To me, dating seems to resemble more of a sport than an opportunity to pursue a potential mate. Dating in some ways has become a competition with ourselves, to see what we can accomplish, with whom and what lengths we must go to make it happen.
I think dating for sport might be okay if both parties knew there was some level of competition involved and exactly what the reward is for “winning.” I also think dating as sport, for many people, is a way to take pressure off of the dating scene and relationships in general.
I’m an advocate of dating with a purpose. But I understand many feel like there is pressure when they admit they are dating to find their special someone, whom they hope to spend their lives with.
For those that feel pressure, I do think it’s possible to date with purpose without taking advantage of others or making selfish decisions to protect our own hearts. Let’s discuss a few ways we can take the pressure out of dating:
Set Proper Expectations
I can’t stress this point enough. When we set expectations up front and hold ourselves and others to those expectations, this takes much of the pressure out of building a relationship.
Whether you want to find a person to marry or you just want to have an occasional dinner companion and that’s it, discuss those expectations up front and stick to them.
Yet, allow an atmosphere of honesty to discuss if and when expectations change. Feelings definitely change and when that happens, that should be discussed. If she was in the friend zone and now you want to see where a relationship could go, have the discussion and see if she’s open to it. Don’t force it. Don’t hide it. If she’s open, pursue it, if not, respect her expectations. Which leads me to my next point…
Boundaries and expectations overlap, but they are NOT exactly the same. Set boundaries on your time, your money, your body and anything else, which could begin to be shared or intertwine when dating.
It’s highly important to remember the boundaries you set in the beginning are the boundaries your partner are going to grow to respect. If there is no boundary on your time, someone may take advantage of your time because you allow them to do so. Your body is no different. When you make a conscious decision on what you will and will not allow to happen physically from day one and you hold to it, the boundary is much more easily respected and takes the pressure off of the physical component of dating.
I’m married, so there are some things I’m committed to doing for my wife. I made a commitment to love, honor and cherish her. I made a commitment to be there for better or worse. Inside of this commitment, there is an obligation to do certain things.
There is an obligation to make her feel special. There is an obligation to show her love in a way she will recognize it. If we were dating, I don’t have a specific obligation. I am obligated to honor my word. Beyond keeping your word, eliminate the idea of obligation in dating relationships.
It’s important to remember you are in the relationship because you want to be—not because you feel obligated to do so. A relationship should be with two people who want to be there, not because one is dependent or because they are both co-dependent on each other.
If you are in one of these types of relationships, once you no longer feel obligated to someone in a relationship (you’re not married to), you will often find the obligation is all that was keeping you there in the first place. We want relationships built on love and trust and NOT obligation.
As a reminder, dating should not be a sport…nor should it be a spectator sport. You have to be involved.
In the dating game, there will likely be some level of pressure at some point. That said, we can minimize or eliminate the pressure if we follow these ideas and more importantly, hold to the standards even as we get close in our relationships.
BMWK, do you feel the pressure to appease in your dating relationship? Do you give into those pressures or have you found a way around them?