Dating without expectations

You would think with all of the online dating and mobile app options we have to meet someone, it would be easier, but it seems as though the challenge of finding compatibility is ever present and hasn’t changed. If you are looking to make a meaningful connection with another person, and you are struggling to find someone who is the right fit, this is the article to help change your approach to dating. Here I will discuss why dating without expectations is the best strategy.

Reflect on our past relationships

Take a moment, right now, and reflect on your past relationships. Let do a dating inventory. Think back on the relationships you have been in and which ones seemed to work out the best. What were the common characteristics when things went surprisingly well? What was the common denominator when things went into a downward spiral?

Now, think back to your first love. How did it evolve? What were your expectations throughout the process? Were you thinking out every moment or step? Probably not. Have you noticed that when you do meet someone who was perhaps compatible in some way when you changed your approach and mindset more towards enjoying them and being in the present, it had a dramatic effect on the way your relationship evolved with them?

Reset the way you date

Let’s do a reset on how you approach relationships. When you meet someone, what is your thought process? Are you looking at them and envisioning the next date, the one after that, a romantic engagement, wedding, kids, etc. If so, I have 4 words of advice, “Stop That Right Now.”

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Seriously, back up for a minute and let’s start that date entirely over from the beginning. Instead of focusing forward, don’t focus at all on the future. Be here now. That’s right. Listen attentively, ask questions and get to know the other person. Don’t make snap judgments about them. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t assume how they think or why they may do something. Ask them. And, just be cool and go with the moment.

There is something to be said about the power of spontaneity and not overthinking each interaction and being of the mindset that every relationship is meant for a lifetime. The truth is, most relationships won’t last a lifetime. Very few do. Some relationships are for a reason or season. But, if you start dating without expectations it will increase your chances of finding a relationship that will sustain itself longer.

And, until you find the one that works best for you, you have to learn to pause and be patient. And even more importantly, each relationship teaches you something in preparation for a longer-lasting one.

Move beyond the superficial

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have any expectations when it comes to dating. But, what I’m saying is not to have too many expectations either. Be clear on your deal-breakers because this is perhaps one of the easiest ways to weed out people you know won’t work to fill your needs. But, also, be fair and get to know what is beneath the surface.

It means you no longer have a type. Having a type is very ineffective and can leave you with limited options. It also means you will not judge a book by its cover: how your date dresses, their career, where they live, etc. I’m not saying just date, anybody because that would be ridiculous. What I am in fact saying is move beyond the superficial and look deeper. What are their core values? Do they have a moral compass? How do they operate in the world? Adjusting your preconceived notions about someone and not getting stuck on superfluous things is the beginning of changing how you find love and cultivate better relationships.

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Steps that you need to take

Are you getting the hang of it now? Adjusted expectations will open up a whole new world for you. Setting unrealistic expectations will do just the opposite and frustrate the heck out of you. Now that we have that out of the way, here are some things you can implement quickly to change the way you date someone as well as your expectations.

1. Widen your social circles

Get out there and have some fun. Do things that you enjoy. Don’t go with the hope of meeting someone. Go instead with the expectation of having fun and trying something new. Stop looking for love. I’m serious. When you look, most times you don’t find. But, when you are having fun and just living your best life, it’s odd how that person who can be compatible has a way of finding their way into your orbit.

2. Stop dating your type

If I had a $1.00 for each of clients I’ve coached telling me about their type and staying in this mindset when dating, I’d be a very wealthy woman by now. If you don’t trust me, ask people who have been in long-term relationships if they married who they thought was their type. Their answers will surprise you. Often, who you think you need, isn’t really what you need and doesn’t show up in the way you would assume. Be open-minded and please don’t get stuck on a type.

3. Take one date at a time

Yes, be in the moment of that particular date. Don’t forecast into the future. If it goes well, you could be on to something, but don’t overthink it. Go with the flow. The best and surprisingly most connected relationships are built unexpectedly and over time. It takes time to build something of quality, so let time be your friend. Time will reveal a person’s personality, characteristics, grit, and some of their other less desirable traits too. Remember, time is your friend!

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4. Be realistic

We have talked about this ad-nausea, but to reiterate it once again, take your time and get to know the person. Don’t prejudge. If nothing else comes out of this exercise, it will make you a better dater and more attuned to connecting with someone who is the ideal match for you.

Ok, now you have some tips to help you readjust your dating expectations. Sometimes it only takes a tweak or two to figure out how to make dating work better for you. Now that you have a realistic approach, your experiences should be better, and you never know love might be right on the horizon. Good luck on your journey!

Elizabeth is a relationship coach often referred to as the 'relationship whisperer.' Her philosophy is that relationships take a focused effort. Finding the right person is one of the most important decisions in life and should be attended to with attention and care. Elizabeth helps her clients prepare for, find, and nurture healthy relationships.

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