The 5 most important points in early dating often decide the course of your romantic future. At each of these points, there are intimacy-skills that make all the difference in the world. In this episode, you'll learn the key skills to navigate these crucial points with wisdom, self-love and bravery.
Table of Contents
- The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating
- The Best Places to Meet People
- Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness
- The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love
- Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating
Episode Introduction: Important Points in Early Dating
There are five points in the early dating journey where there needs to be an infusion of a few wisdom skills. In this episode, I'll tell you what each of those five points are and the skills that will help you move through those stages to help you be able to find the love that you are seeking. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm Ken Page, and I'm a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating and the host of this show. And today, I'm going to be talking about five particular points in the early dating journey where just a few skills can change your entire future in love and intimacy. And I'll be telling you what those points are, and what those skills are.
This week and every week, I'm going to bring you the greatest tools that I know to help you find beautiful love and keep it flourishing. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.
If you want a transcript of this episode, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You'll find it there. If you join my mailing list, you'll find out about a host of free resources, and courses and classes. And you'll also get a free gift.
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I also just want to say that everything I say in this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice. if you feel you need help with serious psychological issues, please do seek professional help.
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So I think that there are five points that you could kind of think of as trigger points. Points that are super, super important, where there are choices that you make that affect the rest of your future in dating. Hence, the rest of your future in life.
I want to point out what those points are. And then I want to say that what I really believe is that if we can kind of do a trigger point injection of just a few really important skills at each one of these five points, the degree of empowerment, and healing, and change that will happen can truly be profound.
I constantly, constantly hear from people who are saying, "I'm experiencing relationships now that are intimate and connected, and warm and healthy." Maybe sometimes people say it for the very first time and it's because they are implementing these skills which are not Ken Page skills or Deeper Dating skills. They're just the skills of love and the skills of intimacy.
So let me share these with you.
The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating
The first point that I think is a really key point is an online dating point. It's the creation of your profile. I just want to say a few things about creating your profile. What you want to do in your profile, and this is really important is to kind of show who you authentically are. Which means the things that matter to you, the things that bother you, the things that bring you joy. The things mostly that give you meaning, and that you have passion about.
You want to describe yourself in a positive way. You don't want your profile to be, "I don't want this. I don't want this. I don't want this." Of course, it's important to list the things that are just absolute deal-breakers. But we definitely don't want to come from a jaded place in doing our profile.
The main thing is that we want to reflect who we are. So if there are stories that you can tell about things that have happened to you or things that you've done, that really kind of relate to what you want to capture but what you're looking for and what matters to you. That is a great thing to do.
Don't worry about being witty. Don't worry about being funny, and charming, and writing this perfect highly polished profile. I mean, it's nice to have a really nice profile. I am all for that and you definitely want to show that you put time and effort into it. But you can also show the real you, and that's such an important thing to do.
A Metaphor for Your Entire Dating Journey
This is a metaphor for your entire dating journey. It's that experience of saying, "This is who I am and I love it and I'm going to be this person. I'm looking for people who really, really like what I have to say. And anyone else just is not for me." So there's a huge metaphor there. There's a universality to what you do when you do your profile because it's like what you're going to do when you do your dating.
The other thing I want to say is that when you look for pictures, of course you want pictures that make you look really good, that show you in your best light. But find pictures as well that show you glowing. You with that kind of quality that the people who love you the most would see these pictures and say, "That is really you." In other words, do not be afraid to show yourself.
So this is just some points that I think are really important in writing your profile, that we don't always get taught. We get veered down the direction that we have to be really witty, and really charming, and whatever else. So yes, authenticity in your profile written from the heart is a big deal. It will draw people who are interested in finding someone like you. These are all obvious things, but they're really important things.
So the second kind of trigger point, choice point, really important juncture or nexus in the process is looking for people, searching for people. This applies in the online world and the in-person world as well.
To Feel Safe Inside Is an Important Point in Early Dating
This is something I've said so many times, and I will say so many more times. It is a sweet, and powerful, and transformative tool. And that is that when you meet people, you think, "With whom does my soul feel safe? Does my soul feel safe with this person?" Now that doesn't mean that the person isn't exciting.
That the person doesn't challenge you to think in new ways or do new things. All of those things are wonderful. But it's a sense of safety that you feel inside that is like, "I could build a home in the world with somebody who has these qualities." Now of course you won't go that far, necessarily in the first date.
But you will quickly, especially when you make this a conscious question, you will begin to sense when your soul feels safe with someone. When you make that a really clear goal, you will notice people with whom your soul feels safe and you will be more attracted to them. And I believe you will attract those people more. So that's pretty amazing.
I talk a lot about two circuitries of attraction that we all have. One circuitry of attraction that we have is attractions of inspiration. That's where we can get turned on, fall in love, get sexually excited by someone who's not only attractive but has a deep goodness. And the combo of those two things together is what we are looking for.
The Best Places to Meet People
So when you search, when you look at people's profiles, when you're at a party, notice how a person makes you feel inside. Because you will notice quickly their quality of integrity, their quality of warmth. You may not know it all right away, but you will notice quickly.
So search for those things. And really, really, really believe that one of the best places to meet people is an environment with people where people who share your values and passions congregate. This could be online, and it could be in real-time. But it's a big, big, big deal. It's a bigger deal than most people realize.
Because when you're in those environments, you shine. There's a sense of connection that can happen. So that's another really important point in the search process. If you're doing that online, you can filter and search for qualities, attributes, and passions that you are most interested in.
The last thing I want to say about this second point is this. Stretch your boundaries. Stretch your boundaries. If somebody lived 200 miles or 100 miles outside of your end zone of how far you're willing to travel, and that person would be the soulmate of your life, would you say no to that person because they live that much further?
Would you say no to your future with that person because they were just those extra miles? I doubt it. If the person was an inch or two taller, an inch or two shorter, five years older, five years younger. If you had this experience of deep desire, deep connectedness, and a shared sense of wanting to share your lives together, would you say no because of those issues?
One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating Is to Soften Your Requirements
So I want to really encourage you to soften your requirements in these initial stages. Really soften and stretch them to the degree that you possibly can. Then notice the chemistry and the connection. Because one thing about love that's really funny is I feel like it kind of tweaks our nose. Because the person that we end up with who's really wonderful for us is just not at all who we pictured.
I think that's a really important thing is to be able to stretch wider and further around all these things that I'm talking about here. Even educational level. Somebody might be of higher education than you're necessarily comfortable with. But that's you stopping yourself. Someone might not have the degree that you require and could be brilliant in many different ways, apart from book learning. So another area where I encourage you to stretch. I feel that people don't stretch enough in those areas.
But the area that I often, often, often, often wish people stretched more in my classes and my courses, in the emails I get, in the clients that I work with, I see this again and again when it comes to character, when it comes to someone being committed to treating you well. You do not want to stretch in those things.
You want someone who has curated a life of decency, a life of integrity. You do not want anyone else. You want to be that kind of person too. So I think that's a really important thing. If someone treats you badly and it's a real habit of theirs to treat you badly, that's just not okay.
The Initial Reaching Out
Now if you find that happening and you share what you need, what doesn’t work with the person and they respond, and they listen, and they hear it, well, that's what good relationships are made of.
But if someone is hurtful consciously again and again, and they gaslight you about it, they say it's not a big deal, they want you to kind of let go of it and just keep moving on, that's not okay. So that's where I encourage you to be even more discriminating.
So the third stage that I just want to share some thoughts are about the initial reaching out. Now, this initial reaching out might happen in person and it might happen online. But there are just a few really important points that I want to make.
The first point is this, modern dating culture has sped things up so quickly that there's not really enough space for graciousness, kindness, generosity, and listening. You want to hold all of those things. You want to be kind. You want to be gracious. You want to be thoughtful. And if other people aren't, then you recognize that. You want someone who recognizes those qualities and reflects them back.
This is how instantly you could save huge amounts of time by just being kind of this very warm, decent, caring you. If someone doesn't get it, if they walk on it, if they can't give that back, then you know right there. So you're setting a higher bar and that's a beautiful and good thing to do. I highly encourage it, highly encourage it. Because you want someone who is essentially kind, and decent, and thoughtful in those same ways.
Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness
These are the things that really lead to happiness and we swallow our sensitivity. We say, "No, I should get used to this unkindness. I should get used to this cocky, arrogant attitude." No, we should not be getting used to that stuff.
Then another one is bravery. Really kind of developing the muscle of approaching people or talking to people who interest you. And when I used to lead Deeper Dating events in person, which is how I began in this whole journey, there was a period where people had to give out their phone numbers. These were in-person events.
People had to give out their phone numbers. The rule of the game was that if someone gave you their number, you had to thank them and then have a moment of gratitude. To just honor that this was a gift. You did not have to call them if you really chose not to. Some people were built and did things in such a way that they would want to let somebody know. This is not really a match.
Other people often felt like, "Well, I wouldn't want somebody to do that to me. I don't want to get a message like that. I'd rather they just don't contact me." So people made their own rules, but the ground rule was you always said thank you.
And what people would discover is that they would build a muscle of going up to strangers, or smiling at strangers, or starting a conversation with strangers. It's hard and it's scary. But man, that is a really beautiful and important skill.
Moments of Bravery
It's almost like every one of those moments where you're brave like that. It's like you're visiting a foreign country for the first time. There's an excitement. There's an adventure. There's a fear. Really those moments of bravery are incredible things. I know how hard they can be, but I want to really encourage that kind of bravery.
So then the next point is like first few dates. Bunch of things I want to say about that. One thing is that if there is some spark because you cannot force sexual interest. It's kind of cruelty to yourself to force yourself to be attracted to someone who you're not attracted to.
But if the person is kind of hot, if there's kind of a spark, if there's kind of a sense of potential sexual interest. If there are parts of their body, or their face, or their laugh that yeah, turn you on, even though other parts don't as much. And they're awesome people and you love who they are, stick with it. Because it will not stay static.
In time, you're either going to get more attracted to them and they'll get more beautiful to you. Then you'll know what to do, or they won't. You'll just really see nope, nope, it's not going in that direction. I know it's not and then you honor that as well.
But don't just look for the people with whom you unequivocally are completely sexually attracted to, right from the start. Look for people with whom there's a spark and then get to know who they are. This is a big deal. It's really, really important.
Allowing Gentler Sparks and Enjoying the Person Are Important Points in Early Dating
And even if you're really, really, if you have hair-trigger eyes, that it's got to be an exact, certain type, just watch. When you let yourself be with people who there's some spark with and you let yourself fantasize about those sparky places with them and there's a goodness, and a decency, and a wonderfulness in your connection, stuff grows.
And the research shows the majority of people who were in good longterm relationships did not have love at first sight. So just an interesting thing to note.
So that's one thing that's really important is allowing a gentler spark and enjoying the person and getting to know them and giving space for that spark to grow. The other thing I just want to say about this is what we know is that those people who make us crazy, crazy, crazy attracted, from the beginning, very, very often are not available or aren't going to treat us quite right. And something inside our psyche knows this and wants to prove our worth by getting them to embrace us. Because we know that somehow they won't fully do that.
Sometimes the people who we kind of feel that they really will embrace us for who we are we feel a little like, "Ew." For those of us who have self-esteem issues, that's a normal thing. I call it the wave. I write about it a lot. I speak about it a lot. I have had it a lot. That's not for this episode.
The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love
But I think it's the single greatest saboteur of healthy, new love. So I would say look in my book, look in my online course, or just look up the episodes where I speak about the wave so you can learn more about that.
When you're on your date with someone, don't play it cool. Don't do that. It won't work. It's so not worth it. Talk about what you're passionate about. Listen to what the other person is passionate about. Because truly, truly, truly and the research backs this up, listening well is an aphrodisiac. Not listening is a turnoff.
Now if you're drinking on the first date and you're drinking a bunch, you will not even really notice probably. But if you're sober and you're noticing, you will be able to tell – it's just the best feeling when someone does deep listening.
So listening is a glorious aphrodisiac.
Talking about what you're passionate about, eliciting what the other person is passionate about, and being just a little bit extra real, and extra authentic. That kind of shifting from a smooth surface of who you think you're supposed to be to the textured surface where people can really feel the gritty essence of your being, your saltiness, your humanity, your imperfections, your vulnerability. That stuff's really sexy and awesome.
I quote this often, Brene Brown says, “ vulnerability – it is the last thing we want to show, but the first thing we look for in another person.” And along that kind of direction of things, one last thing I want to say is that the research shows that playing hard to get is not the way to go.
Showing Enthusiasm Is One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating
This is researched information. The way to go is to show your enthusiasm. Of course, then you want to give the person space because they might be kind of integrating that sense of, "This person really likes me." That may take a little bit for them to integrate that. So they may not instantly act as enthusiastically right back, but you will know.
And if they're not interested, then that is another thing you'll know. But, the risk of showing your enthusiasm is dramatically less than the risk of showing coolness and coldness and acting like you don't care. Or that you're not excited about someone when in fact you are. So allow yourself that joy of enthusiasm.
So the last kind of site in this early dating journey that I want to talk about now is when feelings start to grow. So I'm not going to talk much now about if feelings aren't growing, that's a kind of separate issue. But I'm going to talk about what happens when you're dating someone and feelings begin to grow.
What I want to say is, and I've said this in other episodes, don't have sex too early. Don't have sex when you're intoxicated early on. Because your first sex should not be when you're intoxicated if you can avoid that.
Because what happens is there are repercussions for many of us when we have sex too early. Where we either get really kind of needy and clingy and insecure. Or we just want to get the hell out of dodge. We just want to get away.
A Back and Forth Between Excitement and Fear
It is best to wait until this amazing, amazing process that happens when the bond with someone starts growing. Because your brain, your heart, your sexuality, all starts specializing in your connection with this person. Like invisible tendrils of connection start to develop in your psyche for them.
It's a very beautiful and gentle thing. You don't want to force it to go quicker than it's ready to go. Now that does not mean that you cannot and should not be having sexual fantasies about that person and enjoying, picturing different sexual and sensual things with them. That is all wonderful.
Putting aside if you have sexual compulsion issues, that's an area to get support on and be careful about the advice that I just gave, might need a little bit of modification there. This is such an exciting time and such a scary time and the tendency might be not to show your enthusiasm because it feels so risky. But again, it is fine to show your enthusiasm.
But just give the other person space too. Because especially in these early stages for many of us, there's a back and forth between excitement and fear, excitement and fear. So you want to give the person space to breathe. That's a really good thing to do.
Now that does not mean that you get to text them and they don't answer you for three days. That's just not nice. So you have a right to say what you need in terms of communication. But it is an important time to know that you will have fears and the other person will have fears at different points.
The Key to Handling the Wave
But as the feelings grow, you might have the wave experience, which I talked about just a few moments ago. And as I said there, I guess I will say something about the wave here. And that is that the wave is when you meet someone, and you like them, and they like you and they feel decent, and they feel available. All of a sudden, your sense of desire just kind of drops. It disappears. You find things that irritate you about them. You feel kind of horrible because you don't want to feel obligated, but you have absolutely no feelings for this person anymore. Your feelings just disappeared.
All of a sudden, they just irritate you and you feel nothing for them. You hear me speaking passionately because this wave dynamic is what stopped me from being able to have a relationship for countless years of my life.
The key to handling the wave is not to run, and not to suffocate yourself by bringing on more closeness than you're ready for. Giving yourself enough space that there's air between the two of you, that there's room to breathe, that you don't feel suffocated. But not fleeing all together. Taking the space you need, which is a beautifully adult action.
When you can do that, and when the other person allows that, in very many cases, you will feel the energy of desire kind of whooshing in again. Coming back, even though it felt like it disappeared. This is something I learned through a lot of work. I've worked with so many people, so many of us experienced the wave. So that's another point that I want to make.
Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating
Another point I want to make is the importance of honesty and truth. That it's really important that your partner gets a sense of your realness and your vulnerability. This beginning stage is so precious and so wonderful.
Now because it's so exciting, and it's so charged, and it's also so scary, we need the help of friends, coaches, therapists very often in this phase. Because in this phase, we get afraid and we enact patterns that push intimacy away unconsciously. We think we know just what we're doing.
But when we talk to a friend, our friend says, "Well, that wasn't really that nice." Or, "Maybe you weren't really hearing what they said." Or, "I don't think they meant it that way." Or, "No, ask him to go to the museum with you." So thank God for friends in this stage, because we get scared and we start acting in old ways.
At this point, when you've integrated these different skills into each one of these kind of trigger points. When you've been able to inject this wisdom and goodness, and kindness, and intimacy skills into each one of those points, your dating life and your dating experience is going to be immensely different and you will find in almost all cases that the quality of your dating life changes and that you are much, much more likely to meet people and bond with people who truly, truly are good for you. That's what we want. These are the skills that we don't get taught that set us on a path that really leads to love.
So I'm so happy to be able to share these particular skills and these particular points with you. Thanks so much for listening, and go to deeperdatingpodcast.com to join my mailing list and get a free gift. And I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.