Nope, nope, nope, yup, nope
Online dating is so superficial, isn’t it?! With endless matches ripe for the swiping, you’d think finding the one would be a walk in the park. Yet, after yet another tragic date and a referral to the physiotherapist for your inflamed Tinder finger, you’re still single.
So, how can you go about finding a real connection in this digital age? Well, I’m not exactly sure, as I’ve just been yanked out of the hurt locker by friends to scope out the dating scene, and it looks pretty grim.
The lost art
What happened to meeting someone at a friend’s BBQ, nervous phone calls and answering machine messages, talking to someone (in person) or asking them out on a date? Instead, we kick back in our underwear with a beer and superficially swipe through faces and creep people on Facebook.
Chivalry is at an all-time low, and women expect everything on their “list”. A first date used to be brimming with butterflies and anticipation, but now it’s just another hookup or X crossed off this weeks list. People have become so mindless about dating that they’re unable to devote 100% of their attention to a single person, and heartfelt efforts have been replaced with carefully selected emoji’s.
F*** you Jerry
One other real problem is that Jerry Maguire messed with our heads in 1996. Now we’re all searching for someone to “complete us”, when in reality we should ensure we are complete before jumping into a relationship.
When we search for something we don’t currently have, we focus on what’s lacking in our lives, we stress about being single; and the more we imagine how life would be so amazing if only we were in a relationship—all the while missing out on the great shit we already have in our lives.
We find love when we stop looking for it. It’s been said a million times because it’s true, and you need to start heeding the advice. Buddhists believe that the one thing we can learn to depend on is our own self. They teach us to look after ourselves instead of chasing experiences or people to fulfill our needs.
Much of the need surrounding dating is an attempt to fill a void or numb previous wounds with a new relationship. We bury our hurt with a dating binge, or leap head first into a new relationship. The truth is, taking the time to fully explore your lingering broken heart, your thoughts, and yourself; and grow from it, is the mark of someone who actually gives a damn—which is rare.
What do you love doing? Do more of THAT. What makes you come alive? Do more of THAT too. The best way to find love is to love yourself. Spend time cultivating your own life, improving yourself, nurturing your friendships, dealing with your issues, and get that self-worth stuff figured out. Imagine the fun things you could’ve done in the hour you just spent swiping…AND you might have met someone awesome at the gym or on the trails. It might take a little longer to make a connection this way, but when you do, you’ll be in a healthy spot to let love in.
Many of us unconsciously (or consciously) believe that our self-worth comes from the outside, and this mindset causes a whole lot of problems in and out of relationships; we become addicted to needing constant love and approval, we rage when people don’t behave as we expect, we’re consumed by feelings of jealousy, we shatter when that person leaves us, and we enter relationships to fill a void or numb our fear—this doesn’t allow us to be our best and most authentic self.
Know your attachment style
The more we understand ourselves, the better we can show up for others. Attachment style is how we behave in intimate relationships, as a result of early childhood interactions with parents and other caregivers. There are three main styles of attachment—secure, anxious, and avoidant. You can do an attachment quiz to find out your attachment style, and then learn about them here. With this information you can better understand yourself, and have more empathy and understanding for your partner.
Love isn’t a hurt locker
I joke that love can be a hurt locker, but it isn’t love that hurts, it’s how we behave towards others and ourselves that stings. Love is patient, kind, and unconditional. I’m just as guilty at times of being too hard on myself, of letting others words and actions get under my skin, of wondering if I’m good enough—it’s in this space—you need to learn to forgive yourself, love yourself, learn a lesson and move forward. In relationships it’s important to welcome the full experience, and within this full experience comes lessons to be learned, beautiful experiences, and a greater ability to respond to the ups and downs.
You get what you give
For a relationship to stand a chance, it’s important to enter a partnership as a whole, well-rounded person. It’s not about what you’re going to get, it’s more about what you can offer. So, what can you offer? Dating brings out all our fears and vulnerabilities, so you better have taken some time to figure yourself out.
- Love yourself, and your life, first.
- Take people as-is.
- Always be yourself.
- Be kind.
- Whether your relationship lasts two months or 20 years, there’s always something positive to take away.
- Really, it’s just about finding someone you like to be around.