Love is at once fragile, yet indestructible, omnipresent but eternally elusive and mysterious. It cannot be controlled. We all seek to find love, to be in love, to stay in love and be loved. Love defines us, but in order to love and be loved, we need to know ourselves. By practicing self-restraint, self-discipline and self-awareness we can find the inner peace we need to let ourselves love and be loved.
All of this takes time though. To open ourselves to the possibility of love, to let down our guard and patiently allow someone to know us– and to know them– is not something that can happen in an email, text or over a quick drink. And yet, this is how we are now expected to meet our match. Online dating, while widening our world, operates at warp speed, forcing instant decisions and quick interactions. With one swipe of a screen, we vanquish a potential suitor based on nothing more than a photograph, confident in the knowledge that there are a million more waiting. Like a casting agent searching for someone who simply looks the part, we are forced into superficial choices that will not lead to love. At Susan Rose & Associates, we know that while moving fast might feel like the quickest way to reach our goals, slowing down the dating process is the secret to success. Here’s why…
You need to actually get to know the person.
We all focus on the physical. Is she or he hot? Most of us quickly assess, and sometimes judge, the person we’re dating based on our physical attraction– whether we have that kismet energy– without really giving them a fair chance. In many instances, it’s unrealistic to think there will be a magical spark that occurs the minute we meet someone. We’ve been programmed to want (and expect) that jolt of physical attraction right away. But our experience shows that an initial physical and sexual attraction does not necessarily lead to long-term, authentic love. Yes, the world is visual, but the heart and soul are not about what someone looks like.
Unrealistic fantasies turn into disappointments.
We may believe that there is a person right around the corner who will be the “perfect” match. But we may not truly comprehend what our “perfect” match is. When we’re so bent on trying to make someone perfect, we lose the ability to see the nuances of people, their personalities, and those factors that may ultimately matter to us, including their values, emotional maturity and ability to deeply connect.
We need to give ourselves time to process our interactions.
Internet dating can get us what we physically want most of the time. If a “hookup” is what we want, chances are we can probably get it. However, we derive false satisfaction from our online interactions– we feel we’re connected to people whom we often haven’t even spoken to on the phone, let alone actually met in person.
By realizing the importance of slowing things down, we may be able to make better connections and find a better match.
Making it a habit to “under text.”
Texting can make us feel good but it doesn’t replace a more personal interaction. Let’s get to know someone slowly, over time, instead of making fast decisions about our compatibility. People have lives– jobs, kids, hobbies and stuff to do. It isn’t necessarily a sign of lack of interest when a man (or woman) doesn’t instantly reply to your messages. We find that women in the dating world often fear the worst when they don’t hear back from a man within a few hours of their text. But women, that man may simply be busy! Place more emphasis and value on real-time meetings and phone calls instead of texting. A text is ephemeral and disposable. Don’t take it so seriously– and don’t be on call 24/7!
Date one at a time.
We’re not saying you have to be monogamous, but give that person a few dates before more swiping. Our days are filled with screens and media and a vast influx of information. We see so many people spinning around, it’s difficult to focus on the external, much less hear what our hearts and minds are telling us about a particular person. Giving someone your more focused attention may help you clarify your feelings for him or her. It will help you get back to what’s important: a relationship in person, in real time. If this relationship is going to be long term, or for the rest of your life, it can wait a bit.
Try to meet people offline.
When is the last time we thought about meeting someone in real time, at a coffee shop or the gym? This is something most of us never do anymore. Be present offline and enjoy your surroundings. We are all so attached to our phones or screens that we’ve stopped meeting people in real life. Hiding behind our phone is safe, but let’s try looking up, making eye contact, smiling and striking up a conversation. We may actually connect with someone. Offline dating can take more time and energy but it can also connect us with people in our community who may have similar interests.
Hold off making judgements.
Come into a date curious and open to experiencing the person as a whole. Don’t make immediate judgments based on what they are wearing, how they greet us, or what they say. By asking questions and being open, we can more clearly evaluate whether our date has potential.
Think about your long-term goals, but don’t necessarily bring them into the first couple of dates.
It’s best to come into a date having thought about what we want and are looking for. We don’t recommend sharing this information with our dates, but it’s good to be aware of what we are looking for. Let’s stop envisioning the future and try to live in the present.