Making Sense of the Dating Process

By
Jackie Black, Ph.D.

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 s/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/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.

“I”-Message
Feedback

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!

Dr Jackie Black Newsletter


Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com