Dating is hard. And dating culture..oh boy. How about let's start with unkind, demoralizing and frustrating? It's easy to see why our protections and defenses are up when we get out there. BUT: those very protections block us from showing our authentic heart, the key to finding healthy love. In this episode, you'll learn how to date in a way that leads you to the person who is right for you and to a healthy, beautiful sustainable love: the kind you're really looking for.
Episode Table of Contents
Episode Introduction: Person Who Is Right for You
So you're at the point that you're really ready to find sustainable, real love. What are the shifts that you need to make right now to help you meet the person who is right for you? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page. I'm a psychotherapist, a coach, and the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.
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I’m gathering a very small hand-picked group of caring, committed people who want to find lasting love with the best support possible.
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Every week, I'm going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. Today, I'm going to be speaking about how to meet someone who is truly good for you.
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The Dating Shift
Let's jump in and speak about how you can shift the way that you're dating so that you are much, much, much more likely to meet someone who's really good for you. I want to say that how to meet someone who's really good for you intersect with where to meet someone who's really good for you. So, we're going to be talking about where to meet someone who's really good for you a little bit, but mostly we're going to talk about the how and we'll get to the where in other episodes.
But really, you can take the tools that you're going to learn and the insights that you're going to learn in this podcast and change how you meet people and who you meet, truly, literally change who you are in your dating life, and to great, great benefit. Here's the thing,
Dating is a really, really scary thing.
You're going into the unknown. You're in this process of making a complete stranger somehow into the closest family you have. That's a scary kind of thing. Then there's the huge fear of rejection, the huge fear of being hurt, the fear of rejecting someone else, the fear of getting trapped, the fear of being either rejected or suffocated in a relationship, all the pain that can come out of a relationship.
It's a huge deal. It's a huge deal because this is going to influence your future more than almost anything else. Yeah, I think you can have fun dating. Absolutely. I do think that. But I think also that to pretend that it's not kind of a big deal and that the stakes can't get really high, really fast is kind of insulting to each one of us.
Breaking Our Defensive Patterns
Because it is the truth, and hence it's easy to get afraid. Because this is real stuff here. It can quickly and easily become really real stuff. Fear is up for all of us. Fear is a good thing and a sane thing in this case. It makes perfect sense. It means you mean it. But it's what we do with the fear that really matters.
And so if we make room for, if we take this step, which we're going to take today, of understanding what do we do when we get afraid in our dating life, what are our defensive patterns? Because whatever they are, those defensive patterns we sink into when we get afraid can be pretty sure they're not helping us find love or the kind of love that we're really looking for.
When we can understand what we tend to do when we get afraid and replace that with, instead of being defensive, learning how to radiate who we really are, and then learning to become discriminating in only choosing people who resonate with that, who make us feel safe, who love what they see, and we love what we see when we meet them. That's the change that has to happen. It's from defending to radiating.
It's from protecting to being. Is that an easy change? No. Is it a doable change? Absolutely, yes! But the first step is kind of knowledge about this a little bit more, and that is understanding, and we're going to do this together right now. We're going to look at what are our patterns in dating when we get afraid. I'm just going to share a story with you. At one point, I just knew that I was like the worst dater and I knew that I needed help.
I went to see a psychotherapist, a wonderful, wise psychotherapist. I said, "You've got to give me homework. Like, you have to help me with this." And he did. He gave me homework and it really helped and it was really important. I want to tell you one of the exercises that he gave me that I think I'll never forget. It was explosively powerful. Here's what it was.
He said the next time you're in an event where you can meet people, which for me at that point being in my, what was I in, I guess I was in my early 30s, and like doing the clubs in New York, and the way that I met people was in bars and it was in clubs. This was like the heyday of that's how gay men met each other. Not all, but many of us.
Anyway, this was the assignment that he gave me. He said, "Go into whatever venue you go into and I want you to just sit there and I want you to notice the thoughts that you have about yourself and the thoughts that you have about other people. Just stay maybe half an hour and notice what you think. Then leave and go to a cafe and write those thoughts down."
So I did. I noticed what I thought. I left. I went into a cafe and let me tell you, when I wrote down the vicious judgmental thoughts I had about myself, the critical and judgmental and superficial thoughts I had about other people, I just looked at it and I said, "Holy cow, I totally get why I am single. I totally get it."
But what that was was this kind of jungle of fear-based thinking and behavior, which the dating world absolutely sculpts, and some environments more than others. Online environments can sculpt that, bars and clubs can sculpt that, dating events can sculpt it. Almost anything can sculpt it. Some things worse than others. We'll be talking about that soon. But this is the first part that I'd like you to take a moment to think about.
When you get scared in dating, what do you do?
I'm going to give you some potential options that many or most of us do. One thing is we present an airbrushed version of ourselves. We don't act like who we really, really are. Or maybe we're drinking, and so we think we're being really authentic, but when you're drinking, the kind of courage to be yourself is a sloppy courage and it's not the real you.
There's a level of refinement and sensitivity there that is dulled and out the window. That kind of bravery is not real bravery. Are you really the real you? Are you showing the real you? So many of us present an airbrushed version. We feel like we need to act more confident, or more cool, or less human somehow. That's one thing that people do.
Another thing that people do is we practice avoidant behavior. We don't really approach the people we're interested in. We stay like on the other end of the room from them. We don't take strong bold action or brave action. Let me just say that one of the deep rich ingredients that we all got to kind of bite the bullet on is being a little bit braver in getting out there. That's another kind of pattern.
A third pattern is going for the 100,000% top of the line hotties only, the people who were like iconically exciting for us. Because when we do that, we're fleeing intimacy, interestingly enough, and oddly enough, because we are looking for a type. All of us are type-bound, some worse than others, but when we just look for a type, there's a way that we're not being present. We're scratching an itch.
We're acting something out where this iconic person represents something to us, and in our minds we're saying this is what love looks like, this is what attraction looks like, and anything else is second best. That's a fear tactic because when we get afraid, like in the dating world when we get afraid, we move into am I attracted to this person and is he or she attracted to me?
That becomes the primal question. If we're attracted, we either run or we move in really fast. If we are not immediately kind of unequivocally attracted, we often just kind of fade away. That I want to say one of the great skills, is softening that kind of desperate feeling. I understand the desperate feeling so well. God knows I've lived it so often in my own dating life.
But that desperate feeling is if I start getting to know someone I'm not really attracted to, A – am I wasting my time and missing out on someone sexier? B – is this person going to get interested in me and then since I'm not like super excited for them, I'll be getting myself into hot water. I'll be disappointing them. I'll be trapping myself. This is another fear. I want to say something very powerful here about another tool for meeting someone who's really right for you.
Imagine a spectrum of attraction. Imagine the people who are zeros are people that there's absolutely no attraction to, and people who are tens are people you're wildly crazily attracted to. Where do you tend to look for people? Do you look for people that are interested in you, even though the number of attraction is really low because it's safer? Or do you gravitate toward the people who are like the highest, highest end, and either avoid them or kind of jump in for the kill?
What I want to ask you to consider doing is latching into a wiser healthier circuitry. Because those are fear-based circuitries. Here's the circuitry I'm suggesting. Look in the middle range, or like the sixes, the sevens, the fives, people with whom there is some potential spark, and just speak with them and allow yourself to get to know them.
Because you may find their voice is so sexy, or their laugh is so sexy, or what they do in the world is so sexy, or their body is so sexy, or the connection between the two of you is so beautiful and nice and exciting and wonderful that you're interested in more. But we don't do that when we're afraid. We don't go into that middle range when we're really afraid.
We either avoid, we go to the low range or we go to the high range. I want to encourage you to give yourself the space to just relax a little bit and look for people in the mid range who inspire you by who they are. There's almost nothing more powerful that you can do to change your dating experience. Now, how do you do that online? We're going to talk about that another time.
Stretching Out of Fear
What I'm describing now is more for real connection and in-person time. But I guess I will say one thing about meeting people online using this method, you look for things that they say that inspire you. You don't say things like, "I'm not dating anybody who's more than 20 miles away." Because really, really, really, if your soulmate was 40 miles away, would you say no to them? I hope not.
In the beginning, stretch out. Fear makes us narrow our focus. Also, the online world sculpts us to think, "I'm going to get the absolute best I can, so why not go for exactly what I want?" Well, that's not a good route, because exactly what you want is someone who's beautiful, and inspiring, and safe, and exciting, and decent, and that person might be more than 20 miles away.
They might be a little bit outside your age range. Allow yourself that freedom. Note where fear-based behaviors make you make your dating world smaller. Just take a minute to think about this. Now, I know it's hard and I know it's scary, but here's what I want to tell you. It's like being on a trapeze, right? Then you're going to jump off one trapeze and there's a period where you're airborne and you don't have anything to hold onto, but then you grab the other trapeze.
You're switching circuitries here. When you calm your dating experience and your nervous system enough to notice who inspires you and to have the time to do that, you activate a different circuitry, and that's the circuitry most likely to be able to help you find real love.
It's a circuitry that is less fear-based and more based on the quality of connection, and that quality of connection is a big, big deal. In a way, we're kind of riding against a cultural tide that teaches us how to be superficial, that sculpts jerky behavior that teaches us not to show our vulnerability. That's another thing that I talk about all the time is that the dating world is a culture of unkindness. You do not have to, nor should you, allow yourself to become like that.
I encourage you to be kind, be decent, be generous, and then just look for people who are the same. There's a kind of steel strength that we need to say my intention is to be who I am. Really radiate that, because again, there are two choices when we're dating and when we're out there. There's the radiating who we are and there's the defending and protecting ourselves.
Our goal is to be the radiating who we are person and look for the precious people who get it. I want to tell you something, and this is the place of leaping off that trapeze onto another one. And this is a promise. There are people out there who, when you are just you, will love that, will be drawn to it. From the beginning when you meet people like that, you'll know that you have found something better, something healthier.
The more that you allow yourself to do that, the more you will meet people like this.
The more you feel that you have to wait to show your authentic self until you've sealed the deal and gotten someone hot to like you, the less you're likely to find real love.
This truly, truly is the golden path.
The Other Side of Fear
Something else I want to say here is that environments sculpt behavior. Oh, but I'm going to say something else first. I'm going to say something else about fear. This is another piece of fear. We're saying that dating can bring up fear. There's a saying,
Fear is excitement without breath.
In other words, fear, especially fear in dating, obviously, the other side of that coin is excitement. You might be meeting somebody wonderful tonight. This person who you're meeting for a blind date might be THE person. Your goal is to find the person who is the person. So there is not only fear, but there is excitement. When you live the way I am describing in your dating life, you will not only feel like you're being brave, but you will feel like you're doing something good and decent and smart for your being and for your future.
Then your acts of bravery are actually acts of adventure. Here's another really, really interesting thing. The research shows that when we heightened our risk, not by unhealthy things, but by the things I'm describing, the risk of deeper authenticity, the risk of showing who you are, the risk of looking for people and trusting in the connection more than the immediate iconic type kind of circuitry.
When you do that, when you do that, you will be, by the fear that you are creating, that fear sparks erotic fantasy and sparks romance. You will be upping the ante, you will be turning on the gas to the possibility of you being brave enough to meet someone, being excited by somebody because you're amping up the fear but it's a good fear and it's a conscious fear. It's a bravery fear. It's an adventure fear. All these things really work.
Where Is The Person Who Is Right For You
These are messages of hope and positivity instead of messages of game-playing. Now, the last thing I'm going to say is about where to meet people, and we're going to go into this in more detail in a later episode, but I just want to say a couple of things. We had a Deeper Dating event once when we were doing live Deeper Dating events and the leader said something.
He asked the community, he asked the people, "So where do you meet people?" People gave all different answers and one person said, "On the street," and another person yelled out, "Which street?" Because we all want to find the kind of the street or the place. I just thought that was a really kind of cute story. But it speaks to something and it speaks to this.
If you're at Starbucks, if you are on the street, if you are anywhere and you're not looking at your phone but you're looking at the people, and if you are kind of in a heart space and if you're in a space, where you're saying, "I am going to show my authentic self, my real self, the self where there is passion, the self where there's energy, the self that is the true underneath me, I'm going to show that and I'm going to be brave."
Trust me, every day then is an adventure.
Also when you do that, you radiate something different. You really, really do, and you change your luck by doing that. Wanted to say that, but then I wanted to talk about places where you go to meet people. Environments sculpt feelings. Environments sculpt behaviors.
Radiating Versus Defending
So if you're doing the apps that are swipe right, swipe left, the apps that kind of sculpt quick fear-based decisions based only on iconic types or whatever, you are going to be less likely to find real love. Because you're operating out of a circuitry that is missing the proper antenna that you need to find someone who's really going to be good for you.
What I want to say is that the more you look for love by going to events with people of the gender or genders that you're most interested in. For straight women, you don't want to just keep going to events that are all women, and there are a lot of events that have men in them as well. And not just gay men. The more you go to events with people who share your values, the more you will easily be sculpted toward radiating versus defending.
Again, it's that state of radiating where you work your magic in the world, and where somehow your message, your energy goes out and your antenna comes up that's a wiser antenna, and you are in the circuitry that's going to find you love so much quicker. You can do that more easily without as much feeling like you're swimming against the tide by going to events with people who share your values.
God knows, I know, that it is so much easier to stay at home in your jammies and just go online, or just swipe right or swipe left. But I'm telling you, you lack living chemistry when you do that, and that makes it harder and slower, and also, as I mentioned, locks you into a number of circuitry patterns that just won't work as well.
Join The Journey To Love
I know it's hard. I know it's scary. I know it's annoying. But going to events, especially I would say weekend events or workshops because there's a process of immersion where people get through their fear more. Or events that are ongoing, because then people get to know each other more as well. The more you do that, the more likely you are going to be to find someone who is good for you.
I think you can see that this is a journey that's a richer journey than you might have been taught, a journey that involves growth, a journey that involves dignity, and a journey that involves the deepest lessons of love. Try these techniques out. Get a friend to do this with, because it's hard to do it alone, if you can, if not, do it alone.
But try these techniques. Go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and look under Ask Ken and report back on what you experience. For those of you who are interested in a much deeper dive, taking this work with my guidance in a small community of people over a longer period of time, go to Work Privately with Ken and you can learn more there.
I want to ask you again, if you liked what you heard, do leave a review for me. Thank you so much for listening. Good luck in your dating and growth adventures. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.