Your ability to stay aligned with your goal of a healthy relationship is bound to be put to the test as you navigate the highs and lows of dating. There are times when you may feel the urge to give up, crawl up on your sofa, and never date again. You could feel rejected and let down when someone you like doesn’t feel the same. You will also feel the adrenaline pumping when you meet someone new, and actually hit it off. In a nutshell, dating will test your capacity to stay present, be confident, handle anxiety, be vulnerable, and be patient.
Knowing deep down you want love and companionship, but feeling burnt out by what it takes to attain your dating goals, commonly presents an internal conflict for most single individuals. When in doubt about what to do, remind yourself you don’t have to make any major, rigid or permanent decisions on whether to give up on dating, and acknowledge that it’s natural to feel confusion and impatience when things aren’t clicking in the ways you had hoped.
If you are going to make the commitment to put yourself out there, it is important to approach your love life with a healthy and reality-based mindset and not give up prematurely. It’s about tweaking beliefs and behaviors that may interfere with dating. It’s also essential to grasp what it really means and what it ultimately takes to create the relationship of your dreams.
Below are 15 signs you are approaching dating with a healthy mindset and acting in ways that promote connection.
1. You allow yourself to take breaks from dating when necessary, but don’t give up on your relationship goals. This means having control of your impulses, and refusing to give in to urges to quit online dating after a few bad dates.
2. You do more than simply show up for dates. You engage, share, contribute, try and be present. I like to tell my clients they can go on 100 dates, but if they are not present, open and emotionally available, forming a connection will be nearly impossible.
3. You give potential partners a true chance. This may mean you go on multiple dates with the same person (even when the first date wasn’t a perfect 10) and you give yourself time to figure out how you feel about someone by taking the opportunity to get to know them better. Remind yourself you don’t have to rush to decisions.
4. You take emotional risks and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Believing being vulnerable is weak is a problematic perception. In fact, love, connection and intimacy are all based on vulnerability. Bonus: you understand that being vulnerable does not mean oversharing or moving too quickly. It is about developing trust over time.
5. You believe in authenticity. You don’t hide who you are, disown the qualities you aren’t proud of, or change who you are based on someone else’s wishes.
6. You work on yourself and participate in self-discovery and reflection. You remain open to learning about yourself as you date. You reflect on what’s working well for you and what needs improvement without shaming or judging yourself. You are willing to learn from your hardships and miserable dating experiences.
7. You are clear on the type of partner you hope to attract and the kind of relationship you aim to create. While you are open-minded about your dating life, you have a strong sense of your desires and goals.
8. You heal dysfunctional patterns and old relationship wounds so you don’t repeat them. You own it and let go of blaming others for your own life circumstances. Also, you are willing to say goodbye to and end relationships with toxic people.
9. You believe in love. While you may be persuaded otherwise, if you want love, you must believe it exists.
10. You focus on feeling deserving of love even when your mind tries to convince you otherwise. If you can’t think of ten things you have to offer to a partner, start a list right now and let it grow as you reflect on your strengths, accomplishments, personality traits and values. Long story short — be confident and believe in your worthiness.
11. You ditch protective behaviors, such as playing games or drinking too much on dates. When you like someone, you go for it even though it’s scary and anxiety-producing.
12. You understand dating is more than just picking the next person to ask out or profile to message. It’s about intention and deliberate action that is in line with what you are looking for.
13. You put your happiness in your own hands. You give your power away when you wait for someone else to bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. Always validate yourself, create the life you want in this moment, and treat yourself with kindness regardless of your relationship status!
14. You try multiple dating methods to see what works best for your personality and relationship goals, as well as meet a wide range of like-minded singles.
15. You understand love is a choice and an action (not just a feeling). It is something that grows and shifts through continued efforts and nurturance.
By using the fifteen points above as an assessment tool for how you are currently approaching dating, you can ensure you are tackling your dating life with thoughts and behaviors aligned with love.
About the Author:
Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Nationally Certified Counselor and relationship coach, specializing in psychotherapy for individuals and couples via her private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Rachel’s areas of expertise include relationships, self-esteem, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and stress management. Rachel is a co-author to Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life, an International Bestseller, written to support single women in decreasing frustration about single-hood, leaving the past behind, cultivating self-love and forming and maintaining loving relationships. Rachel also serves as a Relationship Expert for http://www.datingadvice.com/ and other dating and relationship advice websites. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!