Going from Dating to Relationship : 3 Life-Changing Concepts for Connecting

Each date we go on is like a new social learning opportunity. Every date, from the best to the worst is a chance to find out something new.


Read this post if this sounds like you:

    • I’m interested in going from dating to relationship, but I want to have great dates and find the right person.
    • I want my dating experiences to help me learn more about myself and how to have a healthy relationship.
    • I’d like to learn more about better living and how to find true love and happiness.

 

We often look for some sort of formula to apply: “Ask this question on the second date,” or “Never talk about your previous relationships until at least the fifth date.”

Those who are regular readers of our blog know there are NO hard and fast rules when it comes to dating, except to be honest with yourself and engage. Dating is actually a cool playground for personal development and growth. It’s a chance to learn who you are, what you want, and how others perceive you (or how you hope they perceive you).

Dating is also a great chance to let go of our limiting beliefs and explore the things holding us back. It can help you gain a greater and deeper knowledge of yourself and build your confidence and social opportunities.

#1: It’s Time to Let Go of “The One”

Many of us have been raised with this Cinderella/Prince Charming mentality: there’s ONE person out there for us. This is reinforced by romantic comedies, books, and unrealistic portrayals of relationships in the media. This leads to a scarcity mentality and the feeling we might “mess up” our only opportunity by a single misstep.

Thank goodness this is a myth! It’s so freeing to know there are many people out there you might connect with. If one situation isn’t right and you’ve put forth your true and honest self, then you can sleep well at night, knowing you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future.

The most important takeaway is to be true to your yearnings, and to who YOU are.

So often, we find we hold back at first because we’re nervous about being honest and then being rejected. When he doesn’t call, we ask ourselves what “we” did to scare him away. Did we talk about our parents too much? Was it because we mentioned marriage, or children, or “taboos” like religion or politics?

The truth is, if he didn’t call and you were honest with your interaction, then it just wasn’t a good fit for the time. You can’t change someone at their fundamental level or trick them into being interested. That mentality will only lead to bigger problems and shortfalls down the road.

#2: Accentuate the Positive!

In “The Heart of the Fight,” Drs. Bob and Judith Wright discuss the Rules of Engagement and how couples can productively engage in conflict. These rules of engagement can be applied in other areas of our life. (Hint: it’s not just for couples.) They’re important for singles and those who are dating as well.

One of my favorite rules of engagement? Accentuate the Positive. Each interaction you go into, you should enter with an open mind and an open heart. Maybe it won’t be a love connection (or even a “like” connection), but you can always find positive aspects of humanity in each person (even if they’re kind of a jerk).

If they are a jerk and there’s nothing immediately positive about the connection, then reframe it into a great learning opportunity to see how YOU deal with jerks. It’s a chance for you to call them out on their jerky behavior and let them know why you didn’t like it. What a great moment for growth and self-exploration!

It can be hard to get into the growth mindset after the disappointment of a crappy date, but in truth, you learn even more when things don’t go as planned. You can explore the takeaways you gained from the situation, and you can rest easy knowing you were honest, it’s over, and you don’t regret placating him or suppressing your own feelings.

#3: Express and Agree with the Truth—Always!

Another rule of engagement is you must express and agree with the truth, always. This can be difficult. So often in conflict, we get in a tit-for-tat war where one person says, “You’re this way,” and we say, “No, I’m not ALWAYS this way—there was one time….”

Instead, step back; acknowledge that in almost every criticism or conflict there’s an underlying nugget of truth. It’s okay to still be bothered by it. It’s okay to say, “You’re right about this, but it really pisses me off that you said it.”

Finding the truth in conflict is a great opportunity for growth. Maybe it will lead to a deeper connection and a better date. Maybe you’ll find yourself going from dating to relationship. Maybe it will lead to the realization that the person you’re dating is fundamentally different and you’re just not connecting. Either way, it’s perfectly fine. It’s really all about the fun and excitement of dating and learning new truths and new things about ourselves.

Your deeper connection starts with you. It’s about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. We’ve all been there, and it’s not easy. It takes a lot of bravery and strength to be comfortable with yourself and share with another person.

Each time something doesn’t work out, there’s also a tendency to apply it to a formulaic way of thinking: When I talk about this, it doesn’t work, so I shouldn’t bring it up. Some of us might lean back on our limiting beliefs. We start to train ourselves to hold back more and more.

It takes a lot of bravery and strength to pick up, brush off, and overcome this mindset. However, once you find the strength, it will propel you forward to a more comfortable place. Be accepting of who you are and put it out there on each date.

To learn more about how to be yourself, find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general), click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured blog post image “couple” courtesy of Flickr user Wyatt Fisher licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How To Find Love:
You Must Discover
Yourself First

Do you ever feel like you’re in a dating rut? Maybe you’ve made some resolutions this year to go on three dates a week, update your Match.com profile with better pictures, or stop dating girls you meet at the gym.


Hold up. Instead of making resolutions you won’t keep or trying to quantify and bargain your way through dating, it’s time to work on your dating vision. If you really want to know how to find love, it’s time to decide if you’re being honest about what’s really holding you back from getting what you want.

We all have a vision of what we want our dating life to look like. We can choose to spin our vision into something positive, where our yearnings are realized and we’re engaged, honest, and going for what we want…OR we can turn it into a negative and tell ourselves there “just isn’t anyone out there” or we’re “never going to find the one.”

If you’re dating to simply find “the one,” you’re putting yourself in a losing situation. As we all know, there is no ONE person out there waiting for us. There are actually many people out there who are right for us. Your life is your own design. So dating is all about discovering your own yearnings, then sharing those findings and knowledge about yourself with others in an honest, engaging way.

There’s No Magic Formula —But Here’s How To Find Love

There’s no magic number of dates or websites or profile pictures. There’s no formula you should be using to manifest the perfect person at your dating doorstep. Instead, you should be focused on trying to connect with different people.

If you find yourself drawn to a “type” and you’re ready to break out of the rut, explore your limiting beliefs and the things holding you back from dating outside your type. It’s not about “bearded guys” or “girls under 5’4”” but there are patterns that can emerge in personality types. (For example, maybe you find yourself dating women who withhold affection. Or maybe you’re always drawn to guys who disappear into their work.) These patterns can tell us something about who or what we’re drawn to or seeking out—or they may even reveal the things we feel we don’t deserve.

If you’ve done your own exploration and you’re working on yourself, you can break out of these patterns or communicate your feelings clearly. Give yourself permission to engage and tackle conflict head on, rather than shying away from it.

Be honest in your dating profiles and challenge yourself to be upfront about what you’re looking for. It can be scary to say at first, but you just might find if you’re truly honest and open, you’ll end up getting MORE responses, not less. Stop telling yourself what you “should” do or say in your interactions and focus on what you WANT to do or say.

Look for people who challenge you intellectually. Rather than thinking you should be going on “this many dates” with “this type of person,” look beyond the surface level. How can you shake things up from a deeper place? How can you become the person YOU would want to be with—the person you would want to date?

Getting What You Want: Stick To Your Dating Vision

So once you’re dating someone and it’s going well, how do you keep your vision rolling forward? Maybe it’s not to a point where you want to go into major future planning, but you’re definitely in new territory and you’d like to keep things going on the right path.

Revisit your vision. As it unfolds before you, ask yourself if you’re both fully engaged. Are you communicating and working toward a shared vision? Are you comfortable with both your time alone and your time together?

Relationships are messy because they’re all about bringing scary stuff into the light and being honest with each other. As you get to know someone better, you should continue to assess if you’re being honest and if your yearnings are being met. It’s more than simply having fun and going on dates. Or maybe you’re comfortable with working on yourself now and simply dating people, learning more about them and enjoying your time with them. That’s okay, too. It’s all about seeking what YOU want in the situation.

Make this year your year to realize your dating vision, learn how to find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general). To move toward visioning and discover more about transformational leadership, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training. You’ll learn all about visioning and how to get what YOU want out of your life.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.

Blog image courtesy Flickr user image-catalog.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Relationship Myth #1:
If Only I Had a Relationship,
Then I’d Be Happy…

When you’re single, it’s easy to think, “If only I had a relationship, then I’d be happy…”


Does this sound like you…?

  • I’d be happy if I had a boyfriend.
  • I miss my ex-girlfriend. She made me so happy.
  • I need to find someone first, then I’ll get the rest of my life on track.

Sure, it’s perfectly normal to miss some of the good things about your previous relationship, and of course, to miss the connection and closeness. Perhaps you’re spending a lot of time reflecting on the good times, experiencing a sense of nostalgia.

Truth is, relationships are not what makes a person happy. WE are what makes us happy, and we are in charge of finding our own happiness. This is an inside job; it’s something we have to work on with our own feelings, desires, and yearnings.

When we’re looking for another person to affirm us, tell us how we should grow or what we should do, or validate our feelings, we should really be looking within. We must first learn to affirm ourselves. Understanding ourselves and doing our own set of work helps us learn how to generate our own sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Many of us have this idea that there’s some kind of “soulmate” out there for each of us. But really? There are BILLIONS of people in the world we could connect with and work on a relationship with. It’s really about working on who you are and your own self-validated intimacy, and then taking it out into the world and finding someone who will help you continue to bring out your best and grow as a person.

Who is responsible for my happiness?

We all feel a broad spectrum of emotions—hurt, fear, sadness, joy—and these emotions are all true and positive. If we constantly seek only joy and avoid other emotions, it can actually dampen the joy! Joy is beautiful, but it’s not everything.

So often when we’re dating, we run into our date’s parents or friends and hear, “Oh, you make him so happy,” or “I’ve never seen her like this before.” We’ve found that when you hear this statement (especially early on), it just might mean the person you’re dating isn’t such a happy person in general. Maybe they aren’t being true to their emotions.

We all get stuck in a honeymoon period at the beginning of each relationship. We’re euphoric with the idea of the new person and our attraction to them. It’s exciting to connect and anticipate the things to come. It’s a time of joy and exploration.

This is happiness, but it’s a temporary state. Think how happy you would be if you won the lottery. How long do you think your newfound happiness might last? A 1978 study by Brickman, Coates, and Janoff-Bulman measured the happiness of lottery winners vs. a control group. The results? After one year, lottery winners were not happier than controls and took significantly less pleasure from a series of mundane events.

We frequently see this effect in newlyweds and post-partum—once the excitement over the big deal has passed, they go back to the state they were in before the festivities. Positive and happy people are generally drawn toward that state of being, while negative and fearful people are generally drawn to their state as well.

Does that mean you should brush someone off just because you hear you make them happy? No, of course not. However, it’s probably time to examine the validation you receive from that statement, and realize you’re not responsible (or even capable) of “making” someone else happy.

We are each in control and in charge of our own happiness.

Seek a partner who can meet your yearnings and with whom you can be honest and open with. Don’t look for someone who you think you can “mold” into the “perfect” person. (The perfect person doesn’t exist!)

“If I enjoy being single so much, why do I need a relationship?”

So what about the flipside? Well, relationships are congruent for many of our life goals. If we want children and a family someday, then having a relationship with someone who shares the same goals and motivations will get us to our destination.

At the same time, it’s totally okay if you need some time to get to a place where you really want a relationship. Sometimes we’re so focused on our growth and personal development, the thought of worrying about another person, understanding their feelings and yearnings, and working on goals together seems a little overwhelming or even distracting.

If you’re enjoying being single, and the playground and adventure of dating lots of people—then go with it! Be certain you aren’t avoiding relationships simply because you’re afraid of intimacy or being open with other people. Allow yourself to be honest with others about your needs and yearnings and to “own” your feelings.

Dating around is a great opportunity to engage with a lot of people. You can explore your reactions with different people and how you feel in different situations. You can learn from good dates (and even from bad ones) and it doesn’t necessarily need to lead to anything bigger down the road. Maybe you just discover friendship, a business connection, or someone who is interesting.

In a relationship, we seek a secure base from which we can go forth and explore the world around us. When we’re meeting different people, we’re seeing how we are compatible, but also how we comfort each other. Ask: Is this person someone who sees me for who I really am? Are they someone who I can express my desires and frustrations to? Can I be completely open and honest with this person?

Your conflicts and emotions should be embraced and explored as you journey toward bringing out your best, whether it’s your best single self or your best in-a-relationship self. It’s all about you!

If you’d like to learn more about bringing out your best self and getting a deeper understanding of who you are, we urge you to join us for our next More Life Training, coming up this weekend, March 11th-March 13th. Visit www.wrightliving.com to learn more about this opportunity and others. Email us at hello@wrightliving.com if you have a question or if you’d like us to address a specific topic during our Wright Living weekly podcast. Let us know how you’re finding your own happiness!


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

 

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user 98640399@N08.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 

Always Fighting?
Conflict is Common,
But Fight Fair

Whenever we hear someone say, “Oh, we never fight,” it always raises a few red flags. If you’re really engaging with another person, there’s going to be conflict!


Things are never going to be perfect.

Dating and relationships can reveal so many “a-ha!” moments. After all, dating is a great opportunity to learn new things about yourself and the ways you set boundaries as you engage in (or shy away from) conflict. When you go out with someone, are you panicking at the first sign of conflict? What about when you’ve reached a make-or-break moment in the relationship? Do you commit to holding your ground, or do you backslide after a few weeks and assume more than your share of the blame?

Many of us have a very difficult time with conflict—understandably, of course. We all have limiting beliefs that are comprised of sets of preconceived values, perceptions and ways of dealing with others which shape our relationships. We may catch ourselves avoiding unpleasant emotions (like hurt, sadness, fear, or anger) because they’re uncomfortable for us. However, even when our emotions make us uncomfortable, that doesn’t always need to be a negative thing.

Our emotions, even if they’re unpleasant, can be great tools for growth, as they can help us understand ourselves on a deeper level.

Assuming Fault or Passing Blame?

Often, many of us have a tendency to want to assume everything is our fault—OR to assume any disagreement is ALL the fault of the other person. When a relationship ends or when things aren’t going well, it’s usually not just because of one thing we’ve done or said; it’s really about the bigger picture and the roles each of us play within the relationship. What yearnings were expressed and met, and what yearnings were held back out of fear?

When conflict arises in your relationship, there’s a set of rules to help you and your date or partner fight fair. In our new book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss these rules of engagement. For example, did you know that everyone is responsible for their own emotions? Here’s another great one from the book: no one takes more than 50% of the blame.

When dating, you have this great opportunity to “play” with all of these rules of engagement and really feel them out. You can meet someone and in the first few sentences you might have an immediate connection…or you might have to work to find the connection. Neither way is wrong and both give you a chance to learn new and exciting things about yourself, about another person, and about conflict.

Fighting More Frequently? Stay True to Yourself

Once you’ve been on a few dates, you might find that conflicts arise more freely. This is something to be celebrated rather than feared! When you’ve reached the point that you’re comfortable enough to be honest with yourself and tell your date how you feel, it’s a great moment in your personal growth.

Some of us find we go into a relationship ready to debate, engage in conflict, and discuss things open and honestly—but we hold back on building the emotional and softer side of our connection. It’s still a question of whether or not you’re fully engaged. Again, neither approach is wrong, but the challenge is in how you can continue to express your truth. Are you being you?

Emotions and connections make us vulnerable, which can be frightening. When we’re putting our real selves out there and being open and honest, we’re in a place where we may be rejected or hurt. And let’s face it, that doesn’t feel good. The real joy is when you can look at the situation and no matter the outcome (whether it was a great connection or a not-so-great connection) you can say you were 100% honest about who you were throughout. That’s the awakening.

When Relationships End

If you just can’t reach a give-and-take point or if you feel stagnant in your personal growth, it might be time to move on. If you feel you’re being honest and engaging with the other person but it’s just not there on a fundamental level, it can be difficult.

Breakups never feel good. They leave us questioning our actions, and wondering if we were too reactive or if we were really honest in what we wanted. We question if we held back our emotions due to fear or anger. We can question everything about ourselves.

The great news is a breakup is a great time to reevaluate and lean on your friendships and support system. It can give you a chance to work through growth and even find an eventual way to get back to sharing a friendship after a cooling-off period (assuming you WANT to continue a connection and found the friendship nourishing).

Breakups aren’t fun, but they give us a chance to sort out what we want and how we can better express our desires and yearnings. They allow us to examine the interaction, and we can rest easy knowing we were fully engaged, we didn’t shy away from conflict, and we approached the relationship with honesty and openness.

Dating and relationships can be fraught with opportunities for both awakenings and disturbances, but both can be moments of beauty and growth.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Join us every two weeks on Wednesdays at noon CST for our podcast Bring Out Your Best! where we discuss dating, relationships and being your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user prendio2.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

What Questions Should
I Ask on a First Date?

Don’t you wish there was a script for first dates? A standard set of screening questions? Have you ever seen the article circulating online detailing 36 questions YOU should ask to “find love”?


We’ve all read magazine articles like this before—promising the perfect interaction and happily ever after if we just screen with the right set of questions.

In reality, there’s no tried-and-true questionnaire for screening your dates. In online dating profiles, we do get the answers to some questions. But not all of us meet our dates online. What about the girl you approach at the gym or the guy you meet at a networking event? You can’t exactly ask them to fill out a match.com profile on the spot, just to see if you’re compatible.

It’s easy to make snap judgments when we walk in on a date. We look at how our date is dressed, we evaluate their jewelry and their habits, and we immediately have a reaction. Maybe his glasses remind you of your dad or her perfume reminds you FAR too much of the coworker who drives you nuts.

The truth about first dates: To have a successful first date (and a successful fifty-first date)—it’s all about what you put into it! What does a successful first date look like, anyway? I consider it a good date if I’m enjoying my own company, learning something new from my date, and learning about myself. When you’re fully engaged, expressing your yearnings, and being up front and honest about who you are, you can discover more about yourself and others—even if you don’t feel a romantic connection.

This ISN’T a Great Date

Sometimes “bad dates” can teach us more about ourselves than the great ones. The next time you’re on a date that seems to be going awry, ask yourself what’s really bothering you about your date.

Maybe he’s rude. Maybe she talks incessantly about herself. Maybe she’s condescending. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be fully IN the situation. Let your date know what’s bothering you, and see what you can learn from the interaction. It will tell you a great deal about how you handle being uncomfortable and the ways you shy away from or engage in conflict.

Not every date is a perfect match, but every date is an opportunity. Part of the joy and fun of dating is getting to know different people and getting to know yourself. If something bothers you, explore what’s going on with you!

This IS a Great Date

Many times, first dates might actually be going well, yet we find ourselves holding back. Maybe you don’t ask the hard questions because you’re having fun: you’re attracted to your date and enjoying your time together. Maybe you don’t want to scare them away by bringing up big topics like babies, houses, and marriage. Maybe you don’t want to find out they’re a homebody when you’re an adventurer.

Here’s the truth: a first date is a great time to ask anything! You haven’t fully invested your time, effort, and energy into the relationship yet. It’s a great time to find out if you’re on the same page and working toward the same outcomes so you can continue. Why wait until you’re six or seven dates in, only to be disappointed that you’re not really jiving on some of your biggest yearnings?

Some of us go into our first dates with our tough question ready—guns a-blazin’. We’ll ask anything, engage in conflict, and figure out what page they’re on. THEN, as time goes on and we become more emotionally invested in the relationship, we start holding ourselves back. By then, we’ve put our emotions and heart into the relationship, so we don’t want to be crushed when we get an answer we don’t want.

Relationships Are About Continued Engagement

In The Heart of the Fight, we talk about how you can continue to discuss and bring up your yearnings, engage in conflict, and keep the communication flowing throughout your entire relationship. For the first TEN YEARS or more, you’re trying to find your footing and you’re vying for control and understanding. Face it: if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to address these issues. Putting them off is just staving off the inevitable.

Dating is such an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself and someone else. It’s exciting to engage with someone and to learn more about your reactions—what you like, what you don’t like, and how you feel. Allow yourself to go off-script and get down to discussing what really matters to you. You’ll feel better about the relationship if you like who you are being. I want to be someone who takes risks, who tells the truth, and who gets to know myself better with each date.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.


Blog image courtesy Flickr user dickuhne.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Should I Bring a Date
Home for the Holidays?

Ah the holidays…feelings of joy, goodwill towards others, and what’s this? Dread?! If you’re just in a relationship, dating someone new or single, the holidays can bring up a whole myriad of concerns.


 

“What if I bring Sara to Christmas dinner and my aunt Susan talks about how much she (and the whole family) loved my ex, Julie?”

Or worse… “What if Sam goes to my cousin’s wedding with me and my sisters start up about when WE’RE going to get married? We’ve literally been dating for two months. Is it too soon to bring him?”

Whatever your situation, facing the litmus test of family, friends and merriment can dredge up all sorts of expectations, yearnings and feelings. If it’s a holiday like Valentine’s Day, Christmas or a birthday, there’s always the issue of whether or not to get gifts for the guy or girl you’re dating. If it’s a romantic event (like a wedding or worse—a destination wedding) or a family-heavy event, there are a lot of uncertainties.

“We Aren’t That Serious!”

When you’re first dating someone, there’s often a heady, euphoric, romantic period. You have control over the way you present yourself. You can engage with your date one-on-one and get to know each other. You may be determining the direction of the relationship, exploring the connection, and deciding how far you want things to continue.

There can be a fear the person you’re dating will “read into” an invitation and assume things are more serious. If this is the case, it might be time to take a look at what’s holding you back. There’s an underlying reason you don’t want them to read into the invitation—and that reason should be explored.

Are you fearful they’ll misread your invitation? Are you afraid of taking the relationship further? Or are you afraid they’re not as serious and you’re avoiding pushing it? Either way, it’s time for some personal work and growth.

On the flipside, what if you’re afraid of showing up single to an event? Are you reaching to the other person to be a shield from engaging with your family? Is that easier than setting appropriate boundaries and letting them know that while you appreciate their concern and feedback, you’re perfectly happy with this stage in your life?

“My Family Is Weird!”

Okay, sometimes it’s not about the person you’re dating at all, but about your own family dynamics…on the surface. We’re all familiar with our own family quirks, be they positive or negative. Sometimes exposing another person to that dynamic can be scary. You’re waiting for them to notice similarities (the dreaded “you’re just like your mother”) or for your family to do something embarrassing or frustrating.

You aren’t a jerk for feeling you’d prefer to spare your significant other the interaction with your family. You also aren’t a jerk to want have your family time all to yourself or to feel your relationship isn’t ready. The point is to own it and express it.

If you’re truly engaging with your significant other in a meaningful, honest way, chances are they aren’t going to see your freaky family and head for the hills. This can be a great opportunity for you to do a little transformational growth work and focus on what it is about your family dynamic that freaks you out.

We’re often our most vulnerable around family members, who have seen us at our best and worst. They may still remember the rough patch you went through in college or the fact you were a bed-wetter in elementary school. What’s worse, you never know what they’re going to “share” with a new person. Maybe your family is loud and overwhelming. Maybe you just miss your family and you don’t want to have to be shadowed by a new boyfriend or girlfriend, worrying about their needs the entire time.

There’s no time like the present to confront some of these issues head-on. When your sister brings up an embarrassing story (again), let her know it’s time you move past it. If your dad’s politics won’t jive with your new girlfriend, give her a heads up before dinner and divert the conversation. If you need your boyfriend to engage with your family, sans hand-holding, let him know ahead of time he’s going to have to hold his own.

As it turns out, these events can actually strengthen your bond, as you develop an “ally” mentality. It can be very reassuring to have your date there to support you and help understand where you’re coming from. Even if you decide it’s not an appropriate time for them to attend an event, it can be wonderful to have a sounding board when you need to vent.

“I Wasn’t Invited…”

It happens. It can bring up all kinds of feelings and yearnings. Did you express to your boyfriend or girlfriend you wanted to go? Did you explain you feel you’re in a place where you feel like you should have been invited?

There’s really no hard and fast rule about how many dates or how old a relationship should be before you go to events or give gifts. If you aren’t sure where you are, it’s time to talk about it. Not only that, but your date might be wondering the same sorts of things, and having the same fears and yearnings.

Admit to yourself (and to your boyfriend or girlfriend) you feel bad you weren’t invited. It’s perfectly okay to have a reaction where you feel hurt or things didn’t turn out in a satisfactory way. Oftentimes the anxiety about how these things will go permeates the interaction and builds up until it turns into an explosive reaction. It’s better to deal with it immediately and handle the conflict ahead of time.

During the holidays and big events, we can get this feeling like we’re supposed to feel something we aren’t—like we are supposed to be happy. Our relationship is supposed to be 100% fulfilling and perfect. We’re supposed to give them the greatest Valentine’s Day gift ever. It’s time to remind yourself, you are okay—work on strengthening your own sense of self-worth, first. You might want to visit your family alone, and that’s okay. You might not give the perfect gift, and that’s okay, too.

Focus on making the experience positive and approaching it with honest and open engagement. Let down the anticipatory anxiety over what you think it’s “supposed” to be and just let it happen organically. You just may find you enjoy the event and learn a thing or two about yourself and your date!

Join us every two weeks on Wednesdays at noon CST for our podcast Bring Out Your Best! where we discuss dating, relationships and being your best self.

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can order our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, coming out next February.


About the Author

Judith-300x250

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user parttimephotos.

 

How to Handle Blind Dates:
Honest Tips

How many of us have been set up? It used to be almost a cliché or a joke—the “blind date from hell” a friend or well-meaning family member coerced us into.


 

Nowadays, the face of dating has changed. We’re connecting through online dating sites and apps, and we’re meeting through coworkers and at networking events, so in general, almost every date becomes a “blind date” in some respect. Rarely do we know more about our date beforehand than a general idea of his or her looks and location.

The positive side to this new face of dating is it gives us a chance to engage and interact with many different people. We all lead busy lives, yet it’s important we make time to connect with others. How fascinating that we get to meet and get to know others while getting to know ourselves in such an objective manner? Dating is like a social experiment: we can test out our yearnings and different aspects of our personality while seeing how those traits fit with another person (or result in conflict).

On the flipside, what we see in someone’s profile or read online, doesn’t always translate to what we find in person.

“My Dates Always Go Wrong!”

Sometimes we hold back because we fear our dates won’t “go well” or things won’t happen in the way we expect them to. You know what? This is perfectly normal—and a wonderful opportunity to test things out and discover more about our reactions, expectations and desires!

No dating situation is perfect. Even if we plan out every detail or if we strictly adhere to our vision of the ideal date, things will go awry. You can’t control the behavior of other people and this conflict for control can be the very thing preventing us from “clicking”—or at minimum, it can cause little annoyances to pop up.

If your date does something you don’t like or you do something your date is unhappy with, it’s a wonderful chance to look at the deeper story behind it. If you cringe when he answers his cellphone at dinner or you absolutely hate it when she interrupts you in conversation, then it’s time to explore why. More importantly, did you say something when those feelings arose and was it addressed directly? Were you feeling ignored? Was your yearning to be noticed and be a priority overlooked?

Ask yourself how you reacted to these situations and frustrations, and examine how your date reacted as well. It might not be a perfect date, but it’s a perfect time to explore your interaction. Did you speak up, express your feelings, state your yearnings and engage? Did you withdraw, become passive-aggressive or feel hurt?

When It’s Just Not There…

Some people can have great online chemistry and it’s just a fizzle in real life. Even if you’ve had weeks of exciting banter and great conversation, the spark might not be there in person.

Not every date is going to be a love connection or even a like connection. It’s totally okay to let your date know things aren’t going as you’d hoped. If you continue the date as friends, you might still have a chance to make a connection and grow. If you end the date, you know you haven’t held back from being yourself. You’ve been honest—and that’s what’s important.

Sometimes a friend might set us up with someone who leaves us wondering, “WHOA, what was she thinking?!” Rather than being upset by the mismatch, you’ll find a great opportunity to examine your relationship with your friend and you’ll get a glimpse into the ways others might view your personality and your yearnings as you present them. You can see what sort of personality you’re projecting out to the world and to others in your social circle.

Using Dates to Grow

What it really comes down to is: are you being honest and up front with your dates? What are your expectations of the situation? There’s no formula or set of questions you can ask to predict the outcome of any date, blind date or otherwise. Searching for an answer is like asking for a crystal ball. It may even reveal we’re simply having a difficult time accepting the uncertainty of dating.

Unfortunately—and fortunately—the world is an unpredictable place. If we can allow ourselves to let go of the idea we need to be fully in control of the ride, or we need to have all the factors laid out in front of us, we can find ourselves enjoying the journey of dating and the lessons it has to offer.

If you find you’re easily angered on your dates or frustrated, it may be a frustration with the uncertainty and your own inability to express your desires and expectations. Much of our anger and frustrations can be exacerbated by an underlying fear.

Instead, reframe your view of dating as an adventure and an opportunity. Are you sharing meaningful things and are you affirming your feelings and the feelings of your date? Engage in the messiness of dating, jump in, tell the truth and get to know each other. Conflict is ok—when we get it out early we can avoid superficial and meaningless dates and relationships. Stop looking for things to be comfortable and familiar—shake things up and have some fun!

You just may find yourself enjoying blind dates more and more, and looking forward to your next dating adventure!

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pre-order our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, coming out next February.


About the Author

Judith-300x250

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.
Check Out Lifestyle Podcasts at BlogTalkRadio with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.

Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user alville.

 

THE One Secret to
Successful Online Dating

There is quite literally an app for everything today—and dating is no exception. There are so many options: Hinge, Tinder, Carrot, Coffee Meets Bagel…



The list goes on and on. One thing most of these apps have in common is that they offer us a chance to get a snapshot—a quick rundown on the basic stats of a potential date.

What do they really tell us though? Aside from age, location, and looks there’s really not many details. While attraction is important, shouldn’t we be looking for a little more?

Think of dating apps like making eye-contact at a bar. Swiping right is saying, “Yeah, maybe you should come talk to me,” while swiping left says, “Don’t you dare.” In real life, we do the same thing, it just feels a little less obvious sometimes. For those of us who are a little more reserved or have difficultly overcoming shyness, it can be really helpful because you get that awkward “meeting” out of the way. Online dating can be really fun and a great opportunity for growth!

Of course, dating apps aren’t perfect or the solution to everything. Just like so many things, they can become a soft addiction: we become so enthralled with the idea of that rush of excitement we get on a first and second date that we become serial daters. Suddenly we aren’t really taking things to the next emotional level with any of our dates, so we’re stuck with a full calendar and a lonely heart.

So where’s the balance?

Know What You’re Looking For

Like most things in life, knowing the outcome you’re aiming for helps steer you in the right direction. If you’re really looking to connect with someone and take things to a deeper level (i.e. beyond one or two dates, or even into boyfriend/girlfriend territory)—be up front about it. There can be the fear you might turn away the “perfect match” (which we know doesn’t exist, anyway) by sounding too demanding or too choosy, or by laying out your wants and expectations upfront.

Don’t fall into this limiting belief. Instead, pay attention to your yearnings and be real about them. Ask yourself if you’re using dating as a crutch. If you’re failing to put your expectations on the line because you’re too vulnerable—if the relationship goes awry you won’t be able to blame it on the other person, because you were honest about what you wanted.

It can be challenging to be this honest with yourself, but let’s admit it: dating is about gaining experiences and really, it’s about also getting to know ourselves better. It’s about finding out how you interact with people and what strengths they bring out in you. It’s about expressing your yearnings and finding people who can meet those yearnings in a way that is enough for you.

What If I’m Not Looking for Anything Serious?

Maybe you just got out of a relationship or you’re in the middle of your own transformational work, and you’d prefer to keep things casual. You know what? That’s perfectly okay, too. Word your profile and interactions as honestly and genuinely as possible to convey what you want.

Sometimes saying, “I don’t want to get serious right now” can be read as, “All I want to do is have no-strings-attached sex.” Unless that IS quite literally what you’re looking for, you might prefer to say something along the lines of, “Just looking to get to know lots of new friends right now, so I’m not looking to take things to the next level.”

When you’re in a place of growth and learning about yourself, you might find that dating is part of that. You need to understand the ways you interact with different types of people and how they make you feel. It might not be about future long-term plans, but rather just about observing yourself over coffee with new people and understanding your reactions and where they come from.

One thing’s for sure: dating should be fun and interesting. It’s a time to work on your social and emotional growth and get to the nitty-gritty of who you are so you can really know yourself. That’s something anyone can swipe right to!


You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s new book The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available on Amazon now!)

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates– free!

If you want to know more about how to work on your own social and emotional intelligence and growth, join us for our next More Life Training. Don’t miss our transformative high-value weekend. [Learn more!]

Want to learn more about more satisfying dates and relationships? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.


About the Author

table-img-6

Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.


Blog post image courtesy Flickr user freestocks.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

“But We’re So Different …”

What happens when you’re way into sports and you start dating a sports hater? Or when you find yourself dating an actor, but you don’t even own a television?



Are you a cat person going out with a dog person?

While it’s true sometimes opposites attract, how different is too different? Even Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog broke up. Is it possible to make it work with someone who is your opposite, politically, religiously, or personality-wise?

First of all, in dating we have to figure out what it is we’re really looking for and hoping to get out of it. Are you looking for long-term commitment and a possible future—or are you just looking to be social, engage with others and have a little fun? There’s no right answer and at different times in our lives most of us will probably be in one boat or the other. Being honest with yourself ensures you aren’t seeking out dates on different pages.

Then again, sometimes it’s still okay if you find someone who might not be looking for a “serious” relationship, when you are. You can still go out, engage with them, get to know them a little better and see where life takes you. As long as you’re being true to yourself and honest about your intentions and yearnings, it’s perfectly fine to date someone who’s not sure where things will lead.

What About Personality Differences?

The optimist versus the pessimist or the extrovert versus the introvert—these juxtapositions in the dating world give you an opportunity to really put those traits to the test and under the microscope. You may see them as red flags, but they’re really a chance to examine: are you truly an optimist because that’s the path you’ve chosen and it fits the way you interact with and see the world? Or, are you an optimist because you have anxiety about dealing with problems and you refuse to see them?

If you’re holding to your true personality and approaching differences from learning and engaging perspectives, it’s actually fun to date someone who challenges you and makes you go, “Wow—I never thought of that before.”

Highly energetic and extroverted people may have a hard time down-regulating in arguments or during conflict. For someone more analytical, less emotional or more introverted, this can be a little terrifying. It can also be a chance to grow a little in your emotional responses and to learn how to up-regulate yourself to meet their enthusiasm. You may want to explore what about the personality differences induces anxiety or causes you to be adverse. You’ll learn more about yourself and it just may end up being more exciting and exhilarating than dating someone “just like” you.

One fun thing we do in couples work is a game called “Sunshine/Clouds.” It’s about turning your perception of yourself on its head and viewing things from the other person’s perspective. If you’re struggling to find common ground or little “differences” are driving you crazy, try agreeing to reverse roles for a day. If she’s constantly late and you’re punctual to the second, mix it up. If you have a sunny outlook and she can be a Debbie Downer, try spending an entire date being a bit more of a raincloud. (Believe me—this one’s HARD.) It can actually lead to a little bit of laughter and an interesting perspective on the other person’s point of view.

Finding Common Ground

Don’t get bogged down by superficial “interests.” Yes, it can be nice fodder for conversation if you find you both love the Bears or Spain’s your favorite vacation destination. Things like sports teams, music, hobbies…those are all pastimes and they aren’t vital to connecting with another person. If you find someone you truly engage with and enjoy, then you might find your time is spent doing quality activities together and you don’t need so much “filler.”

Not to suggest, of course, you give up your hobbies or sell your season tickets once you start dating someone. Be true to who you are. Maybe it means you’re going to have to dial up your girlfriends to join you for a concert, or get your buddy to be your running partner. Dating doesn’t mean losing your identity or trying to conform to another person’s interests or preferences.

If you’ve done the work beforehand, you know yourself well enough to understand your deal breakers and non-negotiables. You also know what limiting beliefs might be holding you back from truly connecting with another person. Approach dating as a great social experiment—one where you should never compromise on your deal breakers, but you should allow yourself to grow and learn.

As we all know, there’s no such thing as “the one” and differences make dating explorative and fun. Get out there and learn a little bit about someone else and gain a little deeper understanding about yourself at the same time!

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s new book, out now: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available on Amazon now!)

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates– free!

Want to learn more about more satisfying dates and relationships? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.


About the Author
table-img-6

Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.


Blog post image courtesy Flickr user familymwr.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Date a Busy Person—
and How to Date
When You’re Busy!

How many of us feel like we just don’t have time to date? There’s barely enough time some days to work, feed ourselves, exercise and shower…let alone form a meaningful connection with another person!


 

Well, it’s time to date smarter. Dating, like any interactive, growth-oriented experience should have a goal in mind, a plan of execution, a timeframe (and yes, possibly a contingency plan when needed).

In your career, you don’t make time for unproductive activities. In your personal life, you focus on being your best self, growing, learning and feeding your needs. Why should your dating life be any different? Why should we fill our dating time with soft addictions and time fillers like Netflix or mindless entertainment, where we are in the same room, literally SPENDING time, but not making a connection?

What To Do When Your Date Says “I’m Too Busy”

This one’s an easy one, but it might not be an answer you want to hear—if your date is too busy, then you shouldn’t be dating them.

“Wait…but they’re the CEO of a big company and they’re finishing their PhD on the side, and they recently started to train for a marathon….”

Well, that means that they’re not making dating (or you) a priority in their life right now, and you need to find someone who values their time with you as much as you value your time with them.

Somehow in the course of our busy days we all find time to do the things we LOVE or see as non-negotiables. Maybe for you it’s yoga classes or running. Maybe it’s walking your dog, doing your hair, or reading the morning paper. Whatever those things are, you do them because you value them. You make time for them because you see these activities as important.

Dating should be just as important, if it’s something you both see as necessary at this juncture in your life. If your date wants to date you, they’ll make time for you—end of story.

Creative Dating Time Management

Maybe you won’t have time to do mindless, endless activities with your dates, like movies or concerts. Your time may be condensed, but look at this as a positive. By boiling down your dating activities to those things that really matter—important conversations, principles, shared goals and the real “nitty-gritty” of getting to know someone, you cut out all the B.S.

Take a cue from speed dating and business networking events—sometimes you ask the most pointed questions when your time is very limited. Meet for a morning coffee, a mid-workday lunch, or perhaps try a Skype or FaceTime date while you’re traveling. It’s really about sharing time with the other person—make that person, not the activity, the precedence.

Meeting New People

When you’re busy it can be difficult to meet people. If you don’t spend time lingering around bars, at singles events, clubs, or other nightlife hotspots, you might find that meeting a real, live “normal” human being can be, well, a challenge.

Again, consider the way you would conduct a job search. You’d consult your network, look at shared connections, put your best, but most honest foot forward and make sure your resume (or profile) reflects the important details. Do the same with your dating life. If you date online, be sure you’re honest, genuine and upfront with your profile. Say what you’re expecting and state your goals.

When you value your time, you may find that you go through more dating partners—simply because you aren’t throwing your time around with someone that you know isn’t right. It’s not about just getting a free lunch or going to find something mutually entertaining. If you take time out of your busy schedule, it needs to be worth it.

If you’re still struggling, try a professional matchmaker or executive match service. This can help you narrow down the field and find more potential dates who are on your level and share your lifestyle, schedule and priorities.

Screen Your Dates

No one has time for a bad date. Do both of yourselves a favor and have the courtesy to politely end it, if need be. It might seem harsh at first but if you’re sitting through a conversation that you know is quickly going south, it’s worth your time and theirs to be upfront, direct, and honest—it’s time to say, “thanks but no thanks.”

Spending your time with someone that feels “worthy” of your limited hours is exciting. You’ll find more quality, less quantity gets you much further in the dating world.

If you’re hearing from your dates that they don’t feel you have enough time for them (and you are genuinely interested), then it’s time to examine what might be holding you back. Are you afraid of getting hurt? Are you hiding what you really want? Are you not conveying your needs and being honest and open with them?

Being vulnerable enough to take time to bond with another person and be your honest and true self can be very scary, but it can also lead to amazing and wonderful things. Opening up your heart (and your schedule) to another person requires a level of trust and desire that you may not have with everyone. You may not even have it with anyone right now and that’s okay too.

If you decide your schedule is simply too busy for dating, be honest with yourself about why you’re choosing not to make it a priority right now. It’s very empowering to admit that you’re not open to dating for the next few months because you’re focusing on your personal growth and you’re not in an emotional position to be with another person right now. That’s a much stronger reason than the simple excuse of “I’m too busy.”

Approach each person with genuine honesty and openness. Be true to yourself and your principles and you’ll find that your schedule won’t hold you back.

For more ideas on authenticity and love, visit Wright Now and explore our selection of courses and webinars. We offer resources to help you discover more about yourself, your relationships, and your career. So start living a life of MORE today!

Join Us For More Life Training

In one educational and inspiring weekend, you’ll learn all about our practical, down-to-earth, easy-to-follow program designed to jumpstart your journey to self-discovery, personal fulfillment and better interpersonal relationships.
 

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates– free!

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.


About the Author

table-img-6
Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.


Blog post image courtesy Flickr user alville.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.