It goes without saying that everyone who choses to meet with the Linx team has expressed interest in finding a relationship, but that doesn’t mean everyone is actually prepared to be in one. In fact, figuring out whether or not someone is ready for a relationship can be quite complicated. And it’s interesting to see the ways in which we all get stuck in places and patterns that keep us from moving forward with our lives.
We often talk about helping people break free from their current dating inertia; for some clients, that involves helping them learn how to date for the very first time; for others, it involves reintroducing them to the dating world after divorce; and for an unfortunate few, it can mean helping them meet incredibly trustworthy, loyal individuals after an experience with infidelity. These are all, obviously, very big stumbling blocks when it comes to getting into a relationship and they take a lot of work to overcome. But smaller obstacles can be just as detrimental when it comes to letting another person into your life, and we it comes to find love, many of us are more guilty of standing in our own way than we realize.
Lately, Amy and I have seen a pattern of more and more first(!) dates not even happening because of poor communication and scheduling conflicts. This is incredibly disheartening for us because we put so much work into each match behind the scenes. But beyond that, it’s a huge missed opportunity for everyone involved. And it’s often the result of unreasonable expectations, inflexibility, or not being honest about the amount of time you have to pursue a relationship.
It’s sometimes the case that people honestly do not realize how busy and overcommitted they are until presented with the option of an introduction. If these are temporary social or charitable engagements that will clear from your schedule in some reasonable amount of time as you get to know someone, don’t sweat it; most of us actually find it attractive when some has a full and active life, and even look forward to eventually being part of it. Be upfront about your commitments – give your date a roadmap to let him or her know how quickly those obligations might clear, and dating should pretty easily fall into place from there.
If, on the other hand, you find that you really can’t plan to get together because you constantly work late, are always traveling, are on call, or don’t know your schedule, this may not be the time for you to be dating. And you should admit that. If work is controlling your life, don’t expect a potential date to let it control his or her life, too. This may not be your fault, but it’s also not fair to the person attempting to date you. Let them go for now. With some luck, he or she will circle back when timing is better on both sides. But if you press forward when you really don’t have the availability to build a relationship, you’ll just end up engendering hard feelings and frustration. No one wants that.
If, however, you can’t seem to find the time to meet because you’ll only have a first date on weekends (but don’t have any free time for the next three of them), can’t go out on Thursdays (because you have your fav yoga class on Friday mornings), don’t like Monday dates (because you’re too tired after work), refuse to have a weekend breakfast date because they aren’t romantic (even though you’ll only meet on weekends and don’t have any free weekend evening for the next month) then you may be standing in your own way. And that is your fault.
It is really, really important to be open and honest about what you need when you start dating someone. But it is equally important to not be totally rigid and difficult when it comes to the things you want. You need to be home by 10pm if it’s a weeknight? Fine. You need to meet in the city or in Silicon Valley because you don’t have a car or don’t have a ton or time? Perfectly understandable. You only want Saturday night first dates scheduled six weeks in advance with regular phone calls and texts beforehand, and you expect your date to be patient, excited, and agreeable because this is what works best for your social/exercise/shopping/travel calendar? Absolutely not. When you’re that limiting and specific with your date, you’re not just telling him or her that you’re busy – you’re telling your date that you expect to dictate all of the terms of your relationship, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that message. Ever.
Being flexible isn’t just about dating someone who doesn’t look like the actor you fantasize about or the crush you had in college; it’s about stepping out of the box of your life and realizing that your future is going to look exactly like your present unless you start to make different choices. Amy hates asking the question “Are you single?” because it’s both too vague and too specific at the same time. She always prefers to ask people “Are you available?” because it’s important to know if they’re unattached, interested in finding commitment, and willing to do the work it takes to get there. It’s like asking “Are you single? Are you looking for love?” and “Are you willing to invest in another person in order to find it?” all at the same time. It’s important to be flexible in a lot of ways when you start dating someone, and that includes being flexible with your time, your attitude, your tastes, and your expectations. In fact, flexibility is the difference between being single and being available — it’s a measure of how open you are to being surprised, and how willing you are to take a chance on trying to make something work. It also happens to be attractive. 😉
So what about you? Are you flexible or are you rigid? Are you open or are you closed? Are you just single and expecting a stranger to walk into your life, compliantly play by your rules, and make sure that you live happily ever after? Or are you available – ready, willing, and able to meet someone else in the middle, prepared to no longer be the obstacle that stands in the way of your own success, and open to finding out what it’s like to let someone else co-star in your personal pursuit of happiness? The question is yours to answer, but don’t forget that it’s an answer you’re constantly sharing with the world.