Its strange that three words can exist in the same sentence: Survival. Dating. Online.
Yet, in today’s world, somehow those three concepts have found a unique relationship with each other. Whether you’re new to online dating or a seasoned pro, you know that it is not for the weak of heart. It takes guts to put yourself out there for the world to see.
Without confidence, self-esteem, and courage, it can be a blow to the ego at times. How do you survive in the trenches? There are three simple tips to help keep your confidence high, and your heart and mind open.
Know what you want (and TRUST that its out there).
Do you want a committed relationship? Or are you just looking for something casual? Be clear and have courage to write this in your online profile. Let your dates know as well. This will help guide the relationship in the right direction, and weed out partners who have different relationship intentions. While we can always be surprised by love finding us when and where we least expect it, its fair to be clear with yourself and your dates about your relationship intentions.
Don’t know what you want? That’s ok too! If you’re fresh out of a marriage or a relationship, you may just need some time and some experience with dating to get clear. Let clarity, exploration, and openness be your intentions when dating. It can be fun to explore new partners and experiences that you didn’t have in your previous relationships.
Know who you want (and TRUST that they are out there).
Who is your ideal partner? Its important to have some internal guidance on who it is that will knock you off your feet. However, remember to keep some balance between having some general guidelines you’re looking for, and being too picky. Being too picky can often lead to missed opportunities for love.
An easy way to strike that balance is to make two lists of qualities you want and don’t want in a partner- your top 5 “must haves” and your top 5 “deal breakers”. While these qualities may change for a good reason, they should remain relatively stable, especially with deal breakers.
Know you and how you relate to others.
Be a student of two things: yourself, and relationships. We live in the information age. Read books, listen to podcasts, articles, attend therapy, coaching, personal growth events. You can never know yourself or relationships enough.
Relationships are our greatest source of pain, and our greatest source of joy. You should know as much as possible before going into something that can have so much influence on your life. Knowledge is power. It will help you feel confident, aware, and prepared.
If you lack self-awareness, you will struggle in your relationships. Its that simple.
And remember, growth doesn’t happen after one book and then it stops. You must commit to this growth now and when you find that relationship. Our circumstances and our experiences are in constant flux, so increasing self-awareness should be an ever-present goal. Know your strengths, your vulnerabilities, your desires, and your fears. The better acquainted you are with yourself, the more success you can have with relationships.
Stay detached from the outcome.
Date for the sake of dating. Slow down, and try not to jump to fantasies of the future with someone right in the beginning. While its ok to wonder, and to ask the question “could I spend the rest of my life with this person?”, it can be helpful to remain present. Focus on how this person feels to you now. Staying attached to an outcome of a future together can lead to pressure, expectation, and possibly more disappointment and heartbreak later on.
What do you want to express or experience on your date? Curiosity, playfulness, flirtation, vulnerability, authenticity? Trying to stay present focused can be helpful, especially if you tend to be more anxious about the future, and finding “the One”. Slow down and have some fun.
Remember that each person you meet is in your life for a reason, as season, or a purpose. You may not know that reason until later, so try to stay open to all of the possibilities. Know what you want, who you want, and then let the rest happen.