Haven’t been in the market for a while? You may be afraid you’ve lost your swing.
Getting back on the dating horse after you have been MIA for a while can be a bit awkward and uncomfortable, to say the least. Whether you were in a long relationship, or for whatever reason have decided not to date, be it work related, personal, etc, that shit can be daunting.
I think about it often times as similar to the whole exercise analogy. The longer you are off the exercise wagon, the harder it is to get back on . It takes some time as it is not super smooth to get back into that rhythm.
You have got to realize what you are doing, why you are doing it and how to stay motivated when the uncomfortable, icky, unwanted times present themselves.
With exercising (and with dating, thank you very much) the first week or two is never pretty. We start strong and are all excited shouting “Yeah, we made it to the gym! Woo hoo! I am a rockstar.”
Then reality sets in which is you are more exhausted the next couple of days as your body is getting used to being active again. You are feeling crappy, your sleep is all messed up. You start to think “Exercising is hard work. Not sure if this is worth it. I don’t want to do this anymore.”
First thing we want to do in those situations is throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“It must be exercise. See! This is why I was fine before. I was doing fine. I didn’t need to start working out, now I’m even more tired. What happened to the ENERGY? Everyone keeps talking about how it will give me more energy! I am feeling more tired than before!”
The key, however, is overcoming that initial transition time. It is a re-calibration period that happens where you have to get acclimated to this new way of doing things and seeing things.
Your mind, body, heart have to catch up to this new determined direction! Same goes for dating.
My last couple of posts for GMP were about going through a breakup. Two months ago, I became single again after seven months of being in a relationship.
Not a pleasant few months however it was necessary to go through it because of all of the learning I had as a result.
Before that I was on a bit of a dating hiatus because I was getting burnt out, as well as feeling a sense of confusion and introspection around my life in general, so dating was the last thing on my mind.
So here I go again! It is time to get back on the horse.
I know it is time because I know what I want. I can feel it, see it, even sense it coming around the corner.
I want to find and be with my long haul guy. I want that relationship that stands the test of time. Where we are as equally committed and excited about spending and building our lives together.
A lot of that for me looks like fun, traveling, experiencing wonderful adventures together, making an impact in the world and leaving it a better place.
Whatever it is, it looks different for everybody. I get that and appreciate that.
But that is what I want. And that has not changed. Now that I have had some time to grieve and be with the ending of one chapter, one opportunity, I am really feeling that call to put myself out there again.
With that, I am learning so much as I re-attempt this ride known as dating.
Not on the horse quite yet (to be radically honest), however I am making a great attempt to get back up.
The following are three things I am learning as I get back on the horse:
Number 1: There is no such thing as feeling ready.
Not for a relationship, not for dating, not for having a kid, not for pretty much any majorly exciting and big goal/dream in your life. Even if you think you are ready, prepare yourself for some unexpected surprises.
If you ask me today how I am feeling, I will tell you as of this moment. Because it changes day by day, even hour by hour.
One day I am feeling very nostalgic and sad and introspective about my relationship that just ended. Other days I am feeling like “Man, the world is MY oyster! I am hot, I am single, I am amazing, I am beautiful, and I am ready to put myself out there and will just know when I meet my guy. He will love me, adore me and we are going to be amazing together.”
As you can tell, not what one would classically describe as ready! That is because things change, all the time: situations, thoughts, feelings.
However, the desire is outweighing the dread. I am feeling the call. It feels right.
Ask yourself what feels right for you?
What can you handle right now? What do you want to do?
How much are you willing to invest effort-wise into this new desire?
Then, do what feels right for you.
Number 2: Getting clear on what you want to have happen.
This applies to a variety of things. Clarity on who you want, what kind of relationship, how you want to go about the whole dating process, etc.
If I do not know what I am looking for, how will I ever know when I find it? I do a lot of work with clients around this. I do even more work with myself when it comes to my wish list.
I break it down into sections. What is the description of my ideal partner? What about my ideal relationship? I even look at my ideal self! What are the things about myself that are true and I want to maintain whether I am in a relationship or not?
The clearer you are, the easier time you will have spotting it. Not only that, the easier time you will have communicating it so that your prospective dates are on the same page, or even your friends who can help you in your search!
How would you describe your ideal partner?
What does your ideal relationship look like?
How do you want to show up, in or out of relationships?
What is important to you about being in relationship again?
Number 3: Check your expectations and assumptions at the door!
In order for dating to work, there needs to be a level of openness, willingness and honesty. You need to know how to act, react, or interact with things that come up.
You might have that type of week where it is nothing but a string of shitty responses to your dating profile. The tendency is to take it personally, or as mentioned before ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’, and say something to the effect of:
“See all guys are lame.” “I am never going to find that girl who fits my idea of an awesome girlfriend.” “Dating SUCKS!” “Everyone is just interested in appearances!” “This is why I stayed away.”
All those thoughts are things we make up about the situation or the person. Those are what need to be thrown out, NOT the dating, NOT the pursuit. They are just bad days. Shit happens. Life is an up and down. Gotta get over it and keep moving.
Your past does not dictate your future, and nor does your present. So it’s good to examine how you are feeling, what your thoughts are, because they do impact your actions and how you show up.
This goes for both ‘negative’ AND ‘positive’ thoughts. Because let’s be real. Even those thoughts of “I am going to meet my future wife tonight” or “I truly believe this guy may be the one” can be just as insidious.
They take you out of the present, out of connection with you is in front of you and have the potential to disappoint if those scenarios in your head do not happen.
Really look at the following: What are your expectations? What are your assumptions?
How are you feeling? What are you thinking? What are some recurring thoughts that are popping into your brain?
Look at them objectively and honestly, so that you are aware.
Second step is the reprogramming. This looks like coming up with an intention. To me an intention is the touchstone, to remind you of why you are in this. What is going to get you through the long haul so that you can achieve your outcome?
A lot of this for me is in your way of being. It is the HOW. It is YOU. It is how you are acting. Qualities and traits of yourself you want to keep at the forefront of your mind.
One example is “I am fun, carefree and open to whatever pops up around love”
Simple, to the point and powerfully clear as to what I get to remember.
What are the traits and qualities of yourself you want to maintain?
What is your intention when dating and meeting new people?
What is important for you as you go through this process?
Then come up with an intention statement to serve as a daily reminder.
For me, this work has been both reassuring and grounding. I feel like it is the protective gear as you are climbing your horse.
Because you know what? You are going to fall. Sorry to break it to you.
There is always that initial period where you practice and practice until it makes you perfect. It is during that practicing that you slip, you fall, you fail. That is all okay.
The more mindful and prepared you are, the less it is going to hurt. The easier it will be to pick yourself up and get back on that horse again.
Hope this helps! Would love to hear some tips from y’all about getting back on the horse, and anything that opened up for you, or insights you had as you read some of the tips provided in this post.