Why dating does not suck

Why dating does not suck

Dating

But your approach probably does

The other day I gave a presentation to a group of about 20 singles over the age of 55. This was a new group and had never heard of the Empowered Singles movement.

One of the gentlemen in attendance, who was deeply struggling with his profound feelings of love and yearnings for his “soul mate” – a woman who not only did not return his feelings but told him to stay away – shared with the group his own movement, which he calls Dating Sucks.

Insert Buzzer Sound Effect Here

Insert Buzzer Sound Effect Here

Ugh. This is exactly the kind of negativity that most singles carry around with them – the kind of negativity I’m trying to get you all away from. The kind of negativity that will actually submarine your attempts to find a healthy, happy relationships.

So let’s be clear – Dating Does Not Suck.

What sucks is his attitude toward it.

What about you? Have you ever said “dating is hard”? Or “all men want is to date younger women” or said “all women want is to date a rich man”? Are you sitting there in your living room, watching TV night after night, hoping to meet the right one, while replaying all the horrible experiences you’ve had on dates in the past?

If so, then perhaps your attitude sucks too.

Listen, I get it – dating and relationships can really really really SEEM confusing to those who have not taken the time to educate themselves about their past patterns, and subconscious sabotaging beliefs.

Most singles consistently make the same mistakes over and over again without taking the time to figure out what they are doing.

The thing is, many singles don’t have any true idea how dating really “works.” They don’t have a clear idea on how to approach dating that makes the process fun. And no one seems to know how to date without adding a ton of stress and pressure. Yet when I talk to most singles, they seem so assured that they know what they’re doing. (Meanwhile 90% of my community admits to being dissatisfied with their dating experiences.)

No more excuses, people.

Here’s a quick guide to help you snap out of it:

1. REDEFINE HOW YOU VIEW DATING

The biggest trap that most singles get caught in, in the early stages, is heaping a ton of romantic overlays onto the get togethers. Most people use that very first get together as the make or break moment – that puts way too much pressure on all involved. I always caution people about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Unless it’s a hugely obvious mismatch, take your time getting to know this person. By all means, use your relationship requirements to screen the obvious out but once you found someone who passed that first litmus test, try not to cut that person off immediately. Reformulate your decision making criteria – instead of evaluating the person straight off as “relationship worthy”, instead determine if you think this person is someone with whom you’d enjoy having a conversation.

Then ascribe a new meaning to the word DATING. Let’s agree that dating is simply the best way to learn more about other people (and yourself as well). And be forthright about your new view on dating.

2. FOCUS ON THE NOW

One of the most important ways to make dating fun is to focus on the now. Stop dwelling in the past – if an old relationship didn’t work out, accept it and move on. I know it’s much easier said than done to embrace this harsh reality, but the truth is that if you don’t accept and admit to yourself that a previous relationship ended because the person just wasn’t the right one for you at the time, you’ll never be able to move forward.

Also, avoid overanalyzing everything. I know too many singles who need to scrutinize the tiniest detail and behavior of others. When you are focused on the now, are in the present moment, and are living a life you love, you’ll be far less likely to worry about what the person did or did not do.

3. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

I’d say that going slow is almost as important as focusing on the now. If you walk into a date knowing that you’re priority is to get to know this person as a friend, then there won’t be any added pressure of worrying about what may happen after the date. This approach will set both of your minds at ease and you’ll have more fun enjoying each other’s company!

4. DO SOMETHING SPONTANEOUS

If you’ve found someone with whom you enjoy talking, try doing something off the cuff with that person – it takes a lot of pressure off both of you by being spontaneous. Being spontaneous requires you to Be the Chooser, to take responsibility as well as take a risk. Yet the rewards can be enormous.

A guy I was dating over the past summer actually surprised me after dinner and took me to mini golf and it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I also spontaneously asked him to go out bowling and it was a great time. (I realized how awesome I am at bowling when I beat him, just saying. Thank goodness he had the ability to roll with things.)

5. LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS

We’re told to let go of grudges, right? Well, let go of expectations too.

Expectations are strong beliefs that something will happen, that someone will or should achieve something. They are like unspoken pacts with other people or the universe. While having expectations can be a great boost to confidence and a predictor of success (“I expect this job interview to go well), it can also set up for disappointment.

In dating and relationships, it’s so easy for people to constantly wonder, “Is this The One?” and so we go through the motions of dating with these high expectations that every person we meet, let alone date, has to be The One. Then, when this person turns out to NOT be Prince Charming or Ms. Right, you go home defeated, dismayed, depressed.

If you create your expectation as an unspoken pact that this person has to be a romantic match, then you’re likely to feel cheated, angry and/or hurt. It leads to blaming. “Things didn’t work out the way I thought they should, so someone is to blame.”

What’s important here is not to find out why things didn’t go the way they “should” have and who is responsible for that. The real question is who decided that things should go a certain way and that any other way was unacceptable. This is the source of the disappointment that expectations are famous for. What we do with that disappointment determines how much pleasure we can have in the ensuing moments.

In a previous post on spiritual singles, I wrote a bit about mindfulness, a spiritual practice through which we develop awareness, cognizance and understanding of things, our “selves”, feelings, thoughts, other people and Reality. The practice of mindfulness is all about discovering one’s expectations of self and then letting go of them.

Through the ongoing practice of becoming present with experience “as it is,” there is a gradual increase in experiencing things as they are, without trying to change them (and a subsequent joyfulness in the experiences). In the simplicity of accepting something—including oneself—as it is, there is a release of the need to be something “better.”

Another way to deal with unmet expectations is to reframe the experience. Suppose I expected to see a movie tonight but when I got to the theater, I discovered that the movie was no longer being shown. Besides feeling disappointed or angry, I could immediately look around for another pleasure. I could take this as a gift and look to see what else is playing or what other interesting, cool things might be around.

6. BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR FUN

fun while datingThis is really the cherry on top of this whole cake. The most important thing to do and remember is to HAVE FUN!

For years, I had put a moratorium on dating because I had made my past dating experiences so incredibly grueling — I can’t say I ever really had fun while I was dating. Which is why I decided that I needed to regroup and “do the proper preparation” (as I always advocate to my clients).

Recently though I’ve been thinking it’s time to get back out there since I know that my partner is not going to magically appear on his own.

This time, however, I knew that I needed a different approach. This time I decided that I was going to go into dating with the intention of having FUN.

So as a result, I made it clear on my profile that I want to have fun and described what fun looks like to me. (Fun is a custom experience after all.) I realize now that without fun, there really isn’t anything. In my opinion, fun is a great place for two people (who don’t know each other at all) to begin — because let’s be honest — if we’re not having fun, we’re not likely to want to see someone again.

In the past, I had a negative image of having fun while dating. I thought that if I told men I wanted to have fun that they wouldn’t take me seriously or see me as the mature and dynamic woman I am. I assumed they would see or hear the word “fun” and think I was shallow, or just looking for sex.

But what I have found is just the opposite. I am being very honest and authentic when I speak about having fun. What ends up happening is that while having fun with someone, I build a potential foundation for things moving forward.

What also has changed is that I am more willing to go out on a date or two (or three or four) with someone who I wouldn’t have normally dated.

This experiment reinforced for me what I already knew: that if I am too rigid and focus too much attention on what I am “looking” for (and what everything must look like and feel like in that process), I am missing out on allowing myself to experience something special.

couple arcadeSo ~ Be charming, be friendly, enjoy the time you’re spending with this person. If you don’t make it a priority to have fun with the person you’re with, you’re going to get overwhelmed with boring. Who wants that kind of life? I’m sure you don’t. So next time you go out on a date, remember to smile and show off your confidence and fun side and set the intention to have a great time, no matter what!

Creating a Life You Love after Divorce

Creating a Life You Love after Divorce

Divorce Self Discovery

new lifeAs my Empowered Singles movement grows, it seems to be attracting more and more people who are still going through the divorce process – meaning that their divorce is not final. They want to be proactive in life after divorce yet are not sure what they need to be doing at this stage of their life. Most of them feel a bit anxious and are still feeling the effects of the loss of the marriage.

Maybe you can relate. After all, most long-term committed relationships these days break up after about seven years (on average) so chances are you’ve been through a break up. (Sorry to be a buzz kill.)

It is daunting to consider dating after experiencing divorce, especially after spending many years with someone. By implementing a few tips, you’ll become more comfortable and then even enjoy dating because – believe it or not – it’s a process that can be custom-molded to fit your needs AND can be fun if you’re smart about it.

The Right Time to Start Dating

A common myth is that people should wait at least two years after getting a divorce to start dating again. I find, however, that being ready to date is less about a timeline and more about how you feel and how ready you are to have companionship in your life.

Here’s how you can tell. Are you:

  • harboring negative feelings about your ex?
  • feeling angry or resentful?
  • still going through a difficult legal battle?
  • find yourself obsessing or talking about your divorce with your friends so much so that they are sick of hearing about it?

If so, then guess what. You’re not ready.

The solution? Get busy and do things you enjoy. Try doing something you have always wanted to do but didn’t because of marital responsibilities. Consider taking classes to explore what you want to create in your life now. Take your time meeting and getting to know new people. Put less focus on dating and more on experiencing new things and people — with the goal of creating a new you and your new life.

If you decide that you really really want to get back into dating, make sure you properly prepare yourself to become relationship ready. All of my coaching programs are designed to help you achieve that goal.

Also spend some time getting clear on what you’d like your dating experiences to be like. To help you achieve clarity, think about the following questions:

  • What do I want my dating experiences to be like?
  • What is my description of the perfect first date? Second? Third?
  • How do I want to be treated during the date and by my date?
  • What criteria has to be present for me to consider a second, third or subsequent date?
  • When will I feel comfortable with my date knowing where I live?
  • How will I know when I feel comfortable enough to have sex?
  • How will I know when I’m ready to introduce my date to my children/family?

It’s tempting to rush in, so that you can avoid being alone. In my experience, however, dating after divorce becomes a healthy choice when you are madly in love with yourself, know what you want your dating experience to look and feel like, are complete with your past relationship(s), and feel excited about your new found freedom and life.

If you need some guided support, consider enrolling in my Become Successfully Single & Relationship Ready home study program. Click here to learn more and to sign up.

Ask the Coach: Where are all the spiritual guys?

Ask the Coach: Where are all the spiritual guys?

Ask the Coach Spiritual Laws

Dear Coach Linda,
I’ve been doing personal and spiritual growth work for really long time. I am passionate about self-awareness and evolution and I’ve taken every workshop and read every book there is about love and relationships. I have a lot of friends and a career I like. But everywhere I look I find rude men who have done no inner work. I’m frustrated that, after so much looking, I still can’t find the one for me. I feel left out of an important part of life and now, I feel there is little hope of finding anyone to share my life with. I’m afraid of being alone forever. What should I do?
~ Christie

Buddha-with-Heart

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Christie, I congratulate you for pursuing a path of personal and spiritual growth. I feel your passion regarding self-awareness and your evolutionary journey.

It does seem like a paradox: you work diligently on “self-actualization”, to come to a sense of inner peace and harmony … and then look around to find not many other people have done the same. I read the other day that on average, more women tend to have a heightened relational and emotional maturity level that serves as an advantageous gateway to higher consciousness. (This doesn’t mean that all men don’t have emotional maturity – I know many who do.) I also read that women also tend to have more synapses linking to Continue reading

“Survey Says!”…dating & relationship statistics

Attitudes Dating Dating Skills Fulfillment Goals Planning Relationships Solutions Women

Because I am a research geek (I love surveys and statistics), I was cruising around the interwebs, looking to see if I could find any recent stats on Singles in the U.S. I found a site that I’ve now bookmarked, statisticbrain.com, just in case I have the urge to know more about how many people visit national parks and things like that. They did have a pretty cool table that highlighted findings from a survey chronicled in a book called Sex in America, A Definitive Survey. As you can surmise, researchers like clarity, even in their book titles. I’m summarizing the stats that I found super-interesting here – some of which I think you should consider as you map out your scouting strategies – and of course, Continue reading

It’s time to attract the extraordinary!

Dating Skills Dreams Fulfillment Goals Planning Relationships Resolutions Special Events Success

Let’s Make 2014 the Year that You Attract the Extraordinary! Do you want to see all of your New Year’s resolutions come true? Do you want to attract an extraordinary relationship, or make current relationship gleam? Now’s the time get this party started! Let’s shut the door on 2013 and open a new one, to a life that sparkles with good friends, healthy finances and a thriving career – and most of all, let this be the year that you find Continue reading

What are men looking for in a relationship?

Relationships Solutions Success Uncategorized

I’ve lately been talking with some women who are in a whirl over “how to understand men.” Some of them don verbal grenade launchers when they start talking about guys, while others wring their hands, urgently and anxiously trying to figure out the Masculine Mysteries.

When I’m coaching people, I generally redirect my clients’ attention back to themselves because I find that fulfillment is not about changing other people’s behaviors to suit us, or trying to figure out what motivates others. In my experience, fulfillment is about discovering Continue reading

Is your current relationship the right one for you?

Attitudes Dating Dating Skills Fulfillment Requirements Solutions Success

From The Chooser files, an assessment

The other night I hosted a webinar on Being the Chooser – a new paradigm for attracting the extraordinary.

(FYI: I also use the words Creator and Architect interchangeably for the word Chooser – it all refers to the same thing: taking the initiative to create what you want, taking full responsibility for your outcomes and making choices mindful of their long-term consequences…. In other words, think about what you want for yourself in your life. A fulfilling relationship? Success in your career? Financial serenity? Whatever your aims are, to get what you want, you must be the Chooser.)

Continue reading

10 Commandments of Attracting Extraordinary Relationships

Attitudes Dating Dating Skills Dreams Fulfillment Relationships Requirements Self Discovery Success
Just say no to "meh"

Just say no to “meh”

Interested in attracting the extraordinary? Not satisfied with “meh” (or worse, destructive) relationships? Congratulations – and welcome to Empowered Dating & Relationships, a new paradigm. I do not believe – not for one second – that we need to settle for anything less than the very best in our lives. I think that men and women alike can come together from this space of empowerment and vitality and learn to co-create relationships that are uplifting, exciting and Continue reading

What are your top 6 requirements in a relationship?

Dating Dating Skills Goals Relationships Requirements Self Discovery

They might not be what you think.

Couple in fieldMany relationships fail because, despite the initial intense chemistry and attraction, the couple is just not compatible. As they get to know each other more intimately, they realize they have different values, life goals, and relationship criteria. For partners to be compatible, they MUST BOTH have similar values and goals and have their relationship criteria met.

I know that for me, identifying my relationship requirements was Continue reading

And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few …

Dating Dating Skills Fulfillment Homework Relationships Requirements Self Discovery Self-Acceptance Success

Dating & Relationship Lessons I’ve learned along the way

I’m a firm believer in walking my talk so I thought I would share with you some insight, and key learnings, that I’ve uncovered as a result of my many years of making dating and relationship mistakes, as well as a result of going through my relationship coaching certification training. I’m sharing this with you because, in honesty, what I’ve learned has completely radicalized my approach to dating and relationships. I’m pretty darned sure that this will help you, too. Continue reading