If you date men or women long past the point when you are still exploring whether or not she or he is your ideal match, take heart! You are in the vast majority of people around the world. This phenomenon is not regional, generational, or related to education, or socioeconomic circumstances.
Being willing or able to recognize that someone is a good match or not a good match for you, and stop dating him or her, seems to be a universal dilemma.
Let’s review a few of my Dating Basics:
- Dating is a process and you are dating to find your ideal match.
- Recognizing that the men or women you are dating are not a match for you is the point of the dating process.
- It is highly likely that you will date a number of people who will not be your ideal match and that many of the people you are dating will recognize that you are not their ideal match.
- Ending the dating process is the only next logical step to take if we agree that the point of dating is to find our ideal mate.
Let me tell you a story that makes this much more complex than a philosophical question.
I have a young colleague who has been dating a woman for a number of weeks. They enjoy each other’s company very much. They share common interests and have a good time together.
He called me recently to tell me he was very sad. He had come to recognize that there was no future with this special lady. They are both professionals, mature and very clear about who they are and what they need and want in a partner. My young friend is crystal clear that he wants children. His special lady loves being an aunt to 5 nieces and nephews and has absolutely no interest in having children of her own. It is important to him that his life partner be as passionate and enthusiastic as he is about family and co-parenting (he holds a very high value for family/children).
This is an unsolvable problem. My young friend is correct. He must end the dating relationship. However, he and his lady friend might be able to change the nature of their relationship.
First he must tell her very directly that they are not a match and that he isn’t going to date her anymore. Then he has some choices:
- He can say goodbye and never see her again.
- He can tell her that he enjoys her company and would like to continue doing some of the fun things they do together.
- He must tell her directly that he will be actively dating other women.
- If they are sexual he will have to let her know that their “new” friendship-relationship will be platonic.
The ball is now in her court. She really likes him and from everything he says, she probably thinks he is a pretty close match.
- Is she going to continue having fun being with him in this new relationship structure?
- Is she willing and able to continue seeing him knowing that he is not going to date her anymore, and he is going to actively date other women?
- What will she do with her feelings of attraction? Feelings of affection?
- Will she use this as an opportunity to continue seeing him and try to change his mind (trample all over his values and boundaries)?
- Will she try to include children in her life/relationship plan (collapse into herself and abandon her values and boundaries)?
I hope you can begin to see that changing the nature of a relationship, staying friends with someone with whom you’ve been emotionally involved, can be tricky. It can be done if both people have a commitment to honor their values and requirements, the courage to tell themselves and the other person the truth, and the willingness to stay engaged in the process!
Clarify your values, needs, beliefs and the vision you hold for you life. Appreciate everyone who comes into your life and weave the threads of the connection you had with them into the rich fabric of your life.
Learn to say goodbye so you can use your physical and emotional energy to attract the man or the woman who will make your heart sing every day for the rest of your life.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
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