Dating without Drama #3 –
5 Secrets to Successful Dating
In the last installment of Dating without Drama, you learned about the importance of stretching- acting intentionally in relationship in a way which not always be what your used to.
In this installment of Dating without Drama, we will discuss the third Secret of Successful Dating- You are not dating yourself.
Yet, as you are about to learn more about this installment of Dating without Drama, you may have actually thought you were dating yourself.
This is normal as we tend to view the world from our vantage point. The ego, self-absorption, prevents us from experiencing the reality of an “other”. While this may sound a little harsh, please don’t beat yourself up. This is normal and a degree of self-absorption is actually necessary for our survival. If we had no self-interest, we would not eat or protect ourselves from danger, etc. However, in our effort to remain safe, we create our own little world. In this world, we assume that everyone experiences life as we do and we have a hard time making sense of anything else.
Have you ever had a food that you especially enjoyed? Now imagine you encountered someone who found it terribly unappealing, even nauseating. This is an example of what we call in Imago Relationship Therapy, Symbiosis. Since we wouldn’t eat it, no one else would either. Can you imagine if you met someone who didn’t like ice cream? “How could you not like ice cream?!” The list goes on and on, from your favorite music, doctor, to your political party, etc . . . We believe that if we like something or think a certain way, then everyone else must agree.
So you go out on a date and you may find yourself rejecting him/her as soon as an interest is expressed that does not meet yours. Perhaps they really enjoy a particular book or a hobby. Why would they like that? All because you can’t relate, does not mean that the date is over. Instead of judging and clicking off the rejection box, get curious. Start asking questions and understanding the other! (You’ll be amazed to find out how much more attractive you’ll also seem to the person you’re going out with – something you may not have expected to learn in Dating without Drama!)
“What do you like about that book?” “I like this hobby”, “Could you tell me a bit about why you don’t enjoy it?” Instead of the conversation ending, you allow it to go deeper by getting curious. Going deeper allows you to connect on a whole new level and allows you to really get to know the person.
Here is a great example that a colleague shared with me. She once had a client that was fighting with her husband about his preoccupation with watching a particular football team. It almost felt like that this interest took precedence over his wife. While she did not like football and felt ignored, she could choose to remain on the surface level and engage in conflict or probe deeper. What about this football team was so important to her husband? It turned out that after further inquiry, he shared that his last memory that he had as a young boy with his father before he died was attending a football game together with this team. His current passion for watching this team was the last chance he had to cling to his father’s memory. Well that is totally different. Instead of dismissing a silly hobby, she was able to connect to something dear to her husband. Although this did not give her more appreciation for the sport, she could appreciate the importance it held for her husband. What an amazing discovery this was for their marriage and I hope it will be helpful for you in your own marriage!
With every bit of information our date provides, we have the ability to reject them or to ask a question. I have had plenty of singles tell me that they never seem to connect with their dates. When I ask them if they ever tried to get curious, a big light bulb begins to go off and many people begin right away to get curious on their next date as they want to implement what they’ve learned about how to get married and expedite the process!
As they may feel uncomfortable or threatened by this strange process we call dating, they view a date as an opportunity to compare the person with their checklist. Instead I encourage singles to get curious. Ask questions. When we learn about the world of the other we connect and experience the depth of the other person.
One of the problems people raise with shidduch dating is that there is simply not enough time to get to know a person. I believe that it is not necessarily a problem with the system but with the way we approach a date.
Why is that people can know after one or two dates that they want to marry a person while others have numerous one date duds that never go anywhere? My graduates of the Dating without Drama course know that the answer is depth and connection.
People that feel comfortable enough to open up and experience another person can reach a deep place of connection very quickly. (Read that twice over as it is a big secret in learning how to get married.)
When they reach that place, they get to know the true person and can feel confident enough that this is someone they want to spend their life with. Others do not really get to know the other person and will complain of never connecting with anyone.
I invite you to relax and get curious. If your date is all judgments and checklists it will usually be a flop. Next time your date shares something, notice whether you dismiss it or feel comfortable. If that is the case, take the risk of inquiring as opposed to shutting down. I would be curious to hear the results!
To summarize- The third secret to learning Dating without Drama is that you are not dating yourself.
– In our own self-absorption we tend to believe that everyone thinks the way we do
– Accepting the reality of an “other” can feel threatening
– When we get curious about the other, we begin to connect with them on a deeper level
I look forward to bringing you the next Installment of Dating without Drama, 5 Secrets to Successful Dating. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the material in our Dating without Dramacourse, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 443-570-7598.