Dave Kanegis offers some simple exercises to help you bring your whole self to dating.
At the tender age of nineteen my hormones were raging—but they had been since I was 13.
Through a combination of chance, luck or serendipity I suddenly found myself faced with the opportunity of dating a woman I found incredibly physically appealing. Her personality—so-so!
We dated for about two months. The word ambivalent doesn’t begin to describe the experience.
Did I enjoy the sex—absolutely—once I got the hang of it! Was it fun? You bet! Was I having a great time—not really.
The woman was pleasant enough, smiled a lot, and the dates weren’t disagreeable. Yet despite the fulfillment of my carnal desires something just didn’t feel right. Our interests were different and our taste in food and music were virtually incompatible. Oh, but the sex was so rewarding!
However it became clear to me that I didn’t particularly feel good about myself when I was out with her. It wasn’t from a sense of guilt because I was in essence dating for companionship and sex which she was as well.
After about 16 dates, my college wallet weighed a lot less while a lot more weighed on my mind. When our dates ended I usually felt a bit depressed rather than elated.
Much to my nineteen year old male surprise I found I wanted to end the relationship. Simply put—other than the good sex we shared nothing in common.
If I had to do it all over again would I? Probably. I was 19. However as a mature adult my answer is a categorical no.
Each of us is different. My purpose in writing this article is to shed a bit of enlightenment that will assist in making dating decisions that work best for you.
If you’re like most of us, dating although ultimately rewarding has its share of stress, aggravation, disappointments, frustrations — well you get the idea.
Most everyone I know has told me at one point or another in their life that they are putting a ‘moratorium’ on their dating because they’ve got so much on their plate. Additional pressure is something they want to avoid.
What a shame that dating which is the potential preamble to mating should be such a source of agita. There’s lots of reasons for this and we’ll just touch the surface for now.
Before we begin let’s set a goal. How about reducing a bit of the stress associated with dating!
To deconstruct the dating process, let’s start with our heads. I’m referring to our conscious thoughts (that we often ignore) and those of which we are unaware—perhaps lurking just beneath the surface.
Here’s a Mind Acrobatics™ exercise. It’s a bit longer than most so do it when you’re feeling relaxed and unrushed. If you like simply skim it for now and you’ll pick up the general ideas.
Mind Acrobatics Exercise: Head, Heart & Hormones
Time Needed: About 30 minutes
Clothing: Comfortable or optional
Materials: Journal, writing implement and music, candle, beverage—whatever you might like
Location: Anywhere you find peaceful
- Put a huge smile on your face and hold it for five seconds.
- Take seven slow breaths and begin to become aware of feeling at peace.
- Begin writing in stream of consciousness (no censorship) what you bring to a relationship specifically in terms of personality, sense of humor, humanity—all the essential important qualities.
- Take seven more slow breaths then add a smile.
- Begin writing once again in stream of consciousness about the traits that are most important to you in a date. This may be for casual or more serious dating consideration.
Tale a ten minute break and then complete this part of the exercise.
- Create a list of what you will and won’t accept in a date. There may be different qualities and characteristics depending upon the type of relationship you are considering—casual vs. serious, etc.
- List absolute ‘musts’ your potential date has to possess to qualify for your valuable time. After all, it’s a limited commodity!
- Now the deal breakers. Record qualities, behaviors, values, and anything you absolutely won’t accept under any circumstances. Call these individuals ‘no starts.’
- When you’re finished smile and take a short relaxing walk or any physical activity that feels good.
Congratulations! You’ve really ‘worked’ your mind and become aware of important data to be stored away for future use. For now you’ve completed the ‘Head’ portion of dating.
I make a point of saying ‘for now’ because life is organic, constantly changing and the most enlightened of us are continually evolving.
Shall we talk about the ‘Heart’ for a moment? What an important topic to which we’re relegating a relatively short amount of words!
Your heart—emotions—that indescribable internal feeling that is elicited when sharing time with someone to whom you are attracted. Not enough can be said about the significance of how your heart swells when someone finds you desirable.
Mind Acrobatics: Head, Heart & Hormones (part 2)
- Return to your comfortable spot.
- Smile and think about the last time a date made your heart ‘feel good.’
- Briefly write what you believe engendered these feelings.
- Visualize enjoying that feeling once again.
Now relax and take seven more slow breaths ending with a smile.
Great, you’re two thirds of the way home towards constructing the ideal date.
Now—as promised—‘Hormones’! We’re not talking medically here. Simply chemical attraction.
If we’re honest most of us will admit to having gone on dates that we know were ill advised but we didn’t care. The guy or gal just turned us on. OK, isn’t it great knowing you’re not alone!
Hormones are good! Imagine life without them. Boring is too weak a word.
I feel I would be remiss in not mentioning that there doesn’t always have to be a chemical attraction. As your Mom might have told you, “she’ll grow on you.” Or perhaps your Dad said “he’s a real good guy, give him a chance.”
So, what’s the next step in creating the quality of date that will bring you pleasure without stress?
This is the easiest part. You’ve laid the groundwork by recognizing all your strengths and what you bring to a potential relationship. You’ve identified the ideal qualities you’d like in a mate.
Very importantly, you’ve set boundaries around ‘deal breakers.’ Remember these are the characteristics that you won’t tolerate under any circumstances.
Which brings us back to hormones. While the success of a relationship is bound to fail if you go out with a ‘no start’ because of a chemical attraction your needs may certainly be filled temporarily.
As long as you’re willing to accept the other emotions and baggage that’s dragged along with a ‘no start’ then certainly go for it.
However if you really want to enjoy dating in earnest then eventually you’ll ditch the deal breaker companions.
Now might be a good time to decide how you want your dating experiences to move forward.
Always remember you are the engine that drives the positive feelings about your inner-being. Never give that power to another! Consider it when making dating choices.
We’ve just touched the surface in this article. There are many complexities to dating and life that we haven’t explored. And that of course includes—“Now that I’ve identified what I want in a relationship, how and where do I find it?”
Until next time—take the insight you’ve gleaned and put yourself out there. Self promotion is good. Life is short. Enjoy yourself!
Photo—Mikel Iturbe Urretxa/Flickr