Carlo Alcos thinks you should be friends first. Really.
I have one piece of dating advice for you. Ready? Here it is: Don’t date.
I’m not saying be celibate. Just…don’t date. Sound like a weird concept? Maybe it is. The problem I have with dating — with seeking someone to date, specifically — is that it puts me in a state of want. Being in a state of want makes me feel unfulfilled. It makes me feel that I need someone else.
After separating from my wife I made a conscious decision to not actively pursue partners. I didn’t want to be set up, I didn’t want to go online to look for a date, I didn’t want to meet girls with this thought in my head of “could she be a potential partner?” All I wanted to do was spend some quality time with myself, and to share it with friends.
This also didn’t mean that I wanted to be single for the rest of my life. The decision just meant that any relationship I might find myself in in the future was going to happen naturally. It was going to flow with life. Dating, to me, feels forced. Throughout all of my 20s I had the notion in my head that I needed to find a partner. Every girl I encountered was looked at through this filter. It made if very difficult to appreciate the person purely for what she was. I found that any relationship I got into was tainted with expectations. It usually led to games, mind-fucks, and me being someone I didn’t really want to be.
Since the end of my marriage, I’ve been in two relationships, one of which I am still in. Both happened naturally; I became friends with them without any idea of a potential romantic relationship. My current partner and I experienced a beautiful friendship over the summer; neither of us having any intention of anything further developing. We pushed boundaries of friendship, exploring the line between platonic and romantic. We started saying “I love you” to each other; we could cuddle on the couch and watch a movie together. Still, neither of us looked at each other in a romantic way. I would tell people about the friendship, that it was the most pure love I’ve ever experienced before. Untainted with sexual desire or expectations of each other.
Things eventually evolved and we ended up becoming romantic partners. For me, it seems clear now, because I’ve actually experienced it like this. Years ago, if I were reading this, I probably would have been skeptical, thinking, “yeah right, buddy, you wanted to get into her pants from day one.” And you might think that. That’s your decision of course. But I would like to think that this would work for anyone, that this is the way it should work. Date yourself. Do things you love to do. When you focus your energy inward you’ll naturally express yourself outward in a more authentic way, and connections with like-minded people will happen on their own. Make friends, get to know people without setting up expectations. Be open. Live your life.