Dating is a process with a beginning, a middle and an end. Very importantly, the process is different depending on why you are dating.
If you are Dating to Find Your Ideal Partner, be crystal clear about it; the more you know what you want the more likely you will be successful finding your ideal partner.
If you are Dating For Friendship or to Create Social Opportunities take the time to find the right words to let the men or women you are dating know that is why you are dating; be clear about not being ready for a committed relationship.
Be a good observer of your feelings and behavior. Be willing to let the people you date experience you, in the places in which you are the most comfortable doing the things that you most love to do.
Stop Dead-end Dating
If your goal is to find your ideal partner, then stop dating the person you are dating as soon as you recognize that she or he is not your ideal match; don’t keep dating just because it is convenient. Approach dating as a process of discovery, realizing that the end of the process is discovering your ideal match; it will save you lots of wear and tear on your emotions.
Identifying Your Ideal Match
We create our life and our love life through our beliefs, intentions and the actions we take in the world. Vision, Needs/Values, Life Purpose and Mission are the four corners, the foundational pieces of each person’s inner life.
Self Knowledge & Partner Knowledge
The more you know what you want in your life, the more successful you will be, so create an image of your life with your ideal partner that includes anything and everything you ever wanted, using as many rich details as you can.
Become an expert on BOTH you and your ideal partner by identifying major life areas that are important to you both, and then imagine how you might like your ideal match to express herself or himself in each area.
Bring a fresh curiosity to each new person you meet. Hear, see, and react to him or her; and not to an old image of a previous experience. Appreciate yourself for your courage and trust that your efforts will be richly rewarded.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Most of us know how to speak. Many of us have never learned how to communicate.
To communicate clearly and effectively you must understand there are two sides to every communication – the one who sends the communication and the one who receives it. Likewise, there are two methods of communication – verbal and non-verbal communication. Just because you may not be speaking, doesn’t mean you are not saying something.
Speaking from the “I” position is very useful for helping you assertively and accurately express what is going on inside you and express scary or negative feelings or thoughts to someone else.
An “I’ message has three parts: a feeling or a request; a factual description of the situation or event; and the impact, effect or result it has/had on you.
Listening With More Than Your Ears
Most of us know how to hear. Many of us have never learned how to listen.
Effective listening is the ability to receive, attend to, interpret and respond appropriately to the purpose of the sender. Pay attention to what isn’t said—to feelings, facial expressions, gestures, posture and other nonverbal cues. Listen to the facial expression and body language as well as the words.
Respond with verbal and nonverbal cues that let the person who is speaking know—actually prove—that the listener is listening and understanding. The sender wants to be understood! Make eye contact, settle down, breathe deeply to ground yourself and become a receiver of information, thoughts and feelings being expressed by the sender.
Let go of your own agenda, opinions, advice and judgments while you are listening. Ask clarifying questions when things aren’t clear. Invite the sender to say more. Offer your understanding when you really “get it” by nodding, mirroring or reflecting back what you heard or understood, asking a relevant question or gesturing in some subtle way that you get it!
Setting Boundaries, Making Commitments and Crafting Elegant Agreements
These are three essential life skills and absolute requirements of a loving, lasting relationship.
Setting personal boundaries requires that you have knowledge about your needs, values, attitudes, beliefs, likes, dislikes and preferences. As you choose to set and maintain your boundaries, do so with intention and with deliberate words and actions.
Making and keeping agreements and commitments comprise fundamental ingredients of any relationship. Not honoring the agreements or commitments you make with people is a betrayal of your relationship with that person.
Crafting elegant agreements is a process that includes three essential keys: (1) know who you are and what you need, want, value and believe; (2) become willing and able to honor who you are and ask for what you want; and, (3) find your courage and accurately articulate all that to another person.
Stop Criticizing: Start Complaining and Making Requests
Complaining is a healthy way to convey your grievances and objections when your desires and needs go unmet. Request a change after you have aired your complaint.
Giving Up and Giving In
“Giving up” and “Giving in” are signs that you feel powerless and undeserving. Settling for less is often the result of not recognizing that your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, needs and wants are legitimate. When appropriate, use compromise as a middle way between two extremes. Compromising and negotiating can only occur when you honor and respect your thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, needs and wants, hopes and dreams and deem them legitimate.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
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Dr. Jackie’s Relationship-focused Podcast