THE DATING GAME…
I so hate to use the word “game” when it comes to something so important as dating, but it kinda sorta is, right? It just shouldn’t be considered a game, is all I am trying to say, but nonetheless one has to be very strategic when it comes to dating, especially if you are looking for a long term committed relationship. My trigger for this blog post came about as I spoke with a particular client during a recent session and watching the Netflick movie, “Act like A Lady Think: Like a Man ”, based on a book by Steve Harvey. This book is well over ten years old, but it is, and always will be relevant to every generation. My client population varies from twenty somethings to forty somethings, and everything in between. Although, their dating needs may be different, dating still however, remains the same. While a twenty something may be looking for a short or long term relationship, the other age groups are usually interested in a committed/long term relationship, leading to marriage.
The premise and concept of the book from my perspective is having, setting and implementing boundaries while dating. This is the part where most of my clients come in, no one really has boundaries set up around dating. I would need to also say that many have problems around setting boundaries in general, which is not surprising to me. Boundaries are difficult in regular life, much less when it comes to dating. When you like someone your guard tends to drop and boundaries are usually the last things on your mind. But they are so absolutely necessary and vital, especially if you have been making the same dating mistakes (according to you) over and over again. Now I am very aware that you already know the definition of insanity, so no need to waste time there. The bottom line is that you will have to do some things differently, if you expect different results.
It’s amazing that so many individuals, because they have been talking to someone for a week or so, often feel “comfortable” as if they have known the other person for years. Under any other circumstance that person would be deemed a “stranger”, but when it comes to dating there is a notion that they know each other and pretty much anything goes. This is where a boundary can be necessary and can be set in place. The honest truth of the matter is that, you do not know the other person and yes, you are indeed strangers. If dating is about gathering information, how much information can anyone really gather in a few hours of conversation, and more importantly how does one know if any of the information gathered is really true? Anyone can say anything to get what they want from the other person.
When a person continues to make the same mistakes in dating and continuously beats themselves up about “knowing better” and why did I do this, that and the third, I know that this person is hoping for a different result while doing the same exact things that has not worked in the past, but by some miraculous intervention, they hope that it will work out differently with this new individual now. Boundaries are absolutely necessary for an individual like this. The one thing I know for sure, is that nothing will change, unless you change. I literally tell my clients this “the ball is always in your court”, you just have to know how to serve it.
I’ll never forget what a man in his late twenties told me a couple of years ago, when I asked him about one night stands. He said that he likes women who hold firm in their beliefs. He has a lot of respect for the women that he meets, that under no circumstance will give it up on the first date, but he would not take a woman seriously as a potential long term partner, if she gave it up on their first date, even if he really liked her. This is just one man’s perspective, and should not be considered the norm by any standards, but I know lots of women who literally beat themselves up if this happens and often enough, they are ghosted afterwards.
It’s not my place to tell anyone what they should or should not do, but what I can say is that if you are making the same mistakes in your dating life or in your life in general, something has to change. You will have to take a step back and reassess the situation. You may need to tweak something here or there, but ultimately something will have to change in order for things to work out in a different way. Often it takes a small amount of tweaking to do just that. However, once you have made the adjustments you will have to stand by it and follow through in order for it to work, consistency is the key. Make boundaries, stick to and follow through with your boundaries and see what happens. It can’t hurt.
To your healthy relationships…