A rather recent article by The Gottman Institute catches readers’ attention by discussing how relationship expectations are constantly changing our fast-paced, modern society; in positive and negative ways. Especially the advancement of technology, the youth, food, atmospheres, and especially the way people go about relationships with their family, friends, and significant others. It almost seems like modern times expect people to be okay with disengaged, detached, and guarded dating. Since the beginning of time, humans have needed and desired forms of connection. We are not meant to be companionless. However, it is so common to not provide our relationships with what they need but rather always looking for the next best thing. This is what the social media culture is telling us, that the things that used to be simple are just not enough. Many of us are guilty of it at times where we aspire for certain Relationship Goals which often result in comparison and indecisiveness between potential partners.
Without further ado, the real question here is: What can we do to have dating experiences that are more authentic than what we are used to? Everyone deserves to have a meaningful relationship. Here are 4 steps to stop disengaged dating and create a true and raw connection:
1. Build intimacy through Love Maps
The translation for the word intimacy means “into me see,” which correlates to the meaning that it is allowing your emotional self to truly be seen. This can only happen if you accept and know yourself fully then you can allow someone to “see” you and will be able to “see” them in the returning favor. According to Gottman himself, in every good relationship it is important to have a friendship first. This allows you to form the fundamental basis for passion, and intimacy where you can know each other to the fullest capacity. Anywhere from likes and dislikes, dreams, hopes, aspirations, stressors, fears, worst and best memories which is their love map and the map to their heart.
2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable
It is important to be aware of the definition of vulnerability. This can be translated as an individual who faces their uncertainties, emotional risks, and exposures, while knowing they are still enough. This can be very difficult for anyone who has been hurt before. Trust is built over time. This is why it is extremely important to try to get to know someone instead of going from date to date and not giving anyone the chance.
3. Express fondness and admiration
Have you ever been dating someone and thought ‘wow, this person is amazing?’ Or has your date given you a compliment or done something so nice for you and you chose to keep to yourself what you wanted to say? Nice thoughts about others are supposed to be said out loud instead of keeping them to yourself. Expressing gratitude, admiration, and fondness increases your friendship, affection, and respect in a relationship. In a content relationship you believe that, despite your partners flaws, they are still perfect in their own unique way. So be brave and tell them! This will help make a great relationship in the end.
4. Embrace conflict
Disengaged and detached dating looks a lot like dating someone in the dark. Games are played here where you feel the need to guess your partners emotions, assuming you yourself know things when you don’t in order to avoid being let down, and avoid conflict in order to not let anything get ruined between you and your partner. Never try and change the person you are dating. It is very important to understand where they are coming from and vice versa. Create a safe place and atmosphere from the beginning to have healthy dialogue and be able to talk about your differences amongst each other.
Regarding dating, many of us have had our fair share of trial and error. As we get older, we are experiencing more of life and are becoming wiser with each new experience. It is with these new experiences and knowledge that we can come to realize that dating takes vulnerability, courage, and a willingness to listen and communicate. This may be a little more challenging to get used to but is crucial in a healthy, long-lasting relationship.