Dating in the modern world is complex.
Following the blueprint that our parents used when they got into relationships, no longer works for many of us.
Many cultures, like Indian, Armenian, Chinese, used arranged marriages as a way of bringing two people together with intent for marriage. Even if dating was “allowed”, there wasn’t much wiggle room in the period of courting. Marriage seemed to be an inevitable outcome.
In today’s world, we are presented with an opposite dilemma: having unlimited freedom and a myriad of choices. The dating apps such as OkCupid, MeetMindful, and Zoosk offer us a wide range of possibilities of potential mates at our fingertips.
Within a couple of mouse clicks, a few texts and a phone conversation, we could be sitting across from a “stranger” in a cozy coffee shop, wondering if this connection will go anywhere.
On the road of dating, so many questions come up.
For example, if I date someone from my own culture, am I expected to follow unspoken agreements of dating that we both know or do the norms of American dating culture take over?
Here’s another one:
How do I pace a romantic connection to allow organic unfolding and at the same time, use discernment to assess the character of the person I am dating?
How can I trust myself not to fall into the same unhealthy relational patterns that I had with my parents or the dynamics I inherited from my lineage.
On top of that, we are dancing with a myriad of other parts:
- we are gaging if his/her values match our own
- we are taking brave risks of vulnerability
- we are facing uncertainty of where the connection is going
- we are wondering when to move into sexual intimacy
- we are asking when to introduce romantic interest to friends and family?
- we are being mindful of the changes in the collective relational field between men and women, as a consequence of the #metoo movement.
With all of these components the journey of dating can feel daunting and overwhelming. At the same time, a rich opportunity for exploration, discovery and communication is available here.
When outer structures that dictate to us how dating “should go” fall away, we are called to move towards a different set of reference points, such as: our hearts, souls, bodies and inner guidance.
We return to what we hold sacred in ourselves and in our lives. These anchors hold the potential to guide us toward true love and happiness.
If you want to go deeper, I invite you to explore the following:
- What are your values?
- Within your cultural context, what no longer serves you and what do you want to carry forward?
- What kind of a relationship do you desire to have?
- What is your sense of self inside of this relationship?
- What kind of a life do you want to create together, with your partner?