Written by: Kylie Feller, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Yes, dating can be challenging. It often activates a lot of past pain and hurt. It can activate our fears of not being good enough or ending up alone. There is a lot more going on than just going on a date for many people. Understanding this can sometimes make it easier, to not take it so personally. It can actually be an opportunity to get to know yourself better and opens the door to growth, healing, and authentic connection.
We also put so much pressure on dating, we all want to find our person. If you go into dating though with this intention in the front of your mind it will make it really hard to see the person sitting across the table from you. We can so easily project our wants and dreams onto another person that we are unable to really see who they are. This is how so many people get into relationships that do not work for them, they were blinded by their own desires and wants and could not see the red flags or the incapability in the beginning.
I find to make dating easier it is good to know and acknowledge our own biases and to also get clear on what you want and don’t want in a partner. Also, to treat it as an experiment, a way to get to know yourself better along the way.
If you have a history of unhealthy relationships or just not being able to connect with the right people you may also want to have a counselor or coach help you as you navigate dating. I personally suggest an Internal Family Systems coach or counselor help you understand and heal the parts of you that get activated while dating so you can be more present and connected to your authentic self.
5 Tips That Can Make Dating Easier
1. Choose An Easy First Date
I think dinner is too much for a first date. You want to choose something really easy so you can just feel out their energy. You might even want to try a video call or you can just meet for a coffee or a walk. I know during the pandemic walks were my favorite because I like going for walks and then if they did not show up or I was not feeling their energy I at least got a walk-in. You can even reframe this first meeting as just meeting up with a friend or another human being, no pressure very relaxed and easy.
2. Treat it like an Experiment
Treat each date as a learning opportunity. You get to learn more about yourself and other human being. Take the pressure off yourself and them and just think of it as a way to connect with another person. It can be good to learn how to communicate about yourself and how to listen to another person. It can be a good opportunity to observe yourself and how parts of you respond to dating.
Do you have parts that begin to run too far in the future without being curious first about who this person is? Do you have parts that get really nervous and critical of yourself or others when you date? Do you have parts that are scared of dating if so what are they scared about? Do you have parts that get anxious? Notice and then get curious about yourself and the other person, you are gaining good knowledge about yourself and the work you can do with yourself to make dating easier.
3. Learn Your Attachment Style
I think every person should learn their attachment style early on in life. We all have one and it really impacts our relationships. Your attachment style impacts how safe you feel in relationships, who you are attracted to, your beliefs about yourself and others, how you respond to others, your thought patterns in relationships, your comfortability with intimacy, and how you will respond in conflict, etc.
Knowing your attachment style and having the ability to see others and talk about this is a huge strength in relationships. Once you know yours you can begin to work with it and communicate better what your needs are. No attachment style is bad it's just a survival strategy for you and you can learn to work with them and have others support you as well. Everyone can get an earned secure attachment.
Here is a quick attachment assessment by Diane Poole. It's good to read the books Attached and The Power of Attachment as well. Also the book You Are The One You Have Been Waiting For by Richard Schwartz has lots of great tools to help you work with and heal your attachment system. He did a podcast episode on the book as well which is really great.
4. Know What You Want
What is it that you want out of dating? There can be different answers as it might change and depend on where you are in life. Sometimes you may just want something casual because you are focused on other goals, and it would take too much energy to be in a relationship. This is okay but also be aware of who you are letting into your system, we can easily become attached (this may be for people who are more anxious like me). Are you looking for a more serious relationship, if so don’t go on dates with people who are not interested in this as well? What do you want in a partner? What are your goals, values, and life plans, do you want those to match with who you date? These are good things to know right away. We can have some flexibility but knowing what you want can make dating a lot easier. You will know what to ask, what to be aware of, and what to communicate. Choosing the right dating app can greatly impact your dating experience, so make sure to look for reviews from reputable sources and pay attention to feedback from actual users. You can also evaluate the features and functionalities offered by different apps, such as their matching algorithms, communication tools, and privacy settings. Experts at OnlineForLove compared eHarmony and Match features to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right dating app. They reviewed the unique features and functionalities of each platform, such as their matching algorithms, communication tools, user profiles, and subscription plans. By taking the time to read and compare such reviews, you can gain valuable insights into the pros and cons of all dating apps, and ultimately select the one that best aligns with your dating preferences and relationship goals.
5. Be Compassionate
Be gentle and compassionate with yourself as you date. Dating will activate and trigger our most vulnerable wounds and fears. Can you notice those vulnerable parts in you and can you hold them in love? Being able to be there for ourselves when parts of us are hurting is such an important part of having healthy relationships. Being able to soothe and comfort yourself will help you so much in life. Through dating, you can learn how to be there for yourself more. Kristen Neff has some great free resources on her website and on Insight Timer to help develop more self-compassion. Internal family systems are also another great approach for this.
Kylie Feller, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Kylie Feller, M.A., is a registered clinical counsellor and life coach. She specializes in helping people understand and heal trauma while connecting them to their own innate healing force, their True Self. She believes that there is nothing people cannot heal and that all individuals can thrive and flourish if given the right formula. She has also launched an online program to help individuals navigate dating in a way that promotes greater growth and healing called, Swipe Right into Loving Yourself. She is a trained Internal Family Systems therapist, Empowerment Coach, Akashic Record Coach, Reiki Healer, and Yoga Teacher. She works with individuals one-on-one online helping them to access inner transformation so they can truly succeed in all levels of life.