We all grumble about spending so much energy on dates that don’t work out. I understand that there are many important things in your life so you need to be goal-directed and want specific results. But as the Rolling Stones said, ‘You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.’ What do I (and Mick Jagger) mean by this?
Dating is a learning process and by meeting lots of people you can learn what you like, don’t like, need and you may even discover some new things about yourself. I go into this process in more detail in my book, ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ by Atria Books but for the purpose of today’s column I will list 10 reasons that dating ‘Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrong’ might not be a waste of your time. Here’s what you could gain:
1. Dating Experience- Anything in lifetakes practice. People will tell you to go on a lot of job interviews so you are ready when that perfect job opportunity hits. It’s the same with dating.
2. Become clear about what you DO want long-term- We often learn what we do want through contrast. You can take what you don’t like in your date and flip it. For example, you might say, ’I don’t like that he does not listen to me’ and this can bring clarity to the desire to attract a good listener as your husband.
3. Learn more about yourself & others- We learn from everyone we meet. If you dislike someone it can teach you about an area where you are intolerant. Also, even if a date is not a romantic prospect, you can learn something else from them-about their career, art or another new experience.
4. Explore beyond ‘your type’- We often choose the same experiences again and again. Once you are married you will hopefully be with that person forever. So why not ‘get out of the box’ and experience what someone very different is like?
5. Put dating energy in motion- Often when you want to attract a mate it’s good to circulate interest. This can draw that energy to you and make you feel more confident and abundant. Dating is a numbers game, so sometimes the more people you meet the better your chances for success.
6. Let go of expectations & just have fun – The ability to be present andjoyful is very attractive while dating. Allowing the relationship and date to unfold takes the pressure off and makes space for both people to be themselves. When you are not interested in a date romantically, it is easy to practice enjoying that person in the moment. This is a great energy to bring to all your future dates!
7. Learn to accept a mate ‘as is’- When a date is not long-term material it is easy to degrade or criticize them in your mind. To have a really great relationship, you need to accept your partner as is. You need to take the good with the challenging. So it’s good practice to ‘be with’ dates that are not your ideal. You can practice appreciating them for who they are without trying to change them.
8. Learn to ‘say no’ gracefully- Part of getting to ‘yes’ in anything is learning to say no. Too many daters hang out for years in relationships that don’t fulfill them. One or two dates with ‘Mr. Wrong’ can be instructive but two years is destructive to your ultimate goal of attracting who you most want. Be clear and take a stand about when to leave a relationship. When you practice saying no in a kind way you will generally leave your date feeling okay and you will feel proud of yourself.
9. Learn to Hear No- Anything you want in life often involves some rejection. In dating you need to remain confident and continue to love yourself, even when the outcome does not work out as you wish. 80% of the time your date does not even know you, so their ‘no’ has more to do with them. Learn how to move ahead and keep your eye on the prize.
10. Free meals (and the ability to keep your sense of humor) –There is something to appreciate in most experiences. Look for the great meal, your dates talents or interests and appreciate that they took the time to meet you. This will be better for you and them and it is a great attitude to practice in your life. Focus on what’s good.
Hopefully these tips will help you if you’ve had a string of dates with Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrong lately. Remember to keep your sense of humor, learn and remind yourself that in the end, it only takes one date to make a wonderful life mate.
My Best in Love,
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