What are the two most essential and empowering research-backed ways that can supercharge your search for love? These are the two greatest keys I know.

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Show Notes:


  • A Template You Believe In
  • A Community of Co-Learners


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Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a site where single people can meet in an environment that’s fun, inspiring, kind and respectful. In this episode, I’m going to talk about the two main ingredients for transforming your search for love, the two things that make all the difference in the world.

In this episode and every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing in your life, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, which are the greatest skills of all for our lives. If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® path to real intimacy, you can just go to Deeper Dating Podcast. You can get transcripts of every episode as well as free gifts, and learn a lot more about resources that I offer to help you transform your own intimacy journey. Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any symptoms that concern you, please do seek professional help. Okay, let’s jump in.

I want to start out by saying that, as I’ve said so many times before, your search for love is precious. It is beyond precious in a number of different ways. One way is that long-range, finding a relationship that is healthy and fulfilling, someone you get to sleep with, and share life with, and vacation with, and build things with in the world, and create a family with, and just be there together with as a co-adventure in life. The sexuality of it, the sensuality, the kindness, the tenderness, the intimacy, the shared dinners, these are so much of what happiness is made of. Not that you cannot have happiness and that we can’t have happiness still being single.


The sensuality, kindness, tenderness, and intimacy of a relationship are so much of what happiness is made of. Click To Tweet


For some people, that’s a richer kind of happiness for them, but for those of us who ache for these things, it’s a goal worth really committing to. It’s a sole goal. The research shows that the quality of your spousal relationship is the single most important indicator of the quality of your life. An amazing thing but true. They say that for any goal that really matters to you, you need to be ready to budget time, attention, and some money, too, probably, toward that goal, but I think another thing that you have to be ready to budget in is serious thinking about what works best. For a goal that matters this much, you want the biggest best wisdom, the most research-backed direction. You want to do it wisely and you want to do it well because it’s so damn precious and so important.

I also want to say, as I’ve said many times before, that another incredible benefit of the wiser search for love is that you transform in that process. You actually heal your life. You heal attachment wounds. That doesn’t just happen in therapy. That doesn’t just happen in a healthy relationship.


DDP 120 | Keys To Dating
Keys To Dating: For any goal that matters to you, you need to be ready to budget time, attention, and money towards that goal.


It also happens in your way that you approach finding a healthy relationship, which to me is starting out with a cherishing of your authentic self and your Core Gifts, and deciding you are only going to look for people with whom those parts of you feel essentially, beautifully and consistently safe. When you make that choice, there’s an honoring of self that happens that’s world-changing, and game-changing, and dating-changing, and future-changing. I’m getting off on a tangent a little bit here, a really super important tangent, but a tangent.

What I want to talk about here is in planning for this adventure of your wiser and successful search for healthy love, a key thing to do is to think, “How am I going to do this in a way that works best, that saves me the most time, that it carries the most wisdom, that is the simplest, that gets me what I want the most quickly and the most effectively, that that is a beautiful place to start?” That’s a foundation. I want to offer two thoughts, two research-backed thoughts that I think are the key to you transforming your search for love, two things I deeply believe in.


A Template You Believe In


The first is that you find a template that you believe in. What does that mean? That means that you kind of look at the information that’s out there, the different teachers, the different speakers who talk about how to find love wisely. You take time to shop around to see what teachings touch your soul, feel clear and true in your mind, have a healing quality, and give you a sense of hope and also direction. It’s here that I want to give some caveats. In my opinion, you do not want a path that focuses on how to make yourself more attractive as its central focus, because that’s the path to pain.


The quality of your spousal relationship is the single most important indicator of the quality of your life. Click To Tweet


You want a path that teaches self-honoring, that teaches the deeper journey of growth, that that’s how we change. Attractiveness is a beautiful thing and it’s great, great, great to make yourself more attractive. I’m 100% in favor of that, but that cannot be the primary message, because if it is, that’s the path to hell. That is self-hate in a sexy outfit. “Fix this about yourself. Change this about yourself. Be more masculine. Be more feminine. Be more confident.” Buyer beware. Stay away from the paths that put that first. This is not about gimmicks. It’s about the deepest aspects of your being.

Watch out as well for paths that give you a really crazy mixed message like, “Be really confident, but be really authentic.” Guess what? A lot of the times when we’re really authentic, we are things that are other than really confident. We might be questioning. We might be unsure. We might be grieving. We might be timid. Those are all things, I guess that’s in a way, a deeper meaning of confidence, is that we honor those parts of ourselves and bring it into the intimate relationship that we’re exploring in a skin-to-skin, self-honoring kind of way.

Watch out for the paths that are telling you, “You are flawed. You have to fix yourself. You have to change yourself.” That does not mean that there isn’t deep change work that we have to do. There absolutely is, but a path that doesn’t start with a central honoring of your essential self is to me, a path that’s going to lead to self-sabotage. Trust me, there are a lot of teachers who teach that deeper message, the positive message, the one of authenticity and self-treasuring, of growth and learning and humility but not of, “I have to change myself or fix myself or I’m never going to find love.”


DDP 120 | Keys To Dating
Keys To Dating: You don’t want a path that focuses on making yourself more attractive because that’s the path to pain. You want a path that teaches self-honoring, a path that teaches the deeper journey of growth.


I also believe that you need to find a teacher who is versed in a sensitivity to trauma, because so many of us have had trauma in our lives; sexual trauma, emotional trauma. When we have trauma, it’s like we freeze up, our capacities freeze up. When we’re in a state of the repercussions of trauma, all the tools of, “Think smartly, act this way, act that way,” are going to fail us and they’re going to make us feel badly about ourselves. There’s a self-holding, and a self-treasuring, and a self-dignifying, and allowing space that needs to happen when we hit our pockets of trauma, whether it’s as they say, small-t trauma or large-T trauma.

You want a path that doesn’t tell you, “Just push through that,” but honors the fact that on this ride, there are bumps, and those bumps are the traumas, heartbreaks, and vulnerabilities. Those are, in some ways, the meat and potatoes of intimacy, because when we learn to honor those parts, our path is so deeply smoothened, even though it’s not easy. That’s another piece. These are just some things I believe in. Another thing is that you want to feel like whatever the template is, heals you and empowers you, and is a growth path, not a gimmick path.

I’ve definitely dedicated my life’s work to presenting a map of a path like that. There are so many other wonderful teachers too, Katherine Woodward Thomas. I love Arielle Ford‘s work and Margaret Paul. These are people whose work I adore. There are so many others too, but look for those qualities and look for the template that really speaks to you. The second piece, and when you find that, that’s fabulous. I would say really commit to it, do the work, get your hands dirty, do the exercises, do the work, really kind of commit to that. Give yourself time and space to do that.


The path to vanity is self-hate in a sexy outfit. Click To Tweet


A Community Of Co-Learners


The second key here, when you have found a template that you believe in and you want to work with, the next part is to find a community of people who are co-learners. That community could be just one other person, or it could be a small group, or it could be a larger group, but do not try to do this alone because we trick ourselves. We trick ourselves in so many different ways. The image, and I’ve used this a number of times. For those of you that have listened to a lot of episodes, forgive me but I’m going to use it again. If you’re in the woods and you decide that you know what direction you need to go in to get out of the woods, you know where that direction is, and then you do this thing where you pick a tree straight ahead of you, far down, then you walk to that tree. Then you pick another tree straight ahead of you in that exact direction, far down, you walk to that tree.

If you do that, you will end up going in a giant, giant circle, and you will end up coming back to where you started from. It is the same thing around the most highly-charged areas of our lives where we’ve been stuck. We need rewiring and we cannot effectively self-rewire. If we are serious about this, we do it in the company of wise people, because you know how you could see your friends’ stuff like what they say in Buddhism. They call it the seeds of suffering and the seeds of joy. We could see in the people we love the actions they take. We know they’re doing it again. These are the seeds of their suffering. We know where this is going to land. We’ve seen them do it before.

When they change, when they shift, or when they’re doing wonderful things, we feel a sense of joy and we say, “These are their seeds of joy.” Our friends and loved ones, and co-journeyers see our seeds of suffering and our seeds of joy more clearly than we do, and that is just how it is. Alan Deutschman wrote the book, Change or Die, in which he studied a group of people who had coronary incidents and were told very clearly by their physicians that they were going to die if they didn’t change their diets. Everyone said that they were going to change their diet, but within a few years, only 5% of them were actually able to do that, and that seems to be the percentage number.


DDP 120 | Keys To Dating
Keys To Dating: Reflect in the presence of other people that can help you reflect.


He studied these 5% of people. What he discovered is that the reason they changed and held to their change was relationships. They had a community of people with whom they could experiment and succeed and fail, and experiment and fail, and rewire, and rethink, and reflect all the way through. What he said was relate, which means to be in connection with others and not on this journey alone. Repeat again and again and again. We have to fail a zillion times and each time, learn new subtle rewiring. How the hell do people think that they’re going to do these changes just by reading one book, including my book, or just like learn some new gimmicks? This is a deeper, more humbling, and more profound process than that.

The rewiring that we do is the rewiring of intimacy wounds, and that rewiring will help us in our relationships as well, so relate and repeat. In other words, again and again and again, and fail, and half-fail, and quarter-fail, and succeed, and half-succeed, and reflect in the presence of other people that can help you reflect, and then reframe, which is that when you do this rewiring, you’ve reframed your understanding in deeper and wiser ways.

I remember my own group of chronically-single shrinks that I created, where we kind of all supported each other. We would come in week after week with these pain points, these confusion points where we had been so many times before, and the gentle listening of my friends. Hearing these stuck places and just offering feedback that had space, and had kindness, and had grace opened up knots inside of me, then I was able to move in different directions. I remember so many points of wisdom where friends said wise things that really helped me change, really rewire. This is so important that you find a community like that.


A path that doesn't start with a central honoring of your essential self is a path that leads to self-sabotage. Click To Tweet


Here you are, and you wouldn’t be listening this long into the podcast or probably even beyond the podcast if you didn’t care. If you care, why would you not give it your all? To me, these are the ways to really give it your all. I also want to say that if you’re working with a learning partner, just a few resources here. If you’re working with a learning partner like one person or a group, you want to be sure that there’s a real sense of emotional safety there. That is absolutely key and critical. I’ll also say that if you go to Deeper Dating, we actually have a feature where you can fill out a profile, and then you can search for a learning partner. Not someone to date but a learning partner with whom you can use this material or other material, and become co-learners together.

That’s an option that’s available to you. I lead also more and more, lots of free events where people can meet other people and find learning partners. I also offer intensives, which are deep six-month journeys. I’m actually filling up, too, right about at this point, and there’s information available at Deeper Dating Podcast on the details about that. Other teachers whose work you love also offer these kinds of opportunities, and courses, and intensives, but here’s what I would say. If you mean it, go for it. Do these two things. Find a template that touches your soul and rings true in your mind. Find a community of learners or a learning partner so that you can really save time and do this the wise way, because the world gives us all these gimmicks, but this is a big treasure journey. It’s an indescribably big treasure journey.

The ripples and ramifications of the partner you find, and the way you look for that partner, and the options that happen in your life when you find that partner, and also the choice point. The intimacy choice points once you do find that partner are the essence of happiness in so many ways, or part of the essence of happiness. With that said, I encourage all of you, if you mean it, to consider taking on these two foundational approaches to your precious search for love. Thank you so much for listening. I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.


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