If going on dates has started to feel daunting, tiring, exhausting and self-deprecating – maybe it’s time to give your first date the make-over it needs to lift you up and feel great, and possibly gain a great relationship in the end!
Enjoying first dates can be easy with a bit of preparation and the right strategies. With just a little insight, you can determine a plan that works better for you, learn to conquer your fears, and date like a superhero.
- Learn how to let go of your personal Kryptonite
- Unveil the powers of who you are
- Learn how to embrace the true purpose of dating, taking on one adventure at a time!
Don’t let another day go by. Join us to gain that superhero confidence needed to truly enjoy meeting someone new.
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Ask Our Coaches:
Am I ready to date – yet?
"I'm not sure if I'm ready to date yet ...."
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach
and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I broke up with my boyfriend of three years this past May. I'm not sure if I'm ready to date yet, but I would like your advice on what to consider and how to know when you're ready to date again?
Mari responds ...
Regarding what to consider, here are a few thoughts to ponder: Consider how fulfilling your life is right this moment and ask yourself if it would be enhanced -- not completed -- but enhanced by the presence of someone else.
Also, give thought to who broke up with whom and why, and especially what relationship issues need to be resolved if you were the one being let go.
Take stock of the following:
• Whether or not you've moved on from any continuous thoughts of your "ex" -- negative or positive
• Whether or not your self-esteem is at its healthiest level for dating
• Whether or not the thought of dating rather soon after a long-term relationship is being driven by societal pressure, loneliness, or any hidden desire to show your "ex" how great you can get along without him, and lastly,
• Whether or not you've prioritized your requirements and needs in a partner and have a rock-hard knowledge of exactly what you want.
Generally speaking, "knowing," is an innate sense that most people possess. You'll know you're ready when it feels right to begin to share yourself with someone again.
Mari Lyles | Mybeautifulrelationship.com | 1.301.249.5921
Anita responds ...
I congratulate you for acknowledging the reality of the state of your union with your partner. You recognized that it wasn't nourishing your mental and emotional health. Bravo! I congratulate you on claiming your freedom. Wave that flag with pride! Millions of people remain in unhealthy relationships long after it was already over in their mind and heart. Not you. Hooray!
Meeting that forever man can be an easy walk in the park, or a good ol'-fashioned walk to school, crawling uphill … through six feet of snow … for miles … both ways. My advice? Change your perspective: Date to learn who you are and what you need, instead of dating to find that ultimate husband.
Ever been to a grocery store offering food samples? Many packages look great but taste icky and are filled with unhealthy ingredients, doing the body not-so-good. Little bites help tell us what we like and don't like. Dating, like sampling, helps us make better decisions, and when it's time to choose who "goes home in the cart" with you, you'll have made a wonderful, conscious choice! Happy sampling!
Anita Myers | www.innerscopeconsulting.com
Tara responds ...
Donna, two things to consider when it comes to dating again are whether you're ready and available.
Being ready means you've cleared the decks of various life issues. You might not be ready to date right now. You need time to process through your feelings and to get in touch, once again, with your own dreams and desires. Also, there may be other parts of your life that need to be dealt with, things which were put on the "back burner" while you invested in your relationship. Sometimes it's necessary to just work on getting your life in order before taking on a relationship, too.
Are you really available to date? You may be juggling a demanding career, children or even taking care of your parents – all things that can be all-consuming. Do you really have the time, energy and mental and emotional resources to date right now?
Spend some time journaling about how things are in your life right now. Are you really ready? Are you available? And, the most important question to answer for yourself – is this really what you want to be doing right now? Trust your heart, assess your readiness and availability and trust your intuition.
Tara Kachaturoff | www.relationshipplanning.com
Lisa responds ...
If you're ambivalent about dating just yet, then take whatever time you need until you're excited again. There is no trophy for speed. Although three years is not an eternity, it is a substantial amount of time together that can bring about a sense of loss when it concludes.
As you consider your next move, focus on how you feel. If the breakup was an evolution of slowly growing apart, then it might cause little disruption. But if it was an emotionally charged trauma that caused heartache, then it might require more time to heal.
Also, you've likely changed in three years, so get acquainted yourself so the new you shows up when you start dating. You want to be able to appreciate prospective candidates without comparing them to your last partner. Give yourself enough distance from memories that could run interference.
In short, take as long as necessary to be able to happily keep your own company and get clear about what you seek next time around. Once you find yourself thinking more about opportunities in the future rather than revisiting the past, you are probably well on your way to getting back "out there."
Lisa Manyoky | www.2coachesoncall.com | 1.609.890.6645
Dr. Jackie responds ...
Let's explore you being "ready" in five specific areas of life:
Are you ready…
Physically: Are you intentional about physical fitness, eating healthfully and ensuring that your personal hygiene the best it can be?
Emotionally: Are you over your past relationships? Do you have trouble with anger, holding grudges, shutting down emotionally or "leaving the scene?" Are you taking the time to learn and practice more resourceful behaviors?
Financially: Are you actively and intentionally resolving any debit you may have and clarified your financial goals for the now and the future?
Legally: Are you actively and intentionally resolving any legal situations that may exist?
Spiritually: Are you a religious/spiritual person? Are you actively and intentionally considering these issues?
Donna, spend time clarifying your personal Vision, Requirements, Needs and Wants. Take all the time it takes to answer the questions: Who am I? What do I want? How do I get what I want? Focus on developing and practicing dating and essential relationship success skills so you can be ready to meet your ideal match and co-create the life and the love life that affirms and esteems your BEST Self!
Dr. Jackie Black | www.DrJackieBlack.com
Are you really ready to date?
By Tara Kachaturoff
First things first. Are you ready and available for dating? Be honest with yourself. Are you jumping back into the dating pool because you're lonely or scared or both? Are you seeking to fill up a void in your life? Are you trying to use it as a distraction to avoid other priorities that truly need to be handled?
Most singles are not ready or available to date. They haven't asked themselves the tough questions. They haven't made a true self-assessment to determine if this is really the right time to move forward.
Be honest with yourself about your degree of relationship readiness. It's foundational to any future success you desire. Sometimes the mantra of "Just do it!" can be a recipe for failure, disappointment or possibly worse. Jumping into something you're unprepared for can actually set you back in many areas of your life. And, this doesn't even address the potential disappointment you might cause for someone else who might get swept up into a relationship along with you. Dating isn't just about you – it can and will affect anyone with whom you get involved.
When you're not ready or available to date
Sometimes, when you're neither ready nor available to date, that's the time you most often crave closeness and connection with others. However, it's not always the best time to start dating. You know it and so do the people you meet during times like this.
When you're consumed in the throes of life's twists and turns, you just don't have the emotional bandwidth to create meaningful relationships. Take time for yourself. Practice self-care and give yourself the space you need to take care of important life responsibilities and priorities. This is the time to seek out connection with family and friends until you can move through some of the issues you're dealing with.
Being ready to date is different from being available to date. Both of these must be true for you to engage meaningfully with another person.
Are you ready to date?
So what does it mean to be ready? Being ready means you've cleared the decks of various life issues. For example, you're probably not ready to date if you recently ended a relationship, if you're healing from an illness, or if you've just experienced the loss of a loved one. We all need time to heal, whether emotionally or physically. Or, you may be working on personal issues such as self-improvement, getting your finances in order, or handling legal issues. You might be unemployed and focusing all of your energy towards finding a new job. Sometimes it's necessary to just work on getting your life in order.
Are you available to date?
What about availability? Sometimes you're just not available to date. You may have been juggling a demanding career with long hours, caring for young children, or working on a college degree at night. You could be caring for elderly parents or working on projects that are all-consuming.
Whatever the case, your time is at a premium and your mind is highly focused on areas that are important to you. In all fairness to yourself and to others you might date, the fact is that you're just not available. Can you date and do all of these things, too? Absolutely, you can. However, the quality of your relationship, not to mention all of your other priorities, may suffer.
A relationship is about two people coming together to spend meaningful time together. If you can't spend quality time together and really "be there" for the other person, often it's better to wait until you can. You'll be happier, the other person will be happier, and the relationship has a better chance of succeeding in the long term.
Relationships require a significant time and emotional investment. If you're not engaged fully on all levels, you'll feel out of balance and out of alignment with your authentic self. Cultivate good dating karma by treating others the way you would like to be treated. Respect others and don't mislead them.
Attend to your responsibilities and commitments and when you're ready and available, not only will you have the confidence you need to date, but you'll be in the best position to meet the man or woman of your dreams.
Copyright © 2012 by Tara Kachaturoff. Used with permission. Excerpted from the book, Dating Success Secrets by Tara Kachaturoff.
Tara Kachaturoff is a Master Certified Coach for Singles. Since 2003, she has coached hundreds of single men and women to create better dating relationships through her onsite and teleseminar courses. Tara is also the newsletter editor for the Relationship Coaching Institute (RCI). Her personal site is www.relationshipplanning.com.
Single again ... and thriving
by Marianne Oehser
The end of an important relationship is painful – whether or not you chose it. Moving from the pain to a place where you are thriving again is a process.
There is a story about Itzhak Perlman, one of the preeminent violinists of the 20th and 21st century. At the start of a concert, after taking off his leg braces and putting away his crutches, he began to tune his instrument … and a string snapped. He proceeded to play the whole concert with three strings. The silence after the enthusiastic standing ovation was a longing from the audience to hear his words. He said: "Our task is to play fully with what remains."
As you move through the pain of an ended relationship, the first step in being able to play fully this is to let go of your old reality. Jack Kornfield, an American Buddhist monk, described it this way, "To let go means to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clinging and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit." It's like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point if you are going to move forward.
Once you can let go it will be possible to rebuild your life. Nancy Schlosberg, an expert in adult transitions, says as you go through any transition you need to pay attention to four S's:
• The Situation: How are you looking at it? Do you see it as "why me?" Or, can you look at it as an opportunity to write an exciting new chapter in your life – even if you didn't want the old one to end? Your mindset determines the possibilities that you are able to see for the future.
• Your Self: Who you are today, in this very moment, is different than at any other time in your life. You have skills, choices, knowledge, and abilities that you didn't have before now. Therefore, you are very likely to achieve results that are absolutely different from anything you have accomplished in the past. Knowing that gives you the confidence to move forward.
• Your Support: You need external resources and support to deal with the change you are going through. During this often emotionally challenging time your family and your friends play a key role; you need them for support. You need to be able to count on them to be there for you. Often support networks in the community can also be helpful. Is there a match between what you need and what you have? If not, it's important to find ways to develop that support.
• Your Strategy: Is it okay to be single or do you want to find a new partner? If you want to share your life with a loving partner, before you start looking invest in taking the time to be very clear to yourself about what you want. This means having a vision of what a good relationship would look like, understanding what worked and what didn't work for you in past relationships, and, most importantly, articulating your requirements, needs, and wants in a relationship and in a partner.
Having a general idea about these things is not good enough. It requires thought and discussion so you can consciously evaluate whether people you meet are right for you. It is best to work through these questions with a trusted advisor who can help you be sure you are clearly expressing your desires.
Think of yourself as a butterfly. When it is time for the caterpillar to begin its transformation, it attaches itself to a surface and hangs upside down – I am not recommending that you hang upside down! The caterpillar then twists and wiggles and struggles to work its way out of its old skin just as you have to do let go of your old reality.
Under the old skin the caterpillar has woven a cocoon, its chrysalis. In that cocoon it changes just as you have to change as you move from your old situation that was familiar to the uncertain new chapter of your life. Just as the caterpillar must be thinking that the world is over, it becomes a beautiful butterfly with very strong wings. Are you ready to be a butterfly?
The author of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, says "Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you."
Copyright © 2012 by Marianne Oheser. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Marianne Oehser is a Certified Relationship Coach for Couples and Singles. She and her husband, Bill, specialize in helping clients work through mid-life transitions such as retirement, empty-nests, single again in mid-life. www.BetweenTwoHearts.org
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