The Secret To Stress-Free Dating
In a 4-year period, I had 3 dates. That averages to 1 date every 1.33 years.
I was 2 or 3 years out of college and busy earning corporate stripes, determined to rise in ranks and willing to sacrifice my personal life to get there. In a short span, I'd earned two promotions, ascended into management, plus scored a position on a board. My career had blossomed. My dating life; however, was dismal.
After professional burn-out, I happily traded 9-5 drudgery (more like 8:30 am - 9:00 pm if I was lucky) for my freedom to pursue a life.
The Pursuit Of A Life
There is nothing like surviving a grueling experience to give you perspective.
Years of managing high-stress, all-consuming projects made small things thrilling, like staying out after 8 pm on a week night or going for a jog. Really. Having energy to jog was absolutely thrilling.
It took me changing my life to understand the fault of my earlier perspective on dating. A first date, to me, was more like an evaluation for a long-term merger. There was a heaviness to it--a feeling of deep disappointment if the date didn't go well or a feeling of immediate possessiveness if the date went really well. With an average of 1 date every 1.33 years, I took my first dates very seriously. Too seriously. Exhaustively serious.
The change that I was making in my life brought on a strong sense of euphoria and with my new-taken freedom, my attitude shifted to: I'm about to live it up!
And there you have it. A decision was made.
I decided to not put any pressure on myself or my date to do anything except have a good time. I was intent on having one of two outcomes: I was going to (1) have a hilarious story to share with my friends--probably involving some degree of absurd dating behavior (and I had those stories) or (2) have a sweet story to cherish for myself (and I had those, too).
I found that one secret to stress-free dating was choosing positive outcomes.
what I learned
My demanding job was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me understand the value of my time.
When I began to reclaim my time, my view of it changed from it being a limited resource to an abundant resource, and for me, that mind shift made all the difference. I didn't feel a sense of urgency to make something work. I felt I owed it to myself to spend my time purposefully, without regrets, and participating in one of the best parts of singleness--dating. This immediately took the pressure off and created a space that made it possible for me to enjoy a date for what it was without feeling disappointment or premature over-eagerness.
Another secret to stress-free dating: viewing time as abundant.
Maybe for you it won't be a life-changing event that puts your dating life into perspective, but you always have the power to decide your mindset.
After I took on a new attitude--that I was going to focus my attention on having a good time--the quality of my dating experience improved. It wasn't heavy or high stakes anymore. I was able to accept the person for who they were, even if who they were was someone I wouldn't date again.
As long as you're safe, enjoy things for what they are, even if it's shaping up to be a good story about a bad date. And if it's a great date, enjoy that for what it is, too, no strings. Stress-free.
Photo credit: Andrew Russeth via CC Flickr