Dating wasn’t any level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. But it can sure feel like one sometimes. We generally think it’s a natural process. It’s all about chemistry. You meet someone. You like them. They like you and boom! The magic happens. Cue music. Except it doesn’t always work that way. Not in real life. Sometimes you date someone and they drop off the face of the planet, right when things were just getting interesting. What was it a fear of commitment? Did they meet someone else or get back with their ex? Or else they owed money to the mob. There isn’t much you can do at this point, except pick yourself up and keep going. Then there is for some a worse situation, a kind of dating purgatory. This is when you meet people all the time. You date and date and don’t have chemistry with any of them. What do you do? Some say chemistry is over-rated. It is compatibility you are looking for. Chemistry fades as soon as the “honeymoon phase” has worn off. Then if compatibility isn’t there, there are few things to keep the couple together. Others think you should hold out for someone who knocks you off your feet. So what is the best way forward if you aren’t finding chemistry with anyone you are dating?
You shouldn’t spend a significant amount of time with someone just because you want someone there. But if you have been on a significant number of dates or spent time with lots of would-be suitors and have no feelings at all toward any of them, consider where you are. What is your selection process like? Are you being too picky? Sometimes we want everything in a mate and refuse to settle. But we forget that each of us is a human being. We all have our faults. Consider giving it a rest for now. Focus on yourself. Then come back at it fresh. But begin looking at your dating life from another point of view. Some people are very goal oriented. But one’s love life rarely fits into the plans we’ve made for it. Usually, we say we want something specific and someone comes along and mucks it all up. There are those who have started to realize that their choices in past lovers may have not been the best. Chemistry can sometimes push us toward those who are not healthy for us. It is best to resist it then. But don’t think you will be stuck in limbo forever. Your system only has to be reconnoitered. Just be patient and wait for someone who gives you that “wow” factor and is also good for you.
There are those who find that nerves get in the way. It is often those people who are very reserved. Others are shy and introverted and take time to get used to others. Chemistry cannot be formed when one is experiencing high anxiety, or when one’s date is. Spend a little time with the person who is nice but whom you aren’t sure about. If you or they are nervous or seem to be, spend time in a setting that is comfortable for the uncomfortable person, on their home turf. If you just aren’t sure about them and nervousness doesn’t factor in, try and see them from a different vantage point. A new context or different environment can bring out other sides of a person, ones you may be more attracted to or less so. Take them out with friends, bring them along on a hike or do some volunteer work together. Realize that compatibility with a little bit of chemistry makes for a better long-term relationship than the other way around. You can do novel things together to turn that spark into an inferno. But compatibility on the other hand is an either have it or you don’t scenario. Realize that a love life just doesn’t work the way other aspects of our life like family, friends, or our career does. Those things are relatively straightforward. But a vibrant love life takes patience, confidence, and a great attitude and the ability to start over, to come out the other side unscathed and smiling. Just be yourself. Be happy, open, curious, and practice nonjudgment towards others. Sooner or later someone you fancy will be knocking on your heart’s door. For more on better ways to travail the often bitter landscape of the human heart readThe Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner.
With the way the job market is today, many people are putting off marriage. The omnipresent focus on advanced degrees and career development puts a damper on young people’s love lives. They have to put all of their focus on developing their career. It’s normal to be single right into your thirties today. Around the late twenties or early to mid-thirties is when people are marrying, or as the trend increases choosing instead to cohabitate long term. Having children has been delayed until somewhere in the third decade as well.
Though it’s normal to be single even well into your thirties, and some prefer it that way, lots of people feel anxious about their love life if they don’t have someone serious at their side by this time. Women are feeling this sting particularly poignantly. But they shouldn’t worry so. Being single in your thirties today can even be natural. Lots of people feel lost without any clear path that one should take. It’s hard to figure out for yourself what you want in life and if it’s doable. But here is some advice to make dating and singleness in your thirties a more positive experience while you seek out your romantic path and pursue whom you meet on the road to love.
First, don’t build up a callous or bitter heart due to disappointments from the past. Lots of people clump the opposite sex together in a negative light when they’ve been unlucky in love. We are all guilty of it in some point in our lives and to a certain degree. The truth is that if you want to have a positive experience, you need to be enthusiastic. No one wants to date a sour puss. And if that’s all you are putting out there you are driving good, qualities mates away and perhaps attracting the wrong ones. Of course it is painful and heart wrenching when things don’t turn out right and we get hurt. No one and nothings seems to be able to cut so deep as being injured or spurned by someone we cared about. But at a certain point you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there again. It’s the same with a sport, an interest or a hobby. You have to work at it and you can’t let obstacles stand in the way. When you lose a game, you don’t give up the sport forever. You practice harder and come back to the playing field, not sulking but with your game face on. Don’t focus on your biological clock. It will make you choose the wrong person or make the wrong decision. Many a nasty divorce had its seeds in an anxious marriage. If it is really weighing on your consult your doctor for medical help such as freezing your eggs or sperm. This could free you from such worries. Know that you will date a lot, sometimes the wrong people, and that’s okay. Don’t fall for grass is always greener syndrome. Understand that everyone has faults. Find someone who has great qualities and faults you can live with, in time.
You’re getting those feelings again. Butterflies in the stomach. Goose bumps. A buoyant, prickly feeling when a certain someone is around. You have the hots for them, that’s for sure. But how do you know when it’s love, lust or just infatuation? Here are some surefire signs you are falling in love. Are you always thinking about them? Clear your mind and then think of the word love. Do you picture their face as soon as the word comes to mind? If so, your psyche has already decided for you. It happens instantly. You have no control.
What happens when you hear that person’s voice? Pay careful attention the next time you hear their voice. When you first recognize it’s them, do you smile? If you can’t help but smile cupid may have punctured your heart with his arrow. Do you two experience the what-seems-like-forever goodbye? When you just can’t seem to go, and keep looking back even as you are leaving, you are definitely smitten with this person. Do you two take part in long bouts of playful teasing? Lovers love to tease one another. It’s oh-so-much fun you never want it to end. How frequently are you talking? If you just want to spend every waking moment with the person, and no matter how much time you spend with them, it never seems like enough, you are head-over-heels in love.
Some people feel awkward around a new love interest but can’t pinpoint the cause. You want to be with this person and yet when they are around, you close up. You feel shy even if you aren’t normally that way. Your heart can start racing and you feel scared. You are just being overwhelmed by your emotions for a moment, it will pass. Some people fall in love this strongly, some don’t. Lots of people when they go ga-ga for someone read their emails and texts over and over again, relishing every word. They make grand gestures, make a scene or just act not themselves around the object of their affection. Sometimes you change and everyone notices the change in behavior but you.
Sometimes when two lovers meet a heat and an energy is exchanged between them. Locking eyes, exchanging smiles and sighs inhabit the empty spaces of their conversations. You can tell when you are in love when the world seems brighter and more alive. You kiss and hug everyone, including your lover, with more spunk and passion. You are more patient, caring and understanding of others. You miss them when they are gone and it hurts deep. When you find someone irresistible it is because you are in love. Now that you know, it’s time to find out if they really love you back. To learn more about this phenomenon read, The Art of Falling in Love by Joe Beam.
Should you stay in a Relationship that is Just Comfortable?
Many of us have been there. You love someone but you aren’t in love with them. The relationship is very comfortable. There may be places where you don’t see eye-to-eye. But by and large, you have fun together, run a good household or just enjoy each other’s company. The person is perhaps a good choice for a mate. They are stable and kind. But that euphoric, weak-in-the-knees feeling has left the building. So should you stay in a relationship that is just comfortable but doesn’t give you fireworks or butterflies? There are really two schools of thought on this. The first is a very practical view. That is, stay with your partner. The reason, there are relationships and even marriages who do have that spark. Also, the candle that burns twice as bright often lasts half as long. Then a terrible breakup occurs and you are left all alone. The other scenario is one waits around forever. Instead of having the loving experiences available, one waits alone for a proposition which may never come. Why not, as the song says, love the one you’re with?
Sometimes these relationships that are comfortable used to have novelty. Kids, careers and a pileup of years have made them too comfortable. Here experts say the spark can be rekindled. One way to do so is to share novel experiences together. Travel to exotic lands, take part in exciting activities like sky diving and bungee jumping, learn a new skill together such as cooking or swing dancing or interact through a new sport such as karate or kayaking. These can reignite the spark. Another way is through reminiscing. Some relationship experts say merely having a date night can do it. This will inject some romance—you know interacting as a couple again instead of the person who takes care of a list of household duties. Then there are those who use their sexual interests to jumpstart their relationship. They may start to talk about and fulfill each person’s deep seeded fantasies, the ones they never spoke to another soul about. Some couples explore tantric sex or BDSM together to reignite that spark.
But then there is another school of thought, held by the fiercely independent who are not afraid of making it on their own. This type is perfectly happy by themselves. They won’t accept anything less than earth shattering love. If they work at it and can’t get it from their relationship then they end it, sooner or later. If the person they are dating doesn’t provide this feeling than they’d rather not be dating them. This type is generally focused on an important passion, mission, artistic pursuit, their children or career. They say if you really aren’t in love then you are just going through the motions, or else settling for a paltry mediocrity. Which interpretation is the right one? That all depends on the kind of person you are. If you are fiercely independent why not go for the love that will fill the space in your heart? See if you can reignite it with your current lover before you do something drastic. But if they cannot fulfill you why stay with them? Those who are a bit more practical and believe their relationship suits their needs should instead try and find ways to rekindle the flames. For more on this read the book,Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix.
Have you ever looked at what you thought were the perfect couple and thought, “I want to be like them.” Well it isn’t fate or happenstance. Good relationships have certain qualities in them. They don’t come prepackaged. Anyone can practice them, and indeed should. Here are relationship skills used by happy couples. The first one is empathy.
Sympathy is knowing how someone else feels and showing compassion for them. Empathy is really feeling what they feel, knowing how they feel and showing compassion. Don’t assume you know how they feel outright. Our assumptions without the benefit of reflection are usually wrong and may anger or hurt our partner. You don’t have to have lived through the same thing. Use your imagination and walk a mile in their moccasins. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to be in their position. What are their concerns, priorities, responsibilities and actions? What did they expect and what occurred instead? Once you understand their point of view intimately, from inside their head, then discuss things with them.
The next is called emotional validation. When your sweetie is upset or angry, let them know that you understand how they’re feeling, and that they have every right to feel that way. Give them your concern and sympathy. You may think that they will be even more upset with you. The truth is they will likely calm down and be able to discuss things with you rationally and calmly. That’s because you’ve validated their emotions. Emotional validation is something we all need. When we feel upset, angry or frustrated we want our partner to understand why we feel how we do, and sympathize with us. When this happens we experience an emotional release from the tension we were feeling.
Lastly, use civility and consideration in your relationship to make it healthy and happy. Little gestures such as letting someone sleep in, flowers, a small token, a handwritten note, a compliment or a big hug can change the tone instantly. These things can decrease the intensity of an argument and give room for talking and working things out. Often couples get caught in a cycle of negativity. One gesture won’t change that. But if you develop a routine of civility and consideration you can change that cycle. It’s particularly powerful if both partners become committed in breaking a cycle of negativity and replace it with a positive one. For more advice read, Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills by Georgianna Donadio.