by TDR Matchmaker Cayla Buettner
There are moments in our lives that can be nerve-racking: a dream job interview, giving a public speech, and starting to date someone who you really really like. I’m convinced there are super-hero human beings out there with the power to be cool and collected throughout the entire dating process, but I don’t know any of them.
When I meet that special someone, even if he makes me skip down the street, my brain starts plaguing me with an endless loop of what ifs: What if he decides he doesn’t like me anymore? What if he’s dating someone else? What if I’m making a mistake? What if there’s a hidden deal breaker? What if he ghosts!?
There are numerous factors outside of our control when we are dating, such as timing and attraction. We can’t control how the date is going to go, but we can help ourselves have more fun throughout the process by knowing we have a safety net of friends and family who are rooting and caring for us. Help yourself by creating a support system.
- Define support for yourself
Brainstorm. What qualities make a supportive friend? Each person has a different way of demonstrating support, but the intention remains consistent. Know what is important to you. For me, a supportive friend will tell me the truth even if it’s uncomfortable. They will listen, ask me questions, and have patience. They will have respect for me. Importantly, they know I’ll do the same for them.
- Make a list of your closest friends and family
These are your lifelines. List them somewhere and make that list accessible at all times. I’m a fan of cloud services or memos on my phone. After you have each name written out, go through the list. How do you know this person? Are they family? How long do you envision they will be in your life?
- Know who to call
For each supporter, ask yourself how they make you feel when you talk to them, and vice versa. How do you think they feel when they talk to you? How do you both feel after? Chances are talking to your best friend from high school makes you feel differently than talking to Mom or Dad.
How does this person demonstrate their support? How does he/she feel about your past relationships and dating history? How do you feel about their relationship past?
Discover what it is about each person that makes him or her a source of support in your life. Be ready to reach out to them when it’s needed. If you need a friend to distract you or make you laugh, it’s better to know who that is beforehand. If you think you need some tough love, identify who will give you straightforward advice.
- Know who NOT to call
Chances are there may be a few people close to you who have good intentions but are not the best people for dishing about your latest romance. Is Mom asking, “where are the grandchildren?” Maybe she’s not the best person to call in the first month of a new relationship. Set limits and boundaries. Protect yourself. If you must, feel free to give vague facts. “I’ve gone on a handful of dates with one person,” compared to “OMG – I have butterflies again! Here’s every detail of what happened last night”. In the wrong hands, that information could backfire. Shout it from the rooftops, as long as your misguided-but-well-intentioned relative isn’t in earshot.
- Identify areas where you may need extra support
Is there any area of your life where you don’t feel supported? Insecurities and vulnerabilities will start to come up. Learning how to trust that you are enough can be tough.
Perhaps it’s time to get professional guidance. A session with a dating coach or enrolling in therapy could make the difference. Even a personal trainer or a meditation teacher who is trained to support you could make or break your pending relationship status.
6. Make time for yourself and your passion
When the passion of a new relationship flourishes, it can feel very fulfilling. Make sure to still spend time on yourself. You may feel fulfilled at the end of a good date, but it’s critical to turn inward. In my experience, most people are looking for someone who has their own passion, whatever that may be. Time away from your significant other and dedicated to yourself, to what makes you happy, can only benefit your relationship.
Remember, when we meet someone special, self-love is the key that unlocks the door to intimacy. Get curious about your feelings and their impact on you. Dating is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to love ourselves deeper and will be gratifying if we’re ready. Feelings of bliss come from the inside out, not the other way around. Creating a support system for yourself is self-love in action.