Are You Dating Consciously?
Dating consciously means being self aware in who you are dating, understanding your type, and also making sure that you're setting boundaries and reaching a state where you're with someone who shares the same level of self-esteem as yourself.
What is consciousness?
Consciousness simply refers to awareness of our actions. The reason this is so important in dating is because often we do things on autopilot. We like a partner because of the way they look because of their assets because they have a particularly good sense of humor, they're smart, yet we're not really aware of the patterns that we're falling into.
Have you ever been in a situation where you seem to date the same kind of person, they might share a similar background, they might even share similar jobs, they have the same kind of emotional intelligence? Do you often see yourself repeating abusive patterns of behavior from past relationships? All of these things line up with the way in which we're dating.
1. What is dating consciously?
Dating consciously means having a clear understanding as to who we want in our lives. And that means having the intention of knowing what we want when we start dating. So to begin with, it's ideal to try and express yourself in terms of what you're looking for out of the dating process. I recommend this no later than the first couple of dates. The reason is that if your person who's perhaps, "gone with the flow" in the past; allowed the other person to lead the relationship. It can often at times go nowhere. You have to remember too that human beings struggle to figure out what we're thinking about all the time. So if you can barely register how you're thinking and feeling on a daily basis, why are you letting someone else take charge over a relationship when you haven't even set the terms and conditions for what you're looking for? And I use that phrase very specifically because a relationship does have terms and conditions. You sign up knowing that you want something and that other person has the right to want something and you're in the process of creating something fantastic. It's not a one plus one equals two. It's a one plus one equals three. So being able to have a clear idea as to say having a monogamous relationship, an open relationship, friends with benefits. These things need to be stated explicitly from the beginning in order to establish the framework for what this is all going to be. There are frameworks to all relationships we have, whether it be as a family member, friend or lover. For example: you don't sleep with your friends, you don't cheat on lovers and you don't socialise with your friends with benefits. That's a framework.
2. Do you have boundaries when you date?
Do you know how to stand up for yourself and say, "No, I don't feel good at doing this," or, "I don't feel comfortable going to the movies. I don't really like doing this particular activity, but I'd be very happy to do something else instead".
The reason it's important to be able to assert boundaries is because sometimes in an effort to like someone, in order to please the person, we tend to double over, and sometimes do things that make us feel very uncomfortable just by trying to get along with that person. This is because we think that we're doing something good for that person and that, surely, they'll appreciate us and reciprocate our efforts. If you find yourself in a situation where you're dating someone, and you already spot preliminary red flags, like: your date has cheated in past relationships, they've just broken out of a relationship, or they've had a situation where you sense that things might not necessarily line up with what they have on their dating profile versus what they're presenting in real life, this is duplicity. And if you were to see duplicity in a friend how would you react? It's important to remember that having boundaries and being able to say, "I don't feel comfortable," is about protecting yourself from these sort of situations.
3. Do you know your type?
So this kind of goes back to what I was talking about at the beginning of this article understanding the kinds of people that we end up falling in love with. If we've experienced a situation of being with partners we've liked for whatever reason that may be, we may actually go back look at all of them and realise common patterns that are more nuanced than simply labeling them as "toxic". We might have an "Aha" moment simply by realising:
- these people all had low self esteem
- I really am drawn to people who have a history of emotional neglect which then translates to them not being emotionally available.
- I did notice that most of these people seem to withdraw, be emotionally unavailable whenever we started to get intimate.
If you find that you're seeing a pattern in the past, I thoroughly recommend talking with a therapist to uncover some of the original roots of where this all came from but also as a way of proactively recognising it is to observe and to even write down the kinds of qualities that your partners, or those you've been attracted to have had and how you've responded to them over the course of time that you were together, because then you'll find a link between who you know is your type. This will provide you with a better understanding when you're in a situation when you're likely dating a new person who you more easily recognise is your type, you'll be able to make a conscious decision not to date that person.
4. What is your self worth?
How much are you valuing yourself? This is something that we often neglect at the expense of trying to please another person. But generally speaking, I would argue that we often forget that we actually are an amazing human being in an attempt to be modest and attempting to to be agreeable. We often forget that we actually have a lot of talents, a lot of capabilities, and we allow ourselves to sometimes settle for less than we deserve. The reason this is dangerous is that it actually impacts the balance between yourself and ypur partner. If you find that you're with a partner where you see their potential, and you also go out of your way to inspire to impress them to see their own value, you're likely giving them way more than they deserve and they will unlikely reciprocate. Your energy is feeding them continuously and because they don't give back, you're putting them on a pedestal to the point where they have absolute control over how they make you feel. People with low self esteem are a particularly good example of this. If you find yourself in a situation where the self esteem is imbalanced at the start of the relationship you often see the individual with the higher self esteem will try everything to make the other person feel better about themselves, to work on them, to help them see themselves in a new light, to make them feel good about themselves. And the consequences can be that the person with the low self esteem may end up finding ways to bring their partner down. The partner with the low self-esteem unconsciously does this in order to feel better about themselves. That is the foundation of an unhealthy relationship. So remember, as a $1,000,000 dollar human being, you do not settle for an $100 human being who doesn't recognize their own value. Trust that they are on their journey, they will have to recognize their value at their own point. But right now, you don't discount. You don't settle. You're in a situation where you deserve higher than that.
These are the four tips that I have on dating consciously. I understand this article is not necessarily specific just for gay men, but I think it's important to understand because these are things that we forget in our dating cycle and I hope that this helps you have better opportunities when dating to avoid dating unconsciously.
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