My guess is that you’ve been dating a while and not getting great results. You’re here reading this, after all. The best way to shift into having dates that render positive outcomes – like having more fun and eventually meeting The One – is to change the way you talk to yourself before you even leave the house.
Whether it’s a meet-date or a date-date, there are two things you can tell yourself that will improve your chances of meeting Mr. I Love You. And here’s the great thing about this: it’s 100% in your control. (After all, we do love our control, don’t we?)
Self-talk #1: “I hope I like him.”
This was the one thing I learned from my coach that changed my entire dating experience. For years I lived in a perpetual state of disappointment and self-doubt. Why aren’t they picking me?! Then I learned these magic words: I hope I like HIM.
We usually approach meeting men with the “I hope he likes me” feeling. Then, anything short of getting a second date feels like a personal rejection and failure. But what if you start with whether he seems to be someone you like? Can you see the difference?
The focus then shifts to how you and what you want and need. You stop trying to read his mind – Does he like me? What did he mean by that? – to what really counts: how you feel being with him and if you are having a nice time.
Self-talk #2: “Discover, don’t Decide.”
There is hoping you like him, and then there is hoping that every date will be your last. This is especially true of women dating over 40. Enough already, right? But let’s face it: all but one of your dates will be your last. If you go to each telling yourself “I hope he’s The One,” you will explode from the pressure.
So…take off those rose-colored glasses. This is the lens you look through when you’re always hoping he’s The One. And if, by chance, a second date comes up, the lenses can go a deep hot pink. That’s what starts us searching for signs of hope and connection with every word and action.
We can find the silliest things to validate our belief that he’s special…and this could be IT. I’ll confess: on my first real date with Larry, when I saw his CD collection in his car, I thought, “Oh geez…he could be the one! We can talk so openly, and he loves all the same music I do…and we read the same authors! What a great sign!”
And then…fast-forward an hour…and he did something that really bugged me. (Out of respect to him, I’ll keep this detail to myself.) And in an instant I thought, “Deal breaker. That’s it; another one bites the dust.”
All of the sudden I was looking through a different color lens: maybe black. I set out on the path to uncovering his fatal flaw.
I went from planning our wedding to “Here we go again – another disappointment” within 60 minutes. It was getting distracting and exhausting. So I recalled the lessons I had been learning and I took off the glasses. I let all that judgment go. I just told myself to enjoy being with him “tonight” and see where it goes.
Thankfully, I was able to turn off the voices in my head and not jam him into a “he’s the one or not the one” slot. I was able to give us both the breathing room to really learn about each other. It didn’t take long for us to fall in love. (Apparently it took him about two weeks. Men can be so much smarter that us at this stuff.) Larry absolutely was and is the man of my dreams. I am so grateful that I was able to remove my glasses and see him for the man he is.
I know it’s so hard to keep our expectations, hopes and dreams in check. But please go into your early dates with the attitude of just getting to know him and how he might enhance your life. Take the pressure off of both you and just be open without the burden of having to come out of it with a thumbs up or down. Take off those glasses, put your expectations on hold, and you might actually DISCOVER who your date is before you DECIDE who he is. How refreshing (and relaxing) is that!
I have been dating someone for almost three months now and we are continuing to learn new things about each other. Almost every week something happens and I hear myself saying in my critical voice, “This is it. This relationship is not going to work for me!” Then I think what would Bobbi say, and lean back relax a little and talk about it with him. I am so fortunate to have found someone who listens, understands, and is willing to work through and accept differences. AJ