I wake each day, no matter the conflicts faced the night before, thanking the divine that I am no longer in the market for a new lover.
I empathize with those who are looking for love; the modern dating culture seems to have become a minefield of deception, game playing and limitless confusion.
These days what we think is the right thing to do is wrong and everything is about power plays, down playing and denying.
A look at some of the bestselling “dating guides” on Amazon showcases a wealth of so called rules that include how long we should wait to contact, who should make the contact, how to have someone eating out of the palm of our hand and more. All of these guides are chock full of trickery and petty manipulation that has created a modern dating culture filled with deceptive and at times totally conflicting qualities.
Is it really any wonder why so many struggle to find their footing in the dating world?
These days many prefer to stay in lifeless relationships than venture into the wild tundra that has taken over dating these days and who can blame them? The rules seem to change with every tick of the clock and it seems it’s more about getting the advantage than having fun falling in love.
Here is how we can find a little bit of honesty in increasingly dishonest dating culture.
1. If we like them then we need to rock it!
It’s time to stop pretending that we do not like someone in order to appear cool, gain power or because we are afraid. If they are not interested in us then they are not interested, we can then accept it and move on. Everything, however, will be much simpler and efficient if everyone would just be straight up about how they feel.
Let’s stop worrying about whether our honesty will scare them off. If they are truly that intimidated by the gift of another’s interest do we really want them in our life? Let’s just be us and let them be them…ultimately it’s the only way to get a feel for who people really are behind their mask.
2. Court one another.
Dating is supposed to be fun and frankly we need to get back to that revelry! It’s time to get rid of destination obsession and just get to know one another without the heaviness of “where is this going” and other questions that often times are symptomatic of putting the cart before the horse.
A nice way to see where a relationship is going is to allow it to unfold and blossom as it is meant to—not as it will if we are obsessing over every tiny move and detail. This distorts our energy and our broadcast and ends up altering how our lover responds to us. It creates heaviness where we want a bit of fun. Sometimes it’s not about the destination; those who are married or engaged are no more secure or better off than you are where you are at in this very moment.
Let’s take out the comparison and learn to enjoy the ride.
3. It’s time to power down.
Everything these days is done through a device of some sort. Entire relationships are started through text before we ever even meet one another face to face! We chat back and forth and exchange photos of one another until one of us is brave enough to suggest getting together.
He texts a picture of his car so we know which one is his when we come down from our place to be picked up (remember when they used to pick us up at the door? I digress). Now it’s on to a mutually agreed upon place where we sit across from one another and can hear crickets chirping. Suddenly we realize that we really have no idea how to interact face to face and there is no emoji for real life dating.
It’s time to put down the device and begin to have more face to face interaction or at the very least talk to one another on that device. We need more communication that isn’t entirely predicated on words floating across a screen. It’s time to disconnect so we can reconnect.
4. Stop using past wounds to justify (crappy) present behavior.
Everyone has been hurt. We have all cheated, been cheated on, rejected, excluded and otherwise wounded in our past relationships. Not everyone, however, is using those experiences to excuse fearing commitment, taking advantage of others and otherwise being a total jackass to those who care about them. Being hurt in the past does not give us carte blanche to hurt others in the present.
Face the things you went through, heal and let go. Let’s not become tormentors because we were once tormented.
5. No more downplaying what we want.
Do you want a relationship? Are you looking for someone to settle down with? Do you know that someday you want marriage and kids?
Then be honest about it!
If they do not want those things then we must not change our tune or think that we can bide our time, show them how fabulous we are and suddenly they will change their mind. We are indeed quite fabulous…so much so that we should not have to hide what we want or otherwise waste what is ultimately precious time on someone who is not on the same page as us.
If there are things that are non-negotiable then it’s time we stop compromising just to keep someone around.
6. No more following so called dating rules designed to sell books.
There is no single right or wrong way to approach dating. Ultimately the books and guides that others write are their interpretation and ultimately are designed in such a way as to capture our attention and purchase the thing. Sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it’s not. Ultimately we need to find out what works for us.
Just like with fashion it’s best to not always follow trends when we are navigating the dating landscape. It’s important for us each to know what works for us and what doesn’t so that we can stay true to our standards and boundaries.
7. Stop using people.
It’s time for us all to stop being romantic opportunists. Instead we should choose someone because they make us come alive with passion and feel empowered. We should stay away from spending time with someone just because we want a (any) warm body there, because they happen to be good in the sack or because they elevate or validate our status.
We do not need others to warm our bed or make us look good; we make ourselves look good and must learn to be our own best lovers. It’s important to choose someone who ultimately is going to support us in ways that has nothing to do with external validation.
8. Get to know each other.
It’s time we ask one another more questions. Do they like their eggs scrambled or over easy? Do they prefer water or mountain terrain? Are they into skiing or snowboarding? Do they want to travel or are they more into their immediate community?
These days everyone (including myself!) is in such a damn rush to get to the end result they are glossing over the whole “getting to know you” phase. Is it really any wonder why so many people realize well after the fact that they are attached to completely incompatible people? I nearly destroyed my relationship with my husband as I fought tooth and nail to push things forward to the destination I thought we needed to be before we truly had time to even explore one another.
Don’t make the same mistake, instead take some time to learn who they are beyond the mask. Rushing into things will constantly result in heartbreak. It’s time to practice a bit of discernment and slow it down!
9. Heed the Golden Rule.
We must treat others how we desire to be treated. Period.
10. No more putting ourselves down.
If there is someone we like we need to approach them and stop telling ourselves they are out of our range or too good for us. Remember that we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. If we talk ourselves down or walk around feeling and believing we are unlovable we will attract those who affirm that externally.
11. Why so serious?
Love is supposed to be fun and yet so many of us approach it like it’s a business arrangement and we are knee deep in serious negotiation. Let’s crack a joke occasionally and let others see our sense of humor and luminous smile! It’s time to stop analyzing what they will think and send a corny or off handed text and care not as to whether we look silly. Just be and have fun. If we have fun, chances are others around us will as well.
At the risk of sounding absolutely archaic maybe it’s time we get to know one another before we share a bed or couch or backseat. I get it, people these days are getting intimate much sooner and I’m not opposed, that is how 90 percent of my relationships formed. It is not, however, always the ideal situation because it can muddy the waters.
When we mix the chemistry of our brains on sex with a new connection with little formed we make things exponentially more complicated. If you are only looking for a good time then run with it, but if you have found someone that you think you could sit still with maybe taking a moment and holding off will let you build a foundation that will allow for that to happen.
13. Let go of expectation.
Expectation is a tricky beast. It is hard to get out from its headlock and yet that is exactly what we need to do if we want to date in a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s good to know what we want but not become so rigid in it that we overlook someone who may be what we need and not just what we want.
I suggest we get to know people and let go of who we expect them to be. Let things evolve and move organically and let go of the assumption of where things should be and when. I for one wish we would stop missing out on the present because we are so caught up in our preconceived notions of what should be.
14. Practice compassion.
We all learn something new with each date and relationship. Everything is one step at a time and though that may be frustrating it’s time we all learn to accept that with compassion. Rather than getting upset because our friends are getting married and we can barely muster a date on a Friday accept that we have our own path, our own trajectory. This may not always align with where others are at in their own personal trajectory and that is okay.
Where we are at in this very minute is exactly where we need to be and once we learn to accept that there is a beautiful freeing feeling that washes over us. Just the same, it’s important that we not be too hard on ourselves because we happen to make a mistake or two here and there.
This is a human experience and flaw is a part of that ride. Some dates or relationships we will feel at our personal best and then there are those which will draw out the shadow in us. The more compassionate and loving we are with ourselves the more we are free to learn what we are meant to without judgement or lower vibration feelings which weigh us down and stop our growth.
The more honest we are with ourselves and what we want, the more we can go out into the dating world an honest person. It’s important for us to save the games for the playground and demand those in our lives do the same.
Ultimately, whether our dating experience is riddled with deception or honesty is a choice we must consciously make.
It is my hope that we will each be more honest with ourselves and with those who we invite in our lives. In so doing I believe that we will create a space for turning around a culture of dishonesty and allow for a more conscious and evolved dating and relational experience.
Buddhism on Dating, Sex, Love:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Laura Brown
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Jhaymesisviphotography at Flickr