Learn to date – Part one

This is for both genders…no-one is exempt!

I have become quite taken by a song by country singer Shea Fisher, titled  “Don’t chase me (‘less you’re willing to catch me)”.  In the murky waters of dating and relationships, I believe she has a quite valid point to make.

For some people – too many people – the search for the One has resulted in a long and messy trail of first-and-only dates, short-term relationships, and what seems to be rising levels of infidelity (both men and women) within marriages.

I think relationships are yet another casualty of our retail mentality.  Which is too say, we do a lot of window shopping, cruising from store to store, trying on one person after another, and throwing them aside because they are not “perfect” for us.

Now, I am the last to advocate settling for someone you don’t love deeply.  Settling is a very, very bad thing.  But what I am saying is that if you find someone who is close to your ideal, then actually give them a chance.  Stop making every little thing on your “perfect partner” list into a deal-breaker.  And bear something else in mind – if you do find someone, who is perfect is every respect…what makes you think that YOU live up to their standard of perfection?  Yes, it does work both ways.

Being single, I have my fair share of those one-and-only dates.  Some of them are one-and-only for very good reasons.  Like the guy I met for lunch, who proclaimed himself to be a spirit healer, and then tried to use that to persuade me that I needed to listen to the spirits (through him) and become his lover (yes, this is over a LUNCH date!) in an open-ended relationship.  Open-ended because the spirits had told him he would be meeting his soul mate later in the year, so he couldn’t commit to anyone else.  Er, yes.  The point being, if you meet a loser, nutcase or anyone else waving red flags, run for the hills.  If they are so boring you would gnaw your own arm off to get away, then say “thanks so much, wish you luck in your search, goodbye”.

But if he or she is most of the way there, but just not your laundry list heart-throb…for heavens sake, give them a chance.  At least 3-4 dates in different environments just to see if they do have potential as a person.  After all, if not your one and only, perhaps they might make a really great friend (and one whom you can then set up with your single friends).  Consider it to be networking.  And remember there is no possible way for someone’s great qualities to all emerge in the course of one date.

We create a great deal of misery and loneliness for ourselves because of the way we approach dating.  We often have unrealistic expectations of the other person, and are subsequently disappointed when they fail to perform as we had visualised.  Remember, they are a person too, and may be as nervous as you (or even more nervous!).  Also, there is a tendency to behave differently on a first date – trying to be the person you think the other person wants you to be (this ties into the whole expectation thing).

So essentially, what I am urging is this…try and get past the first-and-only date block.  Give them three or four to allow you to find out more about them.  Treat them as a person and not a commodity.  Dating is meant to be a process of getting to know someone…not making snap judgments.