I find that men often approach dating as a dreaded opportunity to be shamed into oblivion. Aside from those guys who seem to ooze self-confidence and project themselves as genuine gifts to society, the rest of us quake in our boots when having to approach a man or woman for a date. Notice I mention both men and women because gay men are just as prone as straight men to a lack of dating confidence.
Though dating is a game as well as a skill, there are a few ground rules or principles I’d like to suggest that all men embrace as they seek compatible dating partners. I am open to any suggestions or amendments regarding this since I certainly don’t have my act together in this area.
- Believe that you will attract people only up to the level of your own emotional maturity. If you have relationship issues that remain unresolved, they will often be “visible” to others.
a. One of your parents was/is an alcoholic or ever abused chemicals,
b. You are an alcoholic or abuser of chemicals,
c. You experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse as a child,
d. Your parents engaged in domestic physical or emotional violence,
e. Your parents split up when you were young,
then make sure you are being supported by an appropriate 12 step recovery program, a competent therapist, and you are working through these issues toward greater emotional health and less codependence. Such matters interfere directly with healthy and mature relationships in adulthood.
- Examine your expectations concerning the reasons why you want to date and/or have a relationship. Be brutally honest and realize what you really want: someone to rescue you? a good sex partner? a recreational buddy? or a combination of these and other qualities.
- Ask yourself if your nonnegotiables are sabotaging your search. For example if you’re primarily seeking someone who loves to travel a lot, or who loves going to every team’s sports events, or who enjoys having your dog sleep in his face then maybe you’re narrowing down your search too much.
- In past friendships/relationships did you show interest in the other person’s life and did they show interest in yours? Has there been a pattern of mutuality in your dating relationships?
- Who are your friends? Are they merely cyber-friends or do you actually spend time with them socially? What do you talk about? How do you judge the quality of true friendship? What is your definition of intimacy? Do you base your relationships primarily on your intellect or on your emotions, or is there a healthy mix of the two?
These are some matters that have arisen in my life, and in my counseling and coaching practices. If a client brings up the subject as worthy of consideration, coaches need to bring clients, especially men, into the realm of really examining their lives, beliefs, perspectives, and opinions about relationships.
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So much of what you counsel is so helpful to those struggling with meaningful relationships. I find your term “non-negotiables” really spot on. If I had held to those, I would have missed 40 years of happiness for want of a dance fan. Some things aren’t worth what I think they are, but sone are truly non-negotiables. Oddly enough, in watching couples dorm and dissolve over the years those key issues are harder to identify as such and easier to try to wish away.
Thank you Barb!