Wednesday, 27 April 2016

How not to date...

Reset, revive and realise... Or something like that!

Hello there readership! After my little trip back to Perth and making it through Valentine’s month, I am back and thank goodness I wasn’t inundated with loads of love letters as that would have delayed this blog even further. As I begin the month of April I have one mission; to be little more true to myself in one area…

This month I thought I would continue on from my previous blog about dating. Those who know me well know that I hate it. I come from a place of 'I don't need anyone', I am just fine as I am – not that I am a social hermit but I just want someone to complement me and for me to support. I also figure it would be best for my future girlfriend to have a partner who actually likes herself. I’ve had to spend some time reflecting on who I am and liking myself again and I would rather wait until I want a relationship. However, I kept being pushed and had a disastrous 'set up' last year which didn't pan out well, so I jumped back in my safety cage. I think it further emphasised that if you need a relationship you ‘settle’ for someone who isn’t right for all the wrong reasons, whereas when you are not looking, this is when you find the right person… because someone stumbles into your life who you ‘want’ a relationship with, because you are not settling through need and you may just end up meeting your true ‘match’.

Talk is easy however and sometimes I am not terribly strong.  Towards the end of last year a few friends toyed with my phone and I ended up on some dating apps. I met some of the characters outlined in my previous blog about dating. However, I should point out that I should probably be writing about myself with my 'foot in mouth Tourette's' and over eagerness due to my motto of say what you feel, but let’s save that for another blog.

So let’s get onto my ‘wisdom’ of how not to date, because I know I am chilled, fun, protective and exceptionally caring... However when I date I appear like a bumbling, over excitable puppy who should have probably been left on a leash outside by the lamppost. I have to have a lot of self-dialogue with myself to stop all my natural knee jerk responses. It's mainly because I detest bullshit, game playing and dishonesty so I probably go in too much 'heart on sleeve'. I am reflecting upon the last time I was very attracted to someone which was nearly 13 years ago.... So I thought I had better reflect upon how bad I was so it is fresh in my memory. That's right… this blog is written for cathartic and therefore exceptionally selfish reasons. What!? It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to.

I also realised, about 2.5 years ago I was able to give the most insensitive advice to my friends who were dating because when you are in a relationship you forget the joys of dating. Dating is great on one hand because it is like being 15 again, and dating is bad on one hand because, well, it is like being 15 again.

Be cool:

Now before I start this part, let’s just be clear, I am cool. I am laid back, chilled and like taking life as it comes (if any of my close friends are reading this, don’t laugh). Sure I love to make a plan and head in that general direction but on the whole in basic day to day things I am cool. When am I not cool do I hear you say? Well probably after a successful date… When I met my ex after our first couple of dates I didn’t read the rule books about when you should text and say you like someone and I flew out of the blocks on the ‘B’ of the bang. Let’s face you are at this stage because you think, oh I do enjoy this persons company and they clearly like mine. This is what normal sane people think, however my brain was not wired this way.

Essentially dating is like attending a lot of job interviews which you go into thinking I need a job and therefore when you get that ‘offer’ you are so over excited that you jump at the opportunity without really assessing the job or company properly – you just think ‘someone wants me’. However, if you approach dating more like you are ok in your current role but you want to develop yourself further and really enhance and compliment a company, then you approach your job search differently – you assess the company, you speak to the company, you ask lots of questions and you want to work hard for that company… You get the analogy? So be cool, this is as much about you as them.

Outcome: Do not act upon any information your brain is providing over the first 72 hours post-date. Most of this communication in your brain comes from self-doubt from dating the ‘Charlie Lima Indigo Tango’ tease. Be cool, not too cool as we’re not playing games here but let’s remember what it’s like to be on the receiving end of dating the ‘U-haul’.

Don’t listen to lust:

We all know the beginning phases of dating are swirling with lust, when you feel you have chemistry with someone. It is a highly addictive feeling, now I have never been a substance addict but I am a complete chemistry junkie, if I feel I have it with someone then I want my next fix. It is an amazing feeling but let’s revert back to ‘be cool’ as you don’t want to freak the other person out by coming across that you are head over heels while you are really 
riding the chemistry wave. Lust may also blind you on any alarm bells that may be ringing, like when your date tells you that her ex-girlfriend snored one night so she kicked her out the following morning as sleep is like, really important to her.

Outcome: Take your time lover, be self-aware enough to not dive in and start horizontally dancing (or vertically, because that can be quite fun too) too soon. This just leads to further emotional attachment and before you know, your fourth date is your moving into a two by four with six cats.

Don’t start planning your future:

This could be a totally girl on girl outcome, but it is very easy after a couple of good dates to start imagining your life with someone. It’s also something sensible to do to help you avoid getting carried away with lust. Equally it is bad as before you know, in imagination land you’re in a two by four cuddled up on the sofa with Netflix. You’re thinking how great this imaginary life is with someone you have known for five seconds. Take a chill pill.

Outcome: This can also spiral you into appearing like the ‘U-haul’, it is a very tricky balance. You can also scare yourself out of something potentially good. So try not to get carried away at this stage as it can also lead to…

The freak out:

If the other person is equally attracted to you and starts to message a little more than you would like try not to freak out. Let the process be organic and don’t miss out on something potentially good because the other person is just very upfront about what is going on in their brain (unlike you who tried to keep it under control so you don’t cause the freak out):

How do you manage the freak out? Well, you have to be very honest with the person. Treat them how you would like to be treated… Hey I like you, but please can we take this a little slower. It’s all about respect.

Do what feels right to you:

That’s right, listen to yourself but by removing yourself from your own situation. What advice would you give a friend in the same boat? Had a bad date and don’t want to jump back on the horse? Don’t jump on the horse. In fact jumping on horses can be dangerous for both you and the horse.

Had a great date and want to see where it goes? See where the hell it goes. Had a great date and feel like freaking out? Freak out, but revert back to listening to yourself when you remove yourself from the situation. And if you feel like communicating with your date… Probably wait until the freak out is over and be honest. Had a date and there is no chemistry? There’s no chemistry, don’t over analyse it, be honest and move on. The most important thing is to be authentic and unfortunately vulnerable, because people, this is how we experience a true connection with a significant other.

Outcome: Sorry, I am just in awe at my sensibility to the above. I wish I could totes take my own advice. If I could apply my own advice, I would probably date more often.

It’s very easy to say this now… I am hoping now I am older, I have learnt from my previous dating mistakes and if I am lucky enough to start dating someone properly again it will be because of that person, not because I am ‘making myself’ find someone. If that makes sense? You don’t need someone else to make you whole – you are whole, but you want someone who complements you, who supports you and who loves you for you. If you do find someone who you think is truly a wonderful person then don’t be a dick… be yourself, don’t play games and communicate.

In summary:

We all forget how incredibly vulnerable dating is. It’s about risk sometimes with your own heart and someone else’s. There is so much going on in your head… Did I really learn enough from my last relationship? Will I make the same mistakes again? Will I treat this person well enough? But all you can really do is own your own shit. Don’t try to assume what the other person is thinking or feeling as this will ultimately drive you crazy. Just own your feelings and don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Don’t game play, be honest and open yourself up as ultimately you will eventually find someone and it will be worth it. However, as I preach this wisdom, I am sure by the time this is published at the end of April I will have deleted all the dating apps and purchased 17 cats to watch Netflix with. Although there is a small part of me that hopes that someone will stumble in, mainly so I can do what makes me happy and that is to be part of a team again with someone who is awesome.
Written by Corina Hawkins, soon to be author of ‘Tattoos of memories’ with a little help from Lauren Kamasz and Katrina Peden.

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