For as long as I could remember, I couldn’t wait to get out of the ‘dating game’.
I would hide behind my phone, feeling lonely, numbing out with social media and blaming Tinder for why I couldn’t meet the right kinds of men.
I was wanting deeper connection, and yet meeting men in this way turned dating into a superficial shopping experience.
When friends and family would ask me if I was seeing someone, I would become frustrated and upset. Dating felt like hard work, as if I was constantly being interviewed to see if I was good enough.
Because while they all seemed loved up and ready to settle down, I was still wondering what was wrong with me. Why didn’t I have that yet?
And although I knew that logically there was nothing wrong with who I was, my reason for dating became a way to avoid being alone. Which meant I became accustomed to performing a particular role in order to get love, and was attracting men who could not offer me what I deeply desired.
Because the only intention I had before going on a date was to avoid being alone (my thoughts centring on my checklist, and him possibly being ‘the one’), dating became a time filler. So that when people would ask me if I was seeing someone, I had a story to tell. I could show them I was ‘trying’ to meet someone.
Because after all, dating was hard work.
Dating was a game, and you had to be in it to win it, right?
When we take action from a place to avoid being somewhere else, we delay the opportunity to grow.
The heartbreak and rejection I was avoiding would only be delayed until the following week, or the following month, when I had no choice but to accept that the relationship was going nowhere.
I realised I needed to make some significant shifts in the way I was approaching and thinking about dating, and start embodyingwhat it was that I wanted. So this is what I did:
I focussed on changing the story.
The small nuances in the way we talk about dating influences the way we think about it, and therefore, the actions we take.
Believing that dating is a ‘game’, will only attract people who play games.
Feeling as if what you deeply desire in a relationship is not possible, or is not possible for you, will only present you with men who tell you this directly, or cause you to feel this way unconsciously.
I was telling myself stories about what a successful good relationship ‘should’ look like, what love is supposed to feel like.
But when I realised that only I get to decide this, it took all the pressure off.
Each person I met showed me what I did and didn’t want in a partner and dating became a way of discovering new parts of who I was, and what I wanted.
And when I opened myself up to alternative models of relating, rather than trying to fit into a externally defined model of relationship that didn’t feel good to me, I went deeper and deeper, and edged closer and closer to what it was that I truly desired.
I started feeling and observing what my body was showing me.
Things really started to shift when I began to pay attention to how my body responded to men when I was on dates.
At first, my main focus was on the presence or lack of sexual charge. If there wasn’t a strong ‘spark’ between us, I dismissed them.
But what I often mistook for sexual charge was in fact, anxiety caused by their inconsistent affection and communication with me. Hanging off their every message or touch would have me gagging for them, and it took me a long time to realise that THIS IS NOT LOVE.
When I also began to tune in and really feel the heartbreak and pain at being alone, at attracting yet ANOTHER man who was unavailable, it became a reminder to come home to myself.
To come back to the love that I already was, rather that searching for it outside of myself.
I got crystal clear on what I wanted in a relationship.
Another problem I encountered when I first started dating is that I thought I knew what I wanted.
I had a mental checklist of qualities which I would look for, and I would tune out all the other signs that they may not be good for me.
And if I couldn’t see or notice a particular quality that was on my list, I would either 1) dismiss them, 2) convince myself that it wasn’t important, or 3) construct the quality in my imagination.
But it wasn’t enough to just know what I wanted – I needed to change the story that it was possible, and embody that I deserved this.
I created, confirmed and embodied my intention.
When I was going on multiple dates a week, squeezing them in between my 9-5 work day and attempting to do all the other normal adulting things, I couldn’t be fully present with the person in front of me.
I was so focussed on how they measured up to my mental checklist that I didn’t feel or see who they were.
It is always gamble whether we will be a good match for the other person. But if I could show up as myself, in love, presence and appreciation for this person who was also taking time to meet and get to know me, I decided that was enough.
Intention really is everything when it comes to dating. To all of you rocking it as a single gal (or guy) out there, who secretly or overtly desires to be in partnership,I SEE YOU.
It takes courage to step into the unknown and be yourself in a world which tells you, over and over again, that you need to be a certain way to be successful in love, and in life.
Whether you’re just getting out there again, have been dating for a while, know exactly what you want in a relationship or are still working it out, remember that there are no ‘dating rules’ anymore. You are in the driver’s seat, and YOU get to decide what success or failure is when it comes to relationships.
If you’re single and wanting support with attracting your soulmate and tips for creating deeply intimate, passionate and blissful relationships, join my Sensual Sovereign and Single Facebook Community. Every week I pop in to share frank, authentic and vulnerable stories from my own life, as well as practical advice for navigating the world of modern dating. Look forward to seeing you in there!