How to Stop Hating Dating in 3 Steps (with elaboration)
Step 1. Stop treating dating and finding a partner like a job.
In other words, stop seeing marriage and a partner like something you have to achieve in your life.
While watching a Disney film and leafing through a magazine that romanticized Asian women being sold off for marriage, I noticed that marriage is being treated as a business exchange. Yes, this is a tail as old as time, but I thought to myself, how could I ever cope with such experience? How would I be able to enter a marriage like that without feeling objectified as a human being? I am not judging “other” cultures, as this is ubiquitous, but I was doing this as a thought experiment.
I realized that I would need to treat dating like a job. I would dress a certain way. I would talk a certain way. I would choose certain careers, hobbies, and friends based on their connections. I would interact strategically with other people and even with my family, whose job it would be to market me. My relationship would not be based on love, romance or attraction, though that would be a perk. Rather, it was a way of achieving something in my life. This sounded very familiar. Too familiar.
Even my friends have lamented how much dating “feels” like their second job. They could draw analogies to how online dating is like networking. How the dates were meetings over food or drinks. Each person essentially interviewing one another and selling their resume that would land them that title. They secretly tested each other and checked off the boxes on their lists, seeing if their expectations were fulfilled.
“Sorry, Bob, but we don't have a place for you right now. I just don't think you're a good fit."
Finding a partner is a not meant to be miserable and boring experience, or at least it's not fully cerebral one. You need to be in touch with your sexuality, body, soul, mind and feelings. Let it be an exploration of how you experience yourself and another, together. There is no rush, because there is no goal.
Does she light your pants on fire but never make your heart melt? Does he excite you with conversation but never make you feel relaxed and open? Then, maybe it’s not a good match, or maybe this relationship is a place for both of you to learn and grow, or maybe you need to explore these areas in yourself!
Step 2. You must mourn the fantasy that you can treat it like a job. Do this by tossing out the checklists, the musts, and even the no-ways. Do this until you have cleared your personal agendas completely.
Let go of what you are trying to project onto the other person. You need to let go of thinking how this person's going to fit into your life and what this person is going to do for you emotionally or otherwise. Also, let go of how you are going to fit into their life and how you're so perfect for them. This can be a very crushing experience, because it seems like the only way to make anything happen in your life, but it's really the thing that distracts you the most.
You need to start learning how to live in your emotional and physical self in alignment with your rational and intellectual self. You need to learn how to experience pleasure deeply while truly connecing with another person, without needing anything from them. You need to learn how to be with the person equally, giving and receiving: fluctuating in an endless waves.
Finding a partner is a felt and experienced thing, where you learn and grow together! You must build a relationship with the person and it will be better than any fantasy or box you put them in.
So, you may have many lovers, teachers, gurus, friends, partners, etc. People who teach you how to be in your heart. People who teach you how to be in your body. People who teach how to be in your soul. Also, people who teach you how to be with your sexual, sensual, and erotic self. This may be several people over the course of many years. If this is more pain then growth, consider stop the dating and do personal work (e.g. therapy).
Step 3. Stop the interviews and start having fun!
Yes, that’s more vulnerable and messy. Stop having meetings and invite the person to go have fun with you. Go hang out. Try something new together. Show them your favorite things and go back and forth. Go relax. Go volunteer. Just be together.
If you find the process of dating is more pain than growth, call me for a free 15 minute consult about how I can help you stop hating dating! Abby Volk LMFT LPCC email@example.com, 415-878-6030, www.counselorsf.com