It’s time to start dating. There may be many reasons why you haven’t been dating: recent divorce, loss of a loved one, just got out of rehab. That doesn’t matter because these thoughts will help you no matter the reason.
Before you do anything else, get yourself ready. I often suggest to get your self in the right “space” to do something and dating is no different. Ignore the urge to fill out your online dating application and spend some time with yourself.
See yourself as someone who can successfully date.
If you have any competing thoughts like “I’m too old”, “I’m too tall” or “I’m too fat” then start working on these thoughts. Get rid of them. Change them to something else. Because if you don’t they will come out during your dating experience one way or another and you will prove yourself to be right.
Here’s a technique that you might find helpful. Let’s say you are worried about your height. You think you are “too short”. Create a little mantra for yourself that is made up the following statements:
There are many people on this planet that are my height and have fun dating. There are many people in this country that are my height and have fun dating. There are many people in this state that are my height and have fun dating. There are many people in this city that are my height and have fun dating. People that are my height have fun dating.
It’ hard to argue with these statements and they force you to accept the possibility that you can have fun dating.
Manage your expectations.
If you have come out of a truly awful relationship or had an incredible one taken away from you suddenly, there is the temptation to make a huge list of “things I want in a relationship”. This can set you up for failure because you have already set the rules that create a successful date. You’ll come into the date with a list that says “If I don’t have these experiences then I won’t have a good date”.
Instead of the list, try going into the date with the thought that every one will be an adventure and you will get something out of it. Your goal is to find the good points in every person you meet. Yes, there will be people that you will have coffee with once and never see again. Your life can be enriched with that one encounter, if you let yourself be open to that.
What about that list? Refer to it if you start seeing someone often. You may discover that some of the items are not as important as you once thought and you may have added some new ones!
Forgive yourself for any “mistakes”.
Look at dating as an experiment. You’ll need to give yourself permission to try things and get a sense for how well they worked. Don’t criticize yourself for trying something different. The odds are that you’ll be harder on yourself than the other person is. With every experience you will learn something.
Know why you want to start dating.
Do you feel lonely? Do you want someone to go to concerts with you? Do you miss traveling with someone? These can all be answers to “Why am I dating?” Some people have two or three dates then this question pops up in them and they don’t know how to answer it. Dating doesn’t have much purpose then and it’ll be reflected by the lack of energy you bring to the date.
Dating can be an exciting adventure for you. Prepare yourself for it and be open to what new things you can learn and experience!
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