Anna and Matt discuss the importance of Intentional Dating and using dating as a means to define the “mold” of your ideal partner as well as how expectations can lead to problems down the road when your mold was not clearly defined. They also touch upon how to deal with changing expectations in a relationship.
Intentional Dating: Intentional Dating is the practice of dating actively instead of passively by seeking qualities and attributes that are most important to you in a partner. It is a blend of the rational along with emotional to make sure you are making good choices in who to continue dating and eventually pursue a relationship with. Early in the dating process it is easy to fall into the excitement of a particular person and see only their best qualities while ignoring important incompatibilities so intentional dating helps minimize the chances of that occurring. One of the tools we use to help conceptualize intentional dating is your “mold”
Creating Your Mold: Your mold is the archetype of what you imagine your ideal partner to be. Early in dating, the mold is typically not nearly as defined and/or very pliable. We use the analogy of wet clay where only the most certain parts have set and the rest can be easily changed. As you date and go through life, certain things you thought you wanted may change and new qualities may come into prominence while the importance of others fade away. The more you date the more solid and defined this mold becomes.
Forcing the Mold: Continuing with mold analogy, often people who are dating will try to fit people into their mold even though some parts clearly do not fit. Others will try to fit themselves into others molds by pretending they have certain qualities or interests that they don’t really have to try and win over the person of interest. This can cause long term problems as the truth will eventually come out and some of these incompatibilities can break the relationship. This is why it is important to practice intentional dating and recognize that there is nothing wrong with finding someone who is otherwise great but does not fully align with what you are looking for and it is also OK to not fully be what the other is looking for. It is not a statement on anyone’s personal value.
Sometimes People Change: Understand that life is growth and part of that growth process means that things that were once important to you may not be as time goes on. In turn, some things that did not seem important at first may become very important. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that change in a partner is a betrayal on you. Sometimes people grow together, sometimes they grow apart. It is in trying to fight changes or not finding healthy ways to work with them is where the damage and heartache can come in to play. When what someone is seeking in life changes, it is important to work either together or with someone to determine what these changes mean and if both partners can work with these changes and adapt. If not, it is much easier to move into a conscious uncoupling when approached from a place of love and understanding.
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