There are two things that you need to find in a partner. If you put these two traits front and center, you'll give yourself the very best shot at a future of happiness. These are also the two traits each of us needs to develop if we want the privilege of a love-filled life. Looking for these traits, and developing them in ourselves, are the greatest dating skills of all. Welcome to your best and truest dating adventure!
Table of Contents
- Two Things You Need to Keep Someone Interested in You
- Understanding the Difference Between the Two Things You Need
- The Second of the Two Things You Need
- Intimacy Lesson from Finding the Two Things You Need
Episode Introduction: Two Things You Need
What are the two things you need to look for in finding the person who's right for you and becoming the person who can be right for someone else? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.
Hello, everybody, and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page, and I'm a psychotherapist and the host of this show and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.
And today I'm going to be talking about the two important things that you need to look for to find the partner who's right for you. This week and every week, I'm going to share the greatest tools and insights 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 love.
And if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and get a number of free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You'll also find a transcript of this entire episode and of every episode.
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Okay, so let's jump in. So as a psychotherapist and a coach who has specialized in the search for love and as someone who was chronically single for decades and constantly is a student of intimacy, as well as a teacher, I really have come to believe that mindful dating leads us more quickly to real love and to richer, more fulfilling lives.
What I've also come to find and believe is that the way we date often, or usually, determines the kind of love that we find, and the quality of love we find determines the very quality of our lives.
So for most people, the search for a wonderful relationship is truly one of the most important missions of our adult lives. But the majority of dating advice, as I've said before, treats it like some kind of slick package of superficial actions or behavior tweaks that promise to result in getting our dream person to fall in love with us.
Two Things You Need to Keep Someone Interested in You
Learn this trick to keep women more interested in you. Here's what you're doing wrong and why men are avoiding you. Here's what you need to do to become irresistible. This is just anguish to hear because the journey to find love is one that is so much more a wisdom journey than a quick fix.
It's just not about tricks and gimmicks. These skills are the deepest skills of intimacy, and they're the very skills that every one you learn will help you keep your relationship alive and thriving when you do find it. This is a life journey. It's not a quick fix.
But, there are absolutely certain steps which we talk about here, and which many really serious and wonderful teachers talk about, that do transform our search for love. So that means that dating success is not about luck. It's not.
It's really it's not about having this smoking hot body. It's not about being willing to suffer through countless bad dates. It's about some really key wisdom lessons, and our search for love demands our deepest respect.
So here's a question. Is your approach to dating helping you deepen your capacity to give and receive love? If it's not, you can find a new way to do this that will. And when you do, you will move that much more quickly to the love that you're really seeking.
I'm going to share two concepts that I think are pillars for the wiser search for love. Each of these two things asks something very powerful and very challenging of us and help us discriminate what kind of attractions, what kind of people can truly be the people with whom we could build a happy, rich future.
Embracing the Two Approaches
Embracing these two pieces of information, these two approaches will make our lives happier and more meaningful and richer in intimacy. And for each of these parts, there's a dual journey, working on yourself to grow in this way and looking for this in the person you're looking for.
So the first one is, "does my soul feel safe with this person?" That, and I've spoken about this before, is the key question that when we ask it we shift our entire journey to love. It saddens me immensely to think of how many people, myself included for decades, and decades, and decades, don't make that the central question.
And for each one of you, I'm very excited to think about what's going to shift for you when you make that the central question. Now, obviously, you have to be sexually attracted to this person. The person has to be of the gender or genders you're interested in.
There are so many specifics, and those are all good, and all real, and all become clear in their own time. But when this becomes your central question, you really, really are on the quickest path to happiness and finding love. And I truly, truly believe that. It's not just am I attracted to this person, it's does my soul feel safe with that person.
Attraction will take care of itself. If you're not attracted to the person, it's not going to be a match. But when you make this first your first question, you will be dignifying yourself and people will notice your spine a little bit straighter, your heart a little bit clearer, a sense of like "don't screw with this person" because you will be dignifying who you really are.
The First Stage
So the first thing is that question, and so there's different parts to that. I think that in the first stage when we look for people, when we're looking for someone, we just look for the person we're most attracted to because that's what we've been taught. That's the simplest, and that's what makes the most sense.
However, the people that we're the most wildly and quickly attracted to for many of us are the people who embody the worst characteristics of our primary caregivers. And our psyche wants to go back to the scene of the crime and get this person for all the different reasons that we do this, who doesn't really love us or love us right to finally love us and love us right.
It's the path to hell. And often, it's the people we're most intrigued and excited by that have those attributes. So in that first stage, we often choose people who ultimately are unkind, or unavailable, or self-involved, or maybe angry, or demeaning, not actively addicted, not good choices, but we don't know better.
It feels like home in some ways perhaps, so that's what we choose. And so many of us do this at first because we haven't been taught better or we don't want to listen because we're so crazy for this person and we're so young or so kind of unaware of the deeper truths around this.
So that's kind of the first stage, is these choices that are really not good choices. And so many of us do this and so many of us spend a long time here.
Understanding the Difference Between the Two Things You Need
Then, when we grow, when we start asking ourselves, "Does my soul feel safe with this person? Do I feel inspired by who this person is? Is this person an attraction of inspiration as opposed to an attraction of deprivation?" Something I also talk about. And if you go to the show notes, you'll be able to see the links to the episodes where I describe how you can understand the difference between those two circuitries of attraction.
So when we learn these lessons, often, the next people we end up in relationship with are not it yet, but they're stepping stones. This is something I've seen so many times. We pass out of phase one with people who really aren't safe, and we move into step two.
And step two is there are people where there can be moments of much deeper intimacy and connection. They have more qualities that inspire us, and they're not cruel or unavailable, but maybe they're not really completely available.
And maybe some of the moments of connection are incandescent, but then they disappear or somehow they're just not really there. And we know we're doing better. We know we're making better choices, so we're excited and we don't want to let go of this person because they're closer to what we want, but they're not really available, or they don't really treat us right, or they're not really safe. But they're closer.
That's stage two. And I've seen again and again in the journey of people's growths that there is a stage two, that we don't just go from stage one to stage three, which is a healthy, really good relationship. There's this stage two process that involves a lot of learning.
Acknowledging the Ways We Say No to Love
Now, just to back up for a minute, in that stage one section, we need to look as well at ways that we are unavailable. It does not mean that we are failures in love. I know for me that some of the most precious and important work that I have done, the most central work to be able to have the love that I have in my life is to acknowledge the ways that I say no to love, the ways in which loves scare me, shut me down, the ways in which I get numb, the ways in which I get insensitive, push people away.
These are some of my greatest life lessons, and I'm incredibly thankful to those. So that's a piece of the journey, too, in step one. Where are we unavailable for love? A number of episodes ago, I spoke about our walls to love and how we can change, and understand, and transform them.
So that's really good work for anybody who is admitting and acknowledging ways that they push love away and not knowing what to do about that. And the same applies to step two, that we may be, as we grow, emotionally and spiritually, more able to show those parts of ourselves, but then we flee. Then we push the other person away. Then we disappear.
I've seen so much of that, and I've been so much of that in my life and in my journey to find love. So in this stage, we want to get to the point where we are with someone who is available to do that work, who doesn't flee, who does not hide behind addictions, compulsion, and patterns that ultimately make them not available for the real work.
The Stage of Having Someone Who Stays
Someone doesn't have to be not afraid of intimacy because that would be absolutely nobody. We're all afraid of intimacy. But it's someone who has learned the lessons where they could stay present and not flee and be able to commit even in the presence of all of their fears. That's the kind of person we're looking for.
And the third stage is with someone who in all of their humanity, treasures us, loves us, and is safe, and we treasure them, and love them, and are safe too. Perfectly safe? Absolutely not, because intimacy is a process of rupture and repair. But essentially safe, essentially wanting to do the work, essentially available. And that's stage three.
So I want to ask all of you to consider these points and thinking about where you are, stage one, stage two, stage three, in the people that you're dating and in the person who you are and what you show in your own dating life. And to take this question, "does my soul feel safe with this person", and let that become your question.
I literally don't really have words for the leverage and the power of what that will give you when you make that your first question and your central question. And I really am hungry to hear your stories as you do that because it will change you, it will ground you, it will shift your sense of balance in the world, and it will speed your path to finding love and recognizing healthy love when it does come your way.
The Second of the Two Things You Need
Second – the second dynamic is to develop kindness and understanding and only pursue people who do the same. So when it comes to dating, we have been taught that cool trumps kind. And it's really misguided and it is supported by a plethora of dating apps, and dating approaches, and dating events, and articles, and pieces of advice that take us away from our humanity.
It is the fast track to emotional pain. I really often say that "next" has become the modern dating call. And when we do that, when that becomes our dating call, when that's what we're doing next, next, next, swipe, swipe, swipe, we're looking for immediate physical attraction and we relentlessly judge other people and ourselves according to this checklist which might have validity but is not in the same axis as what's the connection like.
Who's this human being? What is their sexiness? What is their warmth? So why has not anybody told us this thing that the research backs up? That kindness and understanding are two of the greatest aphrodisiacs that exist? So in your next dating experience, try practicing a little more kindness, and understanding, and generosity.
Go against the tide and see if it changes your inner state and the quality of your date, because chances are that it will. And the more you make that conscious choice, the more discriminating you'll become about people who value those same qualities and do the hard work of living them. Really, when you make that choice, you'll be like, "This cost me, man. "
Wiser Self Protection
"This took work. I want somebody who's going to be able to do that work, too." When you do that, you discover that wiser self-protection is less about keeping your distance and it's more about becoming fiercely discriminating about the things that matter the most. Some things you might want to consider when you're dating someone.
How does this person treat clerks, and restaurant servers, and people who are for whatever reason vulnerable or don't have anything particular to give to that person? Think back on that. How does this person treat the people that matter most to you? I remember being smitten by somebody who I was dating, and he wasn't that kind to my friends.
And my friends were very patient until they started getting really annoyed. But I noticed that, and he was not kind to me as well. It took me a while to realize that, but I saw it and felt it with how he treated my friends. So how much does this person consider the needs of other people? Here's a huge one.
Does this person listen to your feelings with care and interest? Are they able to listen? I've heard about this new term in dating called Kanyeing, which is only talking about yourself. I think that's pretty funny, but so many people do that. And does this person have an innate generosity of spirit?
Which I really want to point out is not the same thing as being romantically demonstrative. Somebody could be romantically, all flowers, and chocolate, and generous, and compliments, and all of that, but that's different than their character being essentially generous, and that is what you're looking for.
Students of Intimacy
Instead of just letting yourself be seduced by that kind of swept off your feet kind of generosity, which is something different in many cases. And usually, you will know in a relatively short amount of time if your date is someone who truly cares about these values. And if so, you have something to celebrate. And if not, I recommend that you protect yourself and move on. I say all the time that young, or old, or gay, or straight, or single, or coupled, we're all students of intimacy.
And just about every point in our lives, there are these deep and essential challenges that we have to tackle in order to find love, keep love alive, and become the people that we need to become. Maybe at this point you're feeling the need to increase your compassion. Maybe you're feeling the need to increase your self-compassion and self-care.
Maybe you need to kind of steel your resolve to find love and take action. Maybe it's about being truthful. Maybe it's about being vulnerable. Or maybe it's about protecting and saving a relationship that's really important, that's kind of losing ground. Take a minute now and think. You can pause the recording as well. What is up for you?
Intimacy Lesson from Finding the Two Things You Need
What's your intimacy lesson now? What's your prickly, thorny thing that is really your great gift? Because as you connect to that challenge and as you commit to work with it, you will grow, you will change, and that will make you someone who can bear, and handle, and enjoy the power of love in your life.
So thank you so much for listening to this episode. I want to encourage you to go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and join my mailing list so you can get all of the information, all of the classes, all of the free things, and all of the courses that I teach, and kind of get to know this work more. That's deeperdatingpodcast.com. So thank you all for listening, and I'll see you next week on The Deeper Dating Podcast.