By Dillan DiGiovanni
Most of us who are single date, or want to. Whether you’ve been “out there” for a while or are just getting started, equip yourself to win at what is often a tough game. Why do some people seem to ace it every time? Dating is often not easy. To circumvent the drama and grief that often accompanies dating, get and stay fit inside and out to present your best self and attract the best possible mates as you survey the landscape of potential partners. Focus on your intent, your attitude, and your own health and watch how things unfold.
Are you dating to satisfy the expectations of your grandmother or parents? To replace a lost love? Do you scour the Internet or clubs or bookstores searching for someone because you think they will complete you?
If so, stop. I mean it.
Dating to meet someone else’s expectations or because you feel incomplete without a partner are the wrong reasons. Dating should happen when you feel confident that you want and need to find another person (or people) to love you and help you grow, and you want to offer them the best of your own self in return. If you start out with this as your intention, you will notice how quickly your own attitude and your experience shift in a positive direction. If your own self-esteem and confidence are shaky and you’re ambivalent about what you want and need, you will attract someone who has those same qualities. Avoid this by spending a good amount of time assessing why you’re considering dating another person. Ask yourself what you want to get out of it, and what you are willing to invest. Be clear about what you are looking for. Read: If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl, PhD.
Once you have (relative) clarity about what you want and need from dating another person, take time to read up on some good books about dating (I said, GOOD ones) or consider talking to a therapist or counselor to align your own motivations and internal health. We all have stuff in our past that might make us feel like we don’t have much to offer in a relationship or that we are too good to find an appropriate mate. Neither of these is true. Chances are, if you head into a relationship willing to grow and become healthier, you will attract someone with that same intention. Start by being selective about your time and your body. Don’t give anyone and everyone access to you. Someone showing interest in you is nice, but check your list of “ideal attributes” and see if the person matches up. If not, move along. Your mental and physical health are extremely precious and you shouldn’t compromise them for anyone who brings less than his/her/ per best to the table. When you see the dating process in this light, it may alleviate the anxiety and stress. You are in the driver’s seat. You choose when, where and why you are spending time with someone. Does this sound cocky to you? Selfish? Good. Chances are you haven’t spent enough of your life worrying about your own needs. It might sound counterintuitive if you’re attempting to create a partnership. My opinion, however, is the more you are taking care of yourself, the better you can take care of someone else. The more you listen to your own needs, the more compassion and empathy you can have for another person’s. Good boundaries around self-care and self-esteem can only lead to more harmony in a relationship. Read: In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want by Iyanla Van Zant.
YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Sleep more. Drink more water. Exercise because you love it, not because you pay a monthly membership fee. Journal or talk to good friends often. Sleep more. Eat food that is grown and produced locally for optimal nutrition and for the health of your community. Eat less processed foods full of sugar, salt and the wrong kinds of fat. Drink less alcohol. Stop smoking cigarettes.
Your health and well-being should be in primo shape before entering the dating scene. Meeting new people and being vulnerable with them is hard work. You will have the best success if you’re sleeping at least eight hours a day, drinking at least eight glasses of water and eating three balanced meals, for starters. What do you do to connect with others? What is your connection with nature and the world around you? What are your identities? What gives your life meaning? Spend more time answering these questions and improving your health and less time searching for your mate and you will be amazed how quickly that right person finds you. Read: Heal Your Body by Louise L. Hay.
To win at the dating game, be clear on your intentions, adjust your attitude about what you want, need and deserve in an intimate relationship and take good care of your mind and body.
Based in Cambridge, Dillan is a certified wellness coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She teaches her clients how to stop second-guessing themselves, start eating better and begin living more intentionally.