In the April 22nd blog I posed four questions (scroll down to see the blog). I had hoped the questions would get everyone thinking the same way they got me thinking. For example, consider the question about whether guys dating experiences tend to find them thinking about getting married. The answer to the question really tends to depend on his age and "station in life" so to speak for the guy answering it. Guys in their teens through early twenties generally respond to that question with a resounding, "No!" So then why are they dating--which was the first question? If you're a guy or a gal and you're not dating with thoughts about getting married right now (which was the original reason why people dated or courted), you are obviously dating for what you consider "other important reasons."
Three reasons that vary in degree of their relationship to marriage come to my mind: 1) you are prowling around, 2) you are completely clueless, or 3) you are genuinely trying to develop some valuable "marriage preparation" skills.
Now, we may differ in our belief about the value and/or appropriateness of these three options. So in an obvious and honest effort to constructively influence your thinking, let me briefly discuss, and in a very distilled way, some key things I know about each of these categories.
1. If "you are prowling around"
You're dating for the opportunity it offers you to become sensually and/or sexually involved with your date. What really matters to you is that the partner is sexually attractive to you. Carefully consider these facts:
- Fact: Although the popular media promotes promiscuity in dating relationships, promiscuity remains a social and societal taboo. Why? Because it is a contributor to many tragic social and societal problems. I know you probably have not thought about this and probably don't want to think of yourself in these terms, but the ugly truth is this: If you are prowling around you are a perpetrator of these problems!
- Fact: Women are often the victims of what is universally considered selfish and irresponsible male behavior.
- Fact: Cutting edge brain research is demonstrating how promiscuous behavior destroys one's ability to make a future, singular, and secure commitment to a future marriage partner.
- Fact: The use of pornography is a chief influence to distort gender perceptions (for both men and women) and these distortions lead to active and growing addictions. The addictions are a form of personal slavery. Enslaved appetites drive a person's dating thoughts, motives, and behavior. If you're in this trap don't waste your life any longer; get some help!
Clueless is about having absolutely no plan and no sense of what you're doing in and around the dating scene. Sure you can write an email, pick-up the phone, or say, "Yes," to someone asking you out, but clueless daters suffer from an awkward feeling of being inept, unprepared, and overwhelmed by the dating experience in general. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying they don't like it, but that they just don't know what to do with it. (In some ways they are a target for the Prowler!)
Clueless daters are often not confident and may feel very inadequate for the challenges they find in the dating experience. They may struggle to resolve some confusion they experience: its scariness and uncertainty contrasted with its moments of exhilaration and personal satisfaction. For them the dating process is one to be endured...a necessary evil to be tolerated in anticipation of potential longer term benefits.
Consider a few helpful and timely facts:
- Fact: People who don't have a muscular self-confidence when it comes to dating are probably in the majority. In many instances the timidity you can feel probably has a lot to do with trying to make a good impression. But what is a "good impression" all about anyway? You will find a great deal more confidence, i.e., you will be more able to act like your real self, if you feel you are in more familiar territory. Being in familiar territory has a lot to do with having a fool-proof plan--one you know you can confidently follow, one that will let you communicate a better impression.
- Fact: Another aspect of self-confidence is about self-esteem. People vary considerably in this personal dimension. Remember, there are a lot of people "out there" in rewarding relationships who have struggled with their self-esteem. So high self-esteem is not a "union requirement for membership in the happy marriage society." Again, the key to moving beyond the self-esteem saboteur is about having and successfully working a fool-proof plan, a plan that gives you confidence and support. Smarter Romance is exactly that kind of resource.
- Fact: you should not step onto the dating trail until you have identified a workable plan that YOU KNOW is going to work for you. OK, it can be a trial and error kind of thing, maybe, but you will avoid potential for great disappointment and personal heartache if you can simply commit to this little rule for yourself. (You will thank me later!)
Finally, maybe you are one of those people in the dating scene genuinely--and confidently--trying to develop some valuable "marriage-preparation" skills.
- Fact: I absolutely applaud your intent and goal! The basic skills we all need to support successful relationships at every level are generally learned at home with our family members. But because family-of-origin experiences differ so dramatically, there is great merit in discovering how your skills work, that is, do they work inter-personally for you or against you?
- Fact: There is a wide variety of "marriage preparation" resources available, e.g., http.eharmony.com/ You can find everything from simple dating tips to elaborate plans, assessments, memberships, suggested scenes, and "Ya gotta do this" stuff. There is some proven merit in all these things, but the real information your stated goal's advancement will require is likely to be more customized than many of these resources can offer in and of themselves. In fact, some of the available resources may take you in directions you might want to avoid. Be picky. If you are new to the dating scene talk to someone you know and trust who has been around for a while.
- Fact: You have no guarantee the person you are dating has good skills. Whether you are on your first date or you are back in the dating scene again, Smarter Romance offers you and your prospective date a healthy time-proven perspective. It gives you some simple tools that will support your personal and shared goals. SR will help you streamline your time-line to help you accomplish your goals wisely and successfully.
You may be interested in more information about Smarter Romance (SR). Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the other Associated SR blog links listed on this page.
Until next time have fun, be safe, and be smart!