The dating landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. We now have many ways to meet singles outside our normal social circles, yet there is a common narrative that has spread throughout our dating culture: "I am exhausted." With more dating options comes a responsibility to know how to choose potential partners wisely to avoid exhaustion. Our team here at Ambiance Matchmaking sat down and discussed the following ways to avoid dating burnout and date smarter in 2023.
How can I avoid dating burnout and stress?
Let’s be honest, love is heavily nuanced, laced with contradictions and complications. (This is why I will never be bored with my job). However, the more we can expand our capacity to navigate the infinite variables in finding a significant other, the higher probability we’ll have success, and the more enjoyable the experience will be. We can expand our abilities by training our minds. We must cultivate the capacity to be open-minded and intuitive, eliminate judgmental tendencies, and be resistant to stress and triggers that can often set us back and overwhelm us on our dating journeys. How do we do this?
It’s difficult to break habits we’ve formed over the last 30 or 40 years, however, it is possible. Studies in the field of neuroplasticity show us our brains are more malleable than we think. Neuroplasticity is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. It is when the brain is rewired to function in some way that differs from how it previously functioned.
The best way to “change your mind” is to master the art of self-awareness which can be achieved through simply observing your mind (meditation is great for this). The more space you create in your mind, the more opportunity you’ll have to see things clearly. As Raval Navikant says, “Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind,” and “Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.” We also recommend finding a friend, “accountability partner,” or a professional matchmaker to accompany you along your dating journey. It’s invaluable to have someone to keep you on track and remind you of your values when things get complicated or confusing.
Further reading: The Most Efficient Way To Meet Your Life Partner
How can I learn to trust my intuition on dates?
Cultivating your intuition is a life-changing skill. But what is intuition, exactly? A general definition of intuition is the ability to understand or know something without conscious reasoning. However, we like HeartMath’s view on intuition. HeartMath researchers conducted controlled and scientifically validated studies to determine how human intuition works. They concluded that the heart is the source of wisdom, higher intelligence, and intuition. I believe this information can help us hone our intuition by knowing its source (the heart).
Intuition is an important piece of the dating puzzle and it can be used to decide whether or not someone is a potential partner. It is vital to come back to your intuition especially if you are susceptible or easily influenced by outside opinions from friends and family. While it’s important to see how your potential partner interacts with your social circle, it’s also important to realize that this is your choice and who YOU will be spending your life with, not who your mom, dad, or best friend will spend their lives with.
Many of us are overly concerned with what others think of us. Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast is laced with great examples of this. A large percentage of his podcast guests openly admit that they are going bankrupt in order to “keep up with the Joneses.” They buy houses they can’t afford because people in their social circle are buying, or because their parents tell them that renting is a “waste of money” (false) or that “buying a home is the best investment” (also false).
Rather than making choices based on what others will think, take your dating life into your own hands. This is when it is vital to come back to your value system. What is important to you in a potential life partner?
How can I be more present on my dates?
Most of us live in the past or the future. Take one day to audit your thoughts. What are you thinking about? An argument you had with your mom yesterday? Your trip to Patagonia last month? (Guilty). A list of things you have to do tomorrow? An upcoming public speech you’re worried about? (Also guilty). When our mind lives in the past or future, it takes us out of the present moment. When we’re not present with a potential partner, we can’t truly be aware of his energy, body language, how he thinks, how he talks, and so on. Cultivating the art of being present takes practice. A lot of practice. Practice putting your phone away on Sundays. Practice meditation for 10 minutes a day. Practice being bored. Let your mind wander. Let yourself “find enlightenment between your thoughts.”
Further reading: The Art Of Being Present In Your Relationships
How can I recognize red flags before my relationships become too serious?
This is a tricky one. When we meet someone that surprises us, puts butterflies in our stomachs, and occupies our minds until no end, it’s hard not to jump in with both feet and allow your body to be consumed by the pleasure-inducing love hormones. However, we must learn to enjoy the experience while also being aware that love hormones fade at the end of the honeymoon phase (not to sound too cynical). We recommend cultivating the following three practices during your dating journey:
- After a handful of dates, begin talking about important values that will determine your long-term compatibility. Just as an example, on date number five, you can start talking about how your parents viewed money and your relationship with money now.
- After each date, make it a practice to journal. How did you feel in their presence? What is one thing you learned about them? What values do you share? What do you still have doubts about?
- Don’t lose yourself too quickly. Ensure you’re still making time for yourself, friends, and family.
How can I have important conversations about lifestyle, work, marriage, and finances with my date?
Way too often, and more so in the Western world, romantic chemistry is the catalyst for the relationship. And while this is a key element, it’s missing a very important component: long-term compatibility. Compatibility is most often defined by the following categories:
- Lifestyle: What does your life look like 5, 10, or 20 years from now? Where will you live? Who will be working? Will you be living in a Manhattan penthouse or a beachside bungalow in the Bahamas?
- Work: Do you plan on working hard until you’re 65 at which time you’ll retire? Or do you plan to live rich now and continue working well past 65?
- Marriage and children: Do you want to get married? Do you want children? How many? When? Will you raise them in a religious or spiritual environment? Will they go to public or private school?
- Finances: How do you view money? Do you want to earn a lot of money to live a life of luxury? Or do you prefer to only have the minimum you need to lead a simple and comfortable life? How will you share expenses? Are you saving toward a joint goal? What fun things do you want to do with your money?
While using a professional matchmaking service does all of this upfront work for you, those going solo will need to create a value-system roadmap and ensure they are having these conversations with potential partners before things get too serious.
I have one friend who told me, “When I first met my boyfriend, I asked, ‘What’s your credit score?” She says, “If we’re going to get married, buy a home together, and merge bank and investment accounts, those are huge financial decisions that will leave permanent marks on our lives. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page from the beginning.” And while we’d advise our clients to wait a few dates before asking for credit scores, you get the idea!
Further reading on money and relationships: How Your Money Psychology Influences Your Relationships
When should I introduce my date to friends and family?
We are proponents of introducing your potential partner to friends and family early in your dating journey, which is not common dating advice. Most people stay in their one-on-one dating bubbles until it’s “serious enough” to introduce their dates to their inner circles. However, you miss so many learning experiences by seeing how your date interacts with those closest to you. Rather than waiting months to introduce your date to friends, why not organize a group outing after a handful of dates? It doesn’t have to be a high-pressure experience, it can be organized in a way that is low-key and casual.
Another big tell-tell sign that a couple is compatible is having a positive travel experience together. Travel, especially exotic travel, has the ability to bring out the spectrum of human emotion (just ask me after my trip to Morocco). You might be put in stressful, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable situations where you can see how your partner reacts and handles stress. You will plan and make important decisions together which will show you her decision-making skills. How will you travel? Economy or first-class? Where will you stay? In a luxury Airbnb or in a backpacker’s hostel? What will you do? Museums and art fairs or football games and breweries? Where will you eat? Fine dining or street food? All of these decisions will take you further into the mindset and lifestyle of your potential partner.
How can I find the balance between intimacy and desire in my relationships?
Many relationships, especially those consumed by passion, become entangled with the desire to spend every waking minute together. There is only one problem with this: you tend to lose yourself in the relationship. While time together is important to build intimacy and closeness, time apart is also essential to maintain individualism and to keep desire alive.
As Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet and author of The Prophet writes:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
Or as Esther Perel, Belgian relationship therapist and author says:
“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.”
It is vital to create intimacy in our relationships, while still making time for ourselves, our friends, and our family. A well-balanced life is a healthy and happy life.
Further reading on desire and intimacy: The Intimacy-Desire Paradox