Dating can be difficult for a myriad of reasons. As a relationship coach, and as someone who was married, divorced, dated as a single woman, dated as a divorcee, and as a single parent, dating was one of my least favorite things to do.
Often, I would purposefully sabotage my relationships out the gate. I would find ways to discredit and disown any feelings I may have or develop for someone by immediately focusing on what was wrong with them versus paying attention to what was right. And also ignoring what I needed to do to improve who I was as a person.
It was my protective shield and self-defense mechanism so I wouldn’t get hurt again.
Then I had an epiphany. I did want to have someone in my life who loved me unconditionally and who I could love in the same vein. It was a challenge for my heart and my mind. It was one in which my mind often won, but would lead to me not connecting emotionally with viable partners.
But, in matters of the heart, the heart usually wins. Here’s what I figured out and what I think will help you too when you are dating and feel like giving up.
How to make dating less challenging
1. Learn to love who you are regardless of whether you feel like you are not enough.
Who you attract into your life is a mirror of how you value and feel about yourself. If you aren’t healing your emotional issues, or wounds, and you aren’t growing and learning from your relationships, your dating life will be stagnant. You will attract men and women who are as broken as you are and the result will be unhappy, painful, and dysfunctional relationships.
The caveat here is that no one of us is completely perfect, but relationship success hinges on you bringing your best self forward.
2. Be clear on your deal breakers.
Maturity and relationship experience has its advantages. The more you date, the more you know what you will and won’t deal with when it comes to another person.
For example, are you a neat freak and have no tolerance for someone who is the opposite? Do you want kids and you know that is a part of your future?
Here’s another small, but a big one. How does spirituality weigh into your life? Are you a Sunday regular churchgoing person and is it essential that you and your partner share the same religious views? Do you value monogamy or an open relationship? If these beliefs and expectations are part of your value system and day-to-day lifestyle, it is imperative that you choose a mate who is like-minded.
Pay close attention to your deal breakers. Yes, opposites attract initially, but like-minded people have a better chance of having a long-term relationship. Look for someone who is complementary to you, not completely opposite. Sharing the same beliefs, values, and interests can lead to a more stable and long-lasting relationship.
3. Learn from your past relationships.
Each relationship, good and bad, has a lesson in it for you. Whether your past relationships lasted one day or several years, each partner teaches you something about who you are, what you like, what you don’t want, and probably something you were unaware of about yourself.
As I have learned and you probably have or will learn, being with oneself can be pleasant and enjoyable, but having another person in your life exposes all of you who you are for better or worse. It’s like holding up a mirror where another person is fully seeing each and every aspect of who you are as a person. This can be a difficult and evolving process.
Take feedback from current and past partners, spouses, and significant others as a gift to improve who you are and grow as a person. This way, when the right person comes along, it makes that relationship that much better.
Dating is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By starting out with these three steps, you can help make your path of finding love easier.