Dating – like life – is an expectations game.
When you’re expecting something incredible, life usually disappoints (how could it not?). But when you keep your expectations in check – you’re often surprised to the upside.
Matchmakers will also tell you this: when you first meet someone and have “incredible” chemistry, you often overlook the fact that you don’t really have that much else in common.
So forget about “love at first sight” – here’s 5 ways your “okay” first date will lead you to (true) Love:
- Focus on what matters: when you’re not overly focused on someone’s looks, you tend to get to know them better. Physical chemistry – no matter how strong – can fade over time. Its the stuff below the surface that truly matters.
- What grows slowly stays forever: chemistry’s important when you meet someone new (who are we kidding), but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming – even a little bit will do. Once you get to know each other, that chemistry can grow over time – and that’s the chemistry that can last a lifetime.
- Swipe the slate clean: in today’s dating app obsessed world, its easy to think you’ll know the right person for you right away – just ‘swipe right’ and let the dating universe handle the rest, right? Wrong! Some things in life – especially relationships – take time to develop. Put your phone down.
- Friends (with benefits): have you ever met someone great but then thought “I think we might be better as friends.” Here’s the thing: at the core of every successful relationship is a great friendship. Yes, you do need some chemistry for sure – but just a little at the start is okay. Stop getting in your own way and see them again!
- What’s the worst that can happen?: so you’ve had an ‘okay’ date, but instead of ruling them out entirely, you decide to see them again (and again). Here’s what might happen next: you get to know each other better & chemistry grows; or, you decide that you’re better as friends and become friends. Sounds like two pretty good outcomes to me!?
Are you confused about how to make love last?
Here’s the key ingredient that’s often overlooked: when relationships break down, you can bet that respect has already gone out the window.
But rather than trying to figure out all the different components of how to make love last, focus instead on creating an atmosphere of respect with your partner.
Here’s 5 practical ways to begin increasing the level of respect in any relationship:
- Take your own life seriously: your health, your finances, your career, your mental and emotional well-being. It’s your responsibility (not your partner’s) to ensure that you are functioning as a healthy adult.
- Express gratitude: every day, look your partner in the eyes and say, “thank you” when they do even the simplest thing to make your day nicer. It’s amazing how easy it is to take those closest to us for granted. A simple, but thoughtful expression of gratitude will help you remember how special it is to have someone care about you. And, it will ensure your partner feels acknowledged and appreciated.
- Be real: when challenges arise between the two of you, avoid cheap ways of discharging your pain by name-calling, eye rolling, sarcasm, ignoring them or being intentionally hurtful. Try this instead: openly communicate exactly how you’re feeling – without any drama. When in doubt, try the truth.
- Focus on what you do respect about your partner: is your partner great at their job? Do they have a kind, compassionate heart? Are they a committed parent? What you focus on expands and this is definitely true in our relationships. When you intentionally choose to admire and appreciate your partner, you will begin to notice more and more of the things that make you feel proud to be with them.
- Accept that your partner has legitimate needs: just like you, your partner will need emotional and physical safety, regular touch and closeness, a sense of purpose, solitude, recognition, etc. When we spend a lot of time with someone, we can forget that they are a separate individual with valid needs of their own. We see this often with desire for sexual intimacy or your partner’s need to zone out for a while after work.
First impressions matter – in dating & in life – whether you like it or not!
People generally ask themselves two questions when they meet someone new: “Can I trust this person?” and “Can I respect this person?”.
But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It just means you need to MASTER the art of the first impression.
How you ask? By doing these 6 simple things:
- Positive body language: becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice and making certain they’re positive will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the speaker are all forms of positive body language, which can make all the difference.
- Be the best version of you: make an effort to look your best, and have positive energy. You’ll never bore someone into liking you.
- Ask before you tell: ask your date some engaging questions. Trust and warmth are created when people feel understood, and they need to be doing a lot of sharing for that to happen.
- Put away your phone: it’s impossible to build trust and monitor your phone at the same time. Nothing turns people off like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.
- Start well: in dating, all’s well that starts well. Be prepared with some fun conversational topics & avoid awkward silences at the start of your date.
- Active listening: active listening means concentrating on what the other person is saying, rather than planning what you’re going to say next. Asking insightful questions is a great way to illustrate that you’re really paying attention. If you’re not checking for understanding or asking a probing question, you shouldn’t be talking. Not only does thinking about what you’re going to say next take your attention away from the speaker, hijacking the conversation shows that you think you have something more important to say. This means that you shouldn’t jump in with solutions to the speaker’s problems. It’s human nature to want to help people, but what a lot of us don’t realize is that when we jump in with advice or a solution, we’re shutting the other person down and destroying trust. It’s essentially a more socially acceptable way of saying, “Okay, I’ve got it. You can stop now!” The effect is the same.
Your perfect match is out there somewhere, but they’re probably not perfect. Then again, unless you’re ‘perfect’ yourself, meeting someone who is won’t necessarily be a perfect match for you.
The key to relationship success is finding someone who’s not perfect, but perfect for YOU. It’s not just about looks and immediate “chemistry”, its also about finding common interests and common ground that are the foundations of long term happiness.
So if you’ve met someone new and you’re wondering about your future relationship prospects together, here’s 4 signs that you’re a perfect match:
- Going places (together): one of the easiest ways to tell if you’re a good match with your partner is to plan a trip together. If one of you wants to hop in an RV and road trip to Mexico, while the other wants to fly first class and stay at a 5 star resort, that’s a sign that you aren’t a good fit. Travelling together (particularly ‘off the beaten track’ travelling) also tests your ability to make decisions together – a vital part of a successful long term relationship.
- Common interests: as simple as it may sound, having some common interests that you love doing together is an important part of being happy together. Also, making an effort to try some new things that your partner likes doing can give you even more reasons to spend quality time together.
- Finding the right balance: matchmakers will tell you that people who share similar attributes are generally more suitable long term relationship partners. ‘Opposites Attract’ can lead to initial sparks, but problems down the road. Having said that, what’s most important is finding someone who compliments you. If you’re the life of the party, perhaps your partner is more grounded. If you’re extremely ambitious, perhaps your partner is more stable and supportive.
- At your best: when you’re with someone who makes you feel good about yourself, your chances of relationship success are enhanced. This allows you to relax, be yourself & comfortable in your own skin. Couples who are constantly searching for things to talk about, or never feel truly ‘comfortable’ in each other’s presence, can struggle to find the deeper kind of connection required for long term chemistry and relationship success.