HOUSTON, April 4, 2012 — Dating is an art and like any art, it can be mastered. Once we master the mindset of dating and what one should do and not do on a date, dating becomes actually enjoyable. Once dating becomes enjoyable, we can truly appreciate a date for what it is and not what our mind projects it to be. – From When Jonathan Cried For Me by Carter Lee
“Date,” that word alone has so many ducking for cover and running for the hills. A date is a set time that two people have agreed to get together to do something fun based on a mutual attraction. That’s it. That isn’t bad now, is it? But some of us have a different definition of the word date. Often people may define dating as an opportunity to get hurt again or disappointed.
When I re-entered the dating world after my divorce, I noticed that if I approached a woman and asked her if we could hang out or chill sometime, they were usually down with that idea. But if I even mentioned the word date, they would often freak out and their head would spin around, followed by the regurgitation of pea soup.
But why are so many people afraid of dating?
The brain is made up of tiny nerve cells called neurons. These neurons have tiny branches that reach out and connect to other neurons to form a neural net. Each place where neurons connect, the brain stores a thought or a memory. Now, the brain builds up all its concepts by the law of associative memory. For example, ideas, thoughts, and feelings are all constructed and interconnected in this neural net, and all have a relationship with one another. In this way, the neurons connect the various parts of the brain together. The concept and the feeling of dating, for instance, are stored in this vast neural net, and we build this concept from many different ideas.
Some people have dating connected to disappointment. When they think about dating, they experience the memory of pain, sorrow, anger, and even rage. Rage may be linked to hurt, which may be linked to a person, which then is connected back to dating. We build up models of how we see the world outside of us through these neural nets.
Once we understand this, it helps us relax more and realize that we are often just projecting the past in a present situation. The more we project the negativity from our past, the more we prevent the advancement of our present which creates our future.
In order to stop the fear of dating, it’s important to realize the advantages of casual dating. A quick side note, I do not recommend anyone who suffers from low self-esteem to date, this will only worsen it. But if you have a healthy self-esteem and self-confidence, then dating can be a beautiful experience and can also reinforce your self-esteem and self-confidence.
When we casually date, there are many positive happenings that occur. By dating we learn more about ourselves. When we hear of someone’s experience for the first time, we view the world from a different set of lens. Subconsciously, and sometimes consciously, we compare their experiences to our past experiences, thus giving ourselves a different perspective on our lives which allows us to learn more about ourselves.
As we continue to date and meet new people, we learn more of what we want in a long term partner. Another advantage of casual dating is that we can actually have fun. Imagine that, having fun on a date.
Often people don’t allow themselves to casually date because they meet someone they really like and then off to the races they go, throwing labels way too soon on a relationship. The more you like someone, the more you should date other people. By doing this it will allow you to see if you really like them or if it is just a temporary infatuation.
If I go on a date with Maggie May and think she is the end all but continue to date other people, this gives us both the opportunity to see if we truly have something special (as anyone else would pale in comparison) or if it’s just premature excitement.
The most successful committed relationships are the ones that breathe and grow slowly, and naturally form into one. The moment a label, like boyfriend or girlfriend, is thrown on too early, the more pressure is felt from both people in the relationship. This pressure could smother a relationship that otherwise might have been a healthy scenario if people would just slow down, enjoy the ride, and not worry about the ending.
Since dating is an art, the more you do it, the better you get at it. The better you get at dating, the more you can attract that special someone for a long-term relationship. If someone isn’t good at dating or is afraid of dating, the odds that they will attract that special someone or a healthy long-term relationship are nearly impossible.
As we continue to look at dating we will look at the “dos” and “don’ts” on a date, how to set our expectations, how to handle rejection, and how to set ourselves up for success for a long-term relationship.
Carter Lee is the author of, When Jonathan Cried for Me, President of Innovative Social Dynamics LLC., is a professional speaker, and is the co-host of Really Genius Radio. To learn more about his media appearances, radio show, book, or to schedule an appearance or speaking engagement visit www.innovativesocialdynamics.com
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