Serious Dating Advice
by Diane Linsley

The best dating advice I can give you is to know yourself first. And
take care of yourself. These are the main themes of this website.
Here are some coaching articles to help you get started:

Voice Dialogue - Are you familiar with your subpersonalities or
primary selves? In this video, Hal Stone talks about the importance
of knowing your primary selves and those of your potential partner.

Values Process - When you know and can articulate your values,
you will more easily attract someone who shares your values.

Cognitive Development - If you are into personal growth, the last
thing you want is a partner who scoffs at your spiritual life. Do you
know your level of cognitive development, and can you identify
the level of development of other people?

Secrets of Self-Care - Hungry people make poor shoppers. Fill up
your cup of love before you go on a date. Desperation is a turn-off for healthy people and a magnet for abusers. "Men love women who love themselves." ~Pat Allen

More Things to Know About Yourself

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment - According to this research, attachment style is the most important factor in the happiness of your relationship.

The 5 Love Languages - Take this free test. Do you recognize how your partner is trying to love you, and does he recognize your love language?

Personality Type - The most common test is the MBTI, which you can take on the 16 Personalities website. You can then find out which other personalities go best with yours.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. This book helped me love myself as an introvert. Then I stopped trying to make extroverts understand me. Mixed introvert/extrovert relationships are common, and they can work. But they can also be painful. It's best to go into it with your eyes open.

Enneagram Type - A person's personality is more than just their MBTI type. If you enjoy personality typing, read The Enneagram by Helen Palmer. It explains a lot about relationship dynamics.

How Your Child is Smart by Dawna Markova describes the six learning patterns involving different combinations of visual (V), auditory (A) and kinesthetic (K) abilities. Our learning patterns influence everything from what we choose for our careers and hobbies to how we interact with other people.

Does he love you by writing emails, love letters or poetry? Does he teach you things? He may be a VAK (enjoys reading, writing and teaching). Does he love you by drawing pictures, taking photos or creating works of art? He may be a VKA (visually oriented and artistically creative. He may be a slow speaker).

Does he love you by talking, telling stories or giving you compliments? Does he have a beautiful or resonant voice? He may be auditory first (AVK or AKV). Does he love you by doing physical activities with you? Is he athletic or interested in building things? He may be kinesthetic first (KAV or KVA).

Writing a Dating Profile

When I decided to try online dating again in 2018, I literally read over 1500 profiles, and I rewrote my own profile dozens of times in an attempt to make it as clear and accurate as possible. Here are some things I learned from my experience:

State your intentions at the beginning. Out of the 1500 profiles I read, only about a dozen made their intentions clear. Are you ultimately looking for marriage or a long-term relationship? Don't be afraid to say so. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who doesn't want it. That hurts later on.

If you are looking for a short-term fling, then admit it! There are plenty of people looking for the same thing. Why waste time flirting with people who are looking for a committed relationship?

I've heard that there is a correlation between intelligence and the length of a person's profile. People with a higher education tend to write longer profiles. They are also more likely to include a book list. This is helpful to know if you are looking for mental compatibility.

The more pictures you have, the more attention you will get. The more questions you answer, the more trustworthy you will appear. The more information you provide, the less people will project their own fantasies (positive or negative) onto you and misunderstand you. Think of it as truth in advertising.

Include things you've learned about yourself, such as your personality type, love language and values.

Dating Tips

When starting out, date several people at the same time for comparison. It's like shopping for clothes. You don't walk into the store and buy the first shirt you see.

I started out dating three men at the same time. This wasn't natural for me as an introvert, so I got stressed out and confused. But it was helpful as I was getting back into dating after a long break. It prevented me from getting attached to the first person I met. Eventually, I realized that none of them were right, so I said goodbye to all of them. Shortly thereafter, someone more compatible came along.

Be aware of the pendulum effect. For example, many people swing from an avoidant and withdrawn partner to an emotionally volatile sex addict. Another common polarity is extrovert to introvert. I did this when I divorced my ESTJ husband and found an INFP boyfriend. I did it again after I quit dating an ESFP man and started dating an INTJ man. It's uncanny how the universe brings us opposites in order to help us understand things. In Law of Attraction coaching, we call it Clarity through Contrast.

How clear are you about what you want? Clarity comes from experience. After dating someone, I make a list of what I like and don't like about them so I can figure out what's right for me. Rather than feeling discouraged by a poor match, I congratulate myself for making progress. This process is called Celebrate the Closeness of the Match. As John Gray says in Mars and Venus on a Date, "Even the wrong person becomes the right person to help us self-correct and move on."

How do you feel when you are with your date? Your feelings are sometimes more accurate than your thoughts. More than once, I continued dating someone who didn't feel right because I thought it should be right. My rational mind couldn't figure out why I felt so unhappy around them, so I disregarded my feelings as I tried to "think positive." In the end, my feelings were right, and I regretted not listening to them. Don't try to force yourself to feel positive! Feelings are a source of information.

On what level can you communicate with your date? In The Seven Levels of Intimacy, Matthew Kelly describes seven levels of communication. You can control the level of intimacy in your relationship by how you communicate.

Warning Signs

"It's better to be scared than sorry." ~Christiane Northrup, Dodging Energy Vampires

You don't have to trust anyone. One narcissist I dated tried to convince me that it was wrong for me to be wary at the beginning of our relationship. He spent an excessive amount of time lecturing me and shaming me for not trusting. Does your date respect your need to be cautious and to listen to your own feelings, or does he bully you and try to overcome your resistance?

Don't confuse love with pity. You become like the people you hang out with. Do you admire your date? Or are you trying to fix him? Does he have to change in some way for you to be happy?

Matthew Hussey calls it the "One-Day" Wager: "Trading in your time, energy, emotions and intimacy on the hope that the person you're giving it to will one day become what you want them to be." Do you have to get in a time machine and go back to the future in order to be happy with this person?

Past history is a predictor of future behavior. Ask lots of questions about your date's past relationships, including his relationships with parents, siblings, friends and partners. When he gets over idealizing you, he will treat you the same way he treats everyone else in his life.

Read How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk by John Van Epp. This book is full of good advice - all of it scientifically validated. For example, knowing someone for more than 2 years before getting married can cut your risk of divorce in half.

Enlist the help of your unconscious mind as an early warning system. I had four dreams about a guy I was dating - all with the same theme of abandonment and heartbreak. Once I quit seeing him, the nightmares stopped. I could have spent months learning the hard way, but my dreaming mind already knew he wasn't right. Read The Complete Dream Book of Love and Relationships by Gillian Holloway.

Here's a video about how to know if you are dating a narcissist. Here's one about sex and narcissists.

Masculine and Feminine Polarities

When it comes to masculine and feminine energy, opposites attract. The person who initiates the relationship and does the pursuing is the masculine person. If a woman is feminine and wants to attract a masculine partner, she needs to avoid chasing men. Otherwise, she will end up with a man who feels to her like a little boy, not a real man.

Of course, some women prefer this dynamic. But if you're a woman who has been frustrated in the past by ending up with passive men, then you need to change your strategy and your energy. You need to embrace your feminine side and wait for a masculine man.

When I was young, the only way I knew how to get dates was to take the initiative. Otherwise, nothing happened. It was the logical thing to do, right? But that's how I ended up in bad relationships. Consider that someone with an avoidant attachment style can only be in a relationship if someone is chasing them. Leave them alone, and you'll avoid a world of trouble.

Stages of Relationship

According to Patricia Allen, the first year of a relationship has four stages. The first three months is the Perfect Phase - when you think that your partner is the perfect soulmate. The second three months is the Imperfect Phase - when you start seeing their bad traits. Most relationships end in this stage, especially if one of the partners has a fear of intimacy (an avoidant attachment style).

The third three months is the Negotiable Phase. If you are still together at this point, you start to negotiate about money, space, time and activities. The last three months is the Commitment Phase. If negotiations go well, then you move into a committed, long-term relationship or engagement.

Keith Witt says, "Love affairs almost always begin with, 'I'll stay as long as,' commitments....'I'll stay as long as my needs are being met.'

"This is normal and healthy, and most relationships end before people spend a lifetime together. These are often successful relationships that ran their course, and people moved on - hopefully wiser and more able to love better in the future.

"If we feel that we want a life partnership with a person, the commitment needs to shift from, 'I'll stay as long as,' to 'I'll do what it takes to make us work.' This is a massive change in commitment!

"'I'll do what it takes' means that when problems occur (as they always do because all intimacy involves suffering to some extent), we don't waste time separating, debating with ourselves whether we should stay or not, or tolerating unacceptable behavior.

"'I'll do what it takes' commitments mean that problems are recognized and addressed with the understanding that our job is to get back to love.'"

You can ask yourself, "Is my partner as committed as I am?" If you feel like you are doing most of the work in the relationship, you may want to seriously question whether or not you are with the right person. If this is a recurring pattern for you, you may want to work on increasing your self-esteem and overcoming codependency.

A Good Attitude

My final bit of advice for dating is to enjoy the process. Don't get so attached to the outcome that you forget to live in the present moment. It helps to have a goal that keeps you grounded in the Now. For example, my goal is to learn something new from every person I meet.

Every person is a new world to explore. I enjoy the process of getting to know someone and trying to understand them. I know that I'll never understand them in all of their magnificent complexity, but I can have fun trying.

Dating is more fun when you approach it with an attitude of curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to learn more about yourself and others.

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~Rumi

Here's a guided soulmate meditation.

Be well,
Diane Linsley

As a life coach, I use many different processes to help
people with their personal growth. Click here if you are
interested in coaching with me.

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