By Jennifer Elizabeth Masters
Dating today can be confusing. There are more than 5,000 dating sites worldwide and 2,500 dating sites in the U.S. alone. The sites that are considered major have millions of members. OK Cupid, e-Harmony.com, and Match.com. have millions of members and are located in the United States. Plenty of Fish is located outside of the U.S. and also has millions of members.
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Even if you read reviews, you can be confused about which site is best for you. I prefer a site that speaks of who you are, in my case MeetMindful.com or Soulful Match where you don't have to explain what being Spiritual means. A site that represents you well can save you a lot of aggravation and time. Dating requires an investment of time and energy. You are investing in yourself and the potential of a relationship. Give yourself time to write your profile honestly. If you work 100 hours a week, you don't have time to date.
Anything worth having requires time and energy. Jennifer Elizabeth Masters
People date for different reasons. Knowing what your intention is for dating will help to give you the best results. If you just want a casual date and casual sex, there are plenty of people who will match your criteria. If a relationship and marriage are what you are looking for, don't be afraid to state the truth on your profile. If you want to have children say so!
How Far Is Too Far?
Decide how far you would drive twice a week to meet someone for a date. Think about the reality of long-distance before you begin looking for a dating partner out of your town. Would you relocate if things get serious? Will you want to drive an hour and a half several times a week, or more to see this new person?
If you are looking to get over an ex, dating needs to be put on the backburner. It isn't fair to you or another person to date when you are still holding a flame for your last love. Several of my clients found that what they attracted when they dated too soon was more heartbreak and disappointment. Allow yourself the time you need to heal before dating. Here are mindful practices to give you the best results for your dating investment.
- Be upbeat and open. Pre-judging someone can mean you overlook an excellent match because you didn't allow time to get to know them well. You can't possibly know anyone from one date.
- Be aware. Dating another person is as much about you as it is about them. Notice how you feel when with your prospective partner. Do you feel lacking? Do you feel comfortable and confident? Do you feel small, inadequate or out of place? Is there an undercurrent of something awkward or out of place? Do you feel uneasy with them? Uneasiness could be an intuitive feeling. Ignoring an internal warning is a caution light for you. Pay attention to your feelings. Trust your gut. Do their words and actions match? Be watchful of how you feel after your date.
- Notice but don't judge. Everyone has a history. If your date lets you know, they are in recovery; that's a good thing. It shows honesty and a sense of vulnerability which is a sign they are aware of their process and working on themselves.
- Be yourself! Authenticity attracts authenticity. The more comfortable being you that you are, the more your date will show you about themselves.
- Avoid talking about exes. There is plenty to talk about when getting to know someone new. Leave discussions about who cheated on you and hurt you out. Complaining about a past partner shows that you or your date are not over it. Someone who complains will very soon be complaining about you.
- Have fun. Dating can be very exciting. The newness of dating needs to be respected, treated as a precious new beginning. Enjoy this new person's company. Enjoy dining in new and different places. Dating is an adventure, not a chore. We never know when we begin what we are meant to learn from the experience. Don't think that each person is going to be THE ONE. Let go of attachment to the outcome and just enjoy the ride!
- Think outside the box! If you have always dated a particular type, expand your horizons. Broaden your age range. Date people you wouldn't in the past. See people from different fields. Your prospective partner doesn't need to do the same work as you. You might find that you still have commonalities in other areas.
- Be compassionate. Getting to know someone new can lead to nervousness, worry about what the other thinks or feels about you. When you both share stories about life put yourself in the other person's shoes rather than being quick to judge. Imagine how you would feel if you had their experience. Compassion brings your heart into the dating process.
- Be kind. Kindness is reciprocal. Give what you want in return. Everyone enjoys loving kindness, respect, and appreciation.
- Take things slow. Getting to know someone takes time. Trying to rush into a relationship before you know each other could lead to disastrous results. Take time talking without drugs and alcohol. If every date becomes a drink fest, you might not be seeing the truth.
- Put sex off until you know you like and are compatible together. Sex too soon clouds your mind with a flush of hormones that make you bond and feel "In love" when it is the oxytocin talking. Sex on a first date will make your date a hook-up rather than an opportunity for something greater and more meaningful.
- Be honest. If you don't care to discuss something just yet, say so. It's okay to shelve a discussion for later in the dating process if you aren't quite ready. Don't lie about your age, income or lifestyle to just "get someone." Treat others kindly and you can't go wrong!
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A Love That Lasts