s hard to figure people out, but it sure doesn’t get easier by not paying attention. Hopefully, your date shares this wisdom. You should have your attention focused on your date, and your date should be focused on you.

So, turn down the marketing effort, and let your product sell itself. Turn your attention to being a careful and discriminating shopper.  Listen, observe, and then listen more carefully.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”   Ernest Hemingway

Active-Listening-3

Dating (even in our teens or young adult years) can be fraught with angst and confusion.

How do I get started?

So, here you are wondering if there is a map of this territory or even basic rules of the road. Most of us have had similar thoughts when we found ourselves at this crossroads. But, you don’t have to drive off blindly, there are maps that have been drawn from the experiences of others who have gone down these roads before you.

Road Maps

Success-Map

Be assured there are maps.   We are here to help with your maps, but before you can employ the maps you need to provide the most important things for your trip:

  1. Your starting place, in other words, who are you?  (Not an easy question nor a simple answer)
  2. Your destination, or what kind of relationship(s) you are seeking?  (again, challenging)
  3. Your baggage, some of which you love (kids, pets, home, job, etc) and some of which you just just have to lug around (kids, pets, home, job, …. no, just kidding)
  4. Your resources, all those great things about yourself that you have to offer.  (most have more to offer than they think)

Bon voyage!

Wanna get lucky?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”   Seneca

get lucky

When we want something we tend to want it as soon as possible.  Maybe we want to skip the preparation and move right on to the opportunity. When you start dating, preparation is very helpful.

Sometimes the best place to start with preparation is simply to clarify the goal. Ask yourself one simple question and take the time to think about it.

What do I want?

Knowing what you want gives you the benefits of having a goal. With a goal you can devise a strategy for accomplishing it. With a goal you can know when you are off track.  With a goal you will know when you have succeeded.

Be forewarned by Yogi Berra – “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

We suggest that the key to answering that question is to start with answering:

What type of relationship am I looking for?  (casual, great friends, partner, spouse, etc)

If you can write a clear paragraph (or at least a good sentence) about the relationship that you believe will work for you at this point in your life and possibly beyond, you are well on your way to getting lucky.

Good luck!