Monday, July 31, 2006

Online Dating Lessons

As adults, the dating world can be such a challenge. This is especially true if you have come out of a long-term relationship and have not been in "the game" for quite a while.

There are many traps out there that you need to avoid. Avoiding the traps is an "inner game." This is done by paying attention to your own thinking and emotions and being honest with your self about what you are thinking and feeling.

Here are three of the most common traps, the signs and symptoms, and most importantly, what to do instead.

The Fairy Tale Trap

Remember all the fairy tales we heard and read as children? While most of them had good moral lessons to teach, they were still fairy tales.

Yet we handle so many of our relationships, especially love relationships, as if we believe the fairy tales are real.

We expect our perfect ideal partner to just magically show up someday, without any effort on our part.

Here is how I hear it expressed by many of the singles whom I coach:

"One day I just looked across the room, our eyes met, and I just knew he/she was the one!"

Well, maybe yes and maybe no.

Either way, after the glow of the "newness" of the relationship wears off, you still have to learn to live with another person - messy at it's best.

I see so many people get hurt this way.

Solution: You just have to take responsibility for your own relationship choice and take an active role in finding a good match for your self.

Don't just react to the people that choose you, as in "I'll like this person because they like me." Interview a lot of people for the position of your partner.


The Rescue Trap

So may singles get caught in this one. They believe that if they can just meet the right person, then all of their emotional, financial, and other problems with living will be solved right away. It's a trap, for one reason, because that is way too much pressure to put on anyone. In addition, this convinces you that you have very little power to affect your own life. This one leaves you feeling desperate and needy. When problems multiply instead of disappear, the relationship is likely to fail.

Solution: First of all, there is a proverb that says, "Without a vision, the people perish." I believe this is true for relationships as well.

What is your vision for your relationship? One way to get started on your vision is to ask the question: "If I could write the screenplay, what would it look like?" Know that your relationship will not exactly match the screenplay. Too may times we look for a custom tailored perfect fit in an off-the-rack world. This is just a question to get you started on creating your relationship vision.

The second thing you need to do is resolve your personal, emotional, financial and other life problems before you commit to a long-term relationship. You then stand a much great chance of relationship success.


Date-To-Mate Trap

Ever try to put a round peg in a square hole? This is one of the dangers of the date-to-mate trap. If you go out into the dating world with the goal that you must find a long-term relationship or even marriage, you set yourself up for trying to make something fit that does not, cannot, and will not fit.

I had a coaching client once who entered into a marriage relationship knowing he wanted children and knowing that she was ambivalent at best about having children. The outcome is predictable, is it not? The couple eventually divorced over this issue.

Having children was a requirement for this person. A requirement is something you must have, and is non-negotiable. In this example, you cannot have half a child.

Solution: Be very careful of becoming an instant couple, especially just to be with someone. Know what your requirements are in a long-term relationship, and settle for nothing less. Taking this position scares many of the singles I coach because they believe it greatly reduces the number of available partners. While this is true, remember, it only takes one.

Date a bunch of different people without the pressure of the date-to-mate trap. This solution greatly increases your chances of finding the one.


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