It’s almost Valentine’s Day and for most of us that means thinking about love in some form or fashion, whether it’s positive thoughts or not. Before you head out in search of someone to spend that special day with you should do some deep diving into what you truly want!
Most singles I work with are looking for a committed relationship and date with that goal in mind. That is what we have been conditioned to do by social norms, but so many singles are not consciously ready for a commitment when I first meet them. They don’t want to be alone, so they date to find a partner anyway. This dating strategy is riddled with complication and will set you up for failure!
Just because you want something and it’s the ‘time of year for love’ doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready for it. There are so many factors that can interfere with your plans for an involved relationship with someone (health issues, family, divorce, financial issues, career demands, etc.) You first have to get your life in order before the rest can fall into place. How shitty would it be if you met your forever person and you were not ready or were unavailable…? Valentines (and other outside pressures) can influence your decision to enter into an involved relationship before you are ready, which creates a volatile foundation in which the relationship will eventually crumble.
You may be thinking, “Umm, okay Mallory, but does anyone truly know when they are ready for a serious involved relationship?”. In which I say, HELL YES! It’s called being mindful and it’s the same practice I have been promoting since day one of my coaching. Now, if you are not ready for a relationship, does that mean you should avoid dating…sex…happiness in general? Of course not.
Take into consideration the general types of dating and once you decide where you are emotionally never feel bad about which one you are ready for.
Long-term / Involved Dating
The short-term dating philosophy is centered around two singles dating for fun, without future expectation. This is for those beautiful human beings that are not quite ready for the full thing. For this type of dating to work, you both need to be on the same page. Communication is key and boundaries must be set when it comes to the physical and emotional needs you both have. You need to be clear on sexual expectations, exclusivity, and timeline. Yes, timeline, as in, “This will end in 3, 2, 1…”.
Making those decisions may be hard for you if you would rather be in a long-term involved relationship, but are not ready. So many involved relationships fail due to singles lack of communication and patience when learning the skills of dating short-term to become ready for said long-term involved relationship. Keep in mind, if you’re ultimate goal is finding someone to spend your life with, this is not a waste of time and you are not leading anyone on! Why? Because you are incredibly clear about what you want in terms of sex, time, emotional investment, as well as present and future expectations. There is no ambiguity here. This is not a serious relationship and that is understood by all involved. This type of dating is meant to function as a guide to a more committed relationship down the road. It’s practice in self awareness.
Which brings us to long-term involved dating. Before you can get to this point the process may feel tedious, although it doesn’t have to. Yes, you must stay available and have standards or essentials that each date must meet for further involvement, but that can be so much fun. Once you meet someone that passes rigorous testing, you can increase your investment in that person and let down a few of those boundaries established during your short-term dating period. But you must be weary of the falsely ready involved relationship. The premature hitching. (Dun dun dun!)
This occurs when you move too quickly from the process of long-term dating into an exclusive/committed relationship with someone that may not meet all of your essentials or standards. Your standards should never be so hard to meet that only a billionaire model can make the grade, but still high enough you feel your happiness would not be compromised. Don’t let premature hitching to your ‘not so forever person’ keep you from living the life you really want in the relationship that you really want with your true forever person. It is so unfortunate, as I see it time and again, that my clients previously enter into this phase driven by their fear of being alone, lack of awareness, or need for feeling needed.
You can manage to avoid premature hitching by deciding if you are ready for an involved relationship or not early on. While it is understandable to want the goodies of a committed relationship (security, companionship, consistent sex), to have a successful lifetime partnership it is so important to be ready for a commitment in all areas of your life and to be in a position of choice rather than need.
If you are not ready, due to timing (recovering from divorce, health, finances, lifestyle, whatever it may be) it is best to date a variety of people on a non-exclusive basis and have fun… I know, WHAT?!.. It’s amazing that so many of us forget that dating is just that, dating. It is not a proposal for marriage or a contract for eternal servitude. Take a breath. Learn more about yourself and relationships in the process with this groundbreaking philosophy of dating… While you are working to live your ideal life in all aspects of the word, be a successful single and become ready for the life and relationship you really want and deserve.
When you are ready, there are some guidelines to follow to find someone that is right in line with what you are searching for. Reach out to me if you want to know more about those guidelines and don’t enter the sinkhole of premature hitching.