Dating is complicated— it’s a journey that kicks up a lot of emotional dust. One essential dating skill is being able to assess goodness-of-fit between you and a potential intimate partner. How you ask yourself the question makes a difference, so let’s unpack the world of difference between the first question (How do I know if this is the right person for me?) and the second question (To what degree am I able to bring my fullest and most wholehearted self to this relationship?).
The first question pulls for a CONSUMER MENTALITY— the notion that dating boils down to making the right choice. Dating apps amplify a consumer vibe by presenting you with seemingly endless options and granting you the power of the swipe. This question reinforces fairy tale notions about finding “the one.” It’s all very passive and perfectionistic, cueing feelings of anxiety and pessimism. •••••
Let’s see what happens when you transform the goodness-of-fit assessment by opting for the second question. By asking the second question, you view dating through a deeply relational lens. You keep YOURSELF in the ring. You honor the Golden Equation of Love: My Stuff + Your Stuff = Our Stuff. A relationship is a dance, and (as the saying goes) it takes two to tango. In my Loving Bravely book, we talk about this as relational self-awareness. What am I bringing to this dance?
Dating is really about assessing who you get to be in this particular relational dance. Does this relationship grant me space to embody and express the most authentic, rich-with-integrity, caring, respectful version of myself? What happens when my “shadow” (my low-road behaviors, my old habits, my stuff) gets activated in this relationship? (Cuz you know it will! Love stirs shit up!!) Can I BOTH self-soothe AND let this person see that I am worthy and a work-in-progress? #lovingbravely