Should You Be Dating?
Why should you date?
Wow! That’s an incredibly personal question that has different answers depending on many different factors. Are you divorced? In your 20s fresh out of school and never married? In your 30s and hoping to be married? Looking for someone to have loads of fun with?
Answer This Question First…
“Why do I want to date?” And therein lies the first question that a person must answer for themselves. This must be answered honestly. To answer the question is to come to terms with the expectations and desires which I have from the process of dating. (The easy answer is that I may be looking for companionship in a romantic way. But who’s going for easy?)
Desire, by definition, is a strong feeling of wanting to have something. Do I desire to be married? Desire a committed relationship? Want someone to hang out with? Have the desire to be totally free and intimate with someone?
Many of us get into relationships with the desire to be our full, authentic selves with the other person. However, that involves a level of trust and vulnerability that the dating process is often designed to reveal over time. It doesn’t happen quickly or automatically. Can I be my truest self with you?
A large part of the dating process should help you learn about yourself. Do I change who I am when I’m around people that I’m romantically interested in? Do I lose parts of myself trying to win the heart of my partner? Is there anything that prevents me from being myself? How do I respond when I, or strong facets of who I am, aren’t accepted? At the same time, am I willing to grow as an individual as I am learning more and more about myself? Do I compromise in ways that are unhealthy for me? “Dating requires you to be vulnerable in a way that most other relationships don’t. One of the reasons that we date is to learn more about ourselves and what it means to let someone get to know us.”
Then Answer This Second Question…
Secondly, and closely related, is to answer the question, “As I am getting to know who I am, am I truly learning who my partner is and their unique journey?” Let’s face it, just because I’m able to be me with someone does not mean we’re romantically a good match for one another. While I am not a supporter of “finding the one person out there who was meant for me,” I do recognize that there are those that I am romantically attracted to while others I’m not.
But What If It’s This Question?
What if part of dating is simply to answer the question, “Are we compatible?” Can we talk about things that matter to us? Is he/she an emotionally safe person to be with? We both know that relationships can accelerate a wide array of emotions. Are they able to deal with the emotional baggage that comes with me into the relationship? Do our values and belief system mesh with one another? Are we able to support one another?
We begin our dating relationships not knowing if we are compatible. We don’t know if this is a person who truly wants to get to know me. Let’s not assume that we do know. Starting with the pure knowledge that I am interested in getting to know this person and finding out if we’re a good fit is a lot less pressure. There are fewer expectations to meet or not meet.
Time, talk and being together during the dating process is no longer about us proving that we’re compatible. It’s not about you proving to me that you like who I am or worse, me being the person you want me to be.
For more resources, visit our Dating and Engaged Page here.
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