Dating again can be difficult – expert advice on rebuilding trust and doing what’s right for you

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Thinking of returning to the dating scene, but feeling completely out of practice?

Consider the safety of Covid (plus the Love Island overload) and all the other pandemic anxieties we’ve been dealing with, this is all bound to be a little weird and intimidating.

We sought advice from dating and relationship experts:

Make a plan and start slow

If you find the thought of spending an entire evening with a stranger, or being in a busy pub or restaurant to be really anxiety-provoking, think about what makes you comfortable.

“I suggest my clients start slowly, having a drink or coffee that doesn’t last longer than an hour or two. If the weather allows it, a picnic or a bike ride could be a great way to get the chemistry going, ”says Charisse Cooke, relationship therapist.

I forgot how!

Confused about how to present your “best self” right now?

“So many people will naturally feel out of practice with dating, and that’s okay – the only expectations on a date are the ones you create for yourself,” says Sarah Louise Ryan, expert in dating. dating and relationships.

“Remember, it’s just a meeting between two humans. Realize that you are more than enough, and just being genuine yourself – forget what the “best” looks like, because that’s so much pressure in yourself – and focusing on if this person is right for you and your wants and needs, helps you move forward again in your dating power.

“Do not pass this power on to someone else considering that you are not confident or conversational enough. With the right person, you’ll settle in and things will start to flow naturally. “

Get out of your head

But what if you spend all of your time worrying about what they’re thinking or what to say next?

“One of the best ways to get out of your head and live in the moment is to focus on the person in front of you and stay present,” says Ryan. “It so often happens that people focus so much on being loved, or being accepted or wanted by the other person, it means distracting from the end goal, which is to see if you love them. “

Breathe

There might be a temptation to go all the way. If you’re in the mood for fun (safe of course!), There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But take a break to think about what you’re in the market for. “It’s been a lonely time for singles, and the danger now would be to get somewhat reckless in our dating style,” says Cooke.

Beware of the urge to ‘make up for lost time

Dr. Marisa T Cohen, internal relations expert at Paired couples app, says self-care is an important part of the picture. It will help manage stress and anxiety as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Plus, prioritizing time for yourself – and hobbies that give you a boost, good friends – might help avoid “date fatigue” and overwhelm you.

“Don’t schedule yourself too much because of the perception that you might have wasted precious time dating someone and meeting your partner,” Cohen says. “We’ve gone from a period of minimal in-person socialization, so jumping with both feet can get overwhelming quickly. “

Release the pressure

Likewise, the pressure to find someone quickly could intensify. We all have times of desperation in dating (we’re just humans!), But keeping a healthy outlook is something we can work on. “Relax by viewing each encounter as a meeting with new people and an experience, rather than an interview with your last romantic partner. It’s called ‘dating’ for a reason, ”says Ryan.

And trust the process. “Know that the person you’re looking to meet is looking for you too, stay positive,” Ryan adds. “If you find you don’t like it, change your approach and try something new. “

What do I really want?

Could there be some positives that we can take from this strange time as well? The pandemic may have provided a chance to clarify our goals and values, the dating dynamics that really didn’t work for us before, and what we really want in a partner.

“The containment has given us all a new perspective on things. Our time is precious and the people we invite into our lives are important, ”says Cooke.

Ryan suggests, “Start being clear about your values, so people who don’t align with them are left out. Work on creating boundaries to say no to those who don’t serve you and to be the energy you want to attract. If you are happy on your own, enjoy your own company, and live a life you love full of meaning and passion, there is no doubt that you will attract someone who is like-minded and have a happy, fulfilling relationship. Focus on building the relationship you have with yourself and fill your own cup, so to speak. “


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