Dating Is Way Easier Than You Think
Recent statistics show that dating is kind of hard these days. If you want to see the evidence, I have already compiled it two articles: Why Finding Love Is So Difficult and Why Online Dating is Unnatural.
But, not only is it objectively challenging based on stats, but most people make it really hard. I have friends still in the dating game, and it can be very frustrating: anxiety over what to say, unsure how and where to meet people, worry about whom to choose, frustration with being single, and even obsession with exes that may not be good for them.
But when you think about it, love and romance are actually two of the simplest things on the planet. Middle schoolers get it. High schoolers generally get it too.
So why don’t adult daters get it?
Here are two reasons why we don’t get it: we overthink and over-complicate dating. And, we try to control the entire process. Neither of these work for a heart and gut based thing like dating.
Let me explain each briefly and provide some simple ways to overcome these forces to make dating fun and easy again.
Overthinking and Over-Complicating
I know so many people who are paired up with partners they can’t stand, and it’s usually because they chose them the way they would choose a new cell phone: by going by a checklist of features and/or based on what other people would think about the person. So they are with someone who looks great on paper, or fits the values of their parents.
Both are horrible ways to choose a partner. They are the results of overthinking something that really doesn’t need much logical thought.
When I hear the stories of people who dated the wrong person, they almost never followed their heart or trusted their gut.
Good dating is a combination of going with your heart and then verifying that based on your gut. Your brain should actually have the least input, which is difficult for overthinkers (and yes I know that the “gut” and the “heart” are likely in the brain, however polyvagal theory is challenging this).
Those who didn’t go with their heart often are in loveless and boring relationships, or they pine for exes or crushes because they chose the “safe” choice that met their checklists (or even worse, their parents’ checklists).
Those who didn’t let their gut check their heart often ended up with abusers and highly toxic partners, as I did recently. You probably ignored the way that person treated others (like past romantic interests, signs of personal trauma, and other factors that were telling you to run far away!
Those who used their brain too much are often single and anxious, or if they are in relationships, they are unable to get close to their partner.
So, I’m suggesting here that to make dating easier, follow your heart and then verify the quality of that with your gut. Tell your brain to chill a little.
Trying to be in complete control
The more you open yourself up to the type of relationship that will be amazing, the more you’re opening yourself up to be hurt and heartbroken.
This is a tension that is necessary to enjoy an amazing life, and requires both resilience, perspective, and to live fully in the present.
Unfortunately many of us tend toward wanting to live a life that is “safe” and free of any risks. When this is the case, dating isn’t something that happens in the present. It is rather a calculation based on past hurts and avoiding any future hurt. Some women have told me that on a first date they were trying to determine if the guy would be the type who wouldn’t hurt them in 20 years!
This is the ego at work. It is protecting you from hurt and embarrassment while leading you to experience the ultimate hurt: living a life without any fulfillment that you’ll ultimately regret when it’s over.
So, let go. Live in the present mindfully. Realize that everything will end, and maybe it will end with pain. But to experience something amazing, even briefly, is better to have experienced nothing amazing at all.