When I speak to large groups or even interact with my clients, they often want advice that is simple and can be applied quickly. I don’t use the word “easy” since nothing to do with dating another human being is truly easy!
One woman a few weeks ago asked me to sum up successful dating in one word. I thought about it for about a few seconds and blurted out: options. She looked a little bewildered, but when I explained myself she agreed.
You might be wondering what the word “options” has to do with dating.
What I mean by “options” is that, when you’re trying to get into a relationship, you make it so you have actual choices. You don’t pair up with the first person who comes into your life.
In practice, this means that you go out on dates with several people, you’re trying multiple avenues to get dates (online, etc.), and you’re messaging and hanging out with more than one person.
In essence, you’re trying to find the right person for you and not settling for the first warm body that flirts with you, which seems to be the case for a lot of people these days.
However, having options doesn’t mean that you’re a player, a manipulator, or lying to others. Keep in mind, I’m talking about dating here, not keeping all your past dates on speed dial once you’ve committed to one particular person.
But, if you haven’t made a commitment to someone else, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to explore your options in the dating market. Just because you’ve gone out on a couple dates or text someone regularly doesn’t mean you’re bound to get into any sort of long-term relationship with that person!
The key with options is to be open and upfront. You can let the people in your life know that you’re simply dating around and not quite ready for a relationship.
By creating options and exercising them, you’re going to be more successful in finding a great, meaningful relationship. Here are a few reasons why.
It Helps You Avoid Settling
I have a cousin who hates being single, which isn’t really abnormal. However, because of this, she jumps from relationship to relationship, falling for the first person who gives her any attention. She doesn’t create or exercise her options when dating and it leads her to relationships that range from mediocre to outright toxic.
When it comes to just about everything in life, we are blessed with choices. If you want to buy cereal, for example, you can choose among numerous brands and varieties, picking the one that best suits your taste and price preferences.
Options will help you get into a relationship with a person that is right for you rather than simply settling. Not only that, but it might keep you out of a relationship that isn’t just “settling,” but downright awful because having options…
Puts You in the Driver’s Seat
My cousin has always been in bad relationships because she simply accepts the men that come her way, quickly committing to them early in the romance. Once someone shows her the slightest bit of attention, she instantly falls in love. This might sound like you or someone you know.
Having options, however, puts you in the driver’s seat of a relationship. You don’t have to choose the first man or woman who comes your way out of desperation or loneliness. Rather, you get to weigh the choices and pick.
It’s very empowering to choose one partner out of many choices for the right reasons rather than simply taking what comes your way.
It Takes Off the Pressure
What if you needed gas for your car during a trip and there was one station in the next two hundred miles? What if you needed gas for your car and there were fifty stations over the next two hundred miles?
In life, the more options you have, the better off you are. The is true of gas stations or dating.
In relationships especially, lack of options creates insane pressure. if you’re lonely and looking for love, the pressure to find “the one” can be intense.
Too much pressure leads to desperation, neediness, and social anxiety. And, these traits aren’t considered very attractive. Not only that, but such pressure can cause you to overlook obvious flaws just to get into a relationship and ease the negative feelings.
Removing the pressure through dating options frees you up to be your best and most attractive self. So, not only do you get to pick the person to date, but you’re more attractive to them in the process!
Avoid the Consequences of Settling
Picking the wrong person in a relationship can have serious consequences. It can be everything from abuse, divorce, being stuck with a deadbeat parent for your child, to simply living with a boring, sexless relationship.
With the high divorce rates, surveys that show a majority of people cheat or would cheat on their partner, and general unhappiness in relationships, it’s clear that many people settle and pay the price.
The best way to avoid the pain that comes from picking the wrong partner is to… pick the right one in the first place.
While having dating options won’t guarantee that you’ll find yourself a winner, it increases the odds. If you’re looking for a relationship and get to know 7-8 people before making a commitment, you’re more likely to find “the one” than if you simply meet 1 person and go based on that.
So, get out there and create dating options. Start texting multiple people, get on various dating websites, and go out on dates with a variety of people. Once you find the right person, you can make a commitment. But, until then, take control of your dating life, get to know a lot of people, and, when you’re ready, pick the person who is right for you!
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