A significant factor in why people struggle with disappointment about dating and new relationships is mistakenly believing, on some level, that the aim of dating is to impress the person into being who we want them to be. Yes, that would be people pleasing.

Let’s say that you meet someone today, go on a few dates and mutually agree to enter into a relationship in a couple of weeks. Doing so doesn’t mean that you know them. That is, of course, unless you genuinely do, as in you have a prior friendship. Not makey-up friends or pretending you know them because you work together, but actual friends. And even then, that’s not the same as knowing them in a romantic relationship context.

When we go from dating to mutually agreeing to start a relationship (stage 2), all we have is superficial knowledge of their intentions and values at this point. We can’t know for sure that we’re compatible at this stage, but we can pick up on incompatibility. This is something I break down in my podcast episode on the compatibility factor.

So many daters conflate wanting to pursue a relationship, the attraction, the seeming common ground, with knowledge.

They make the mistake of assuming that they “know” more about a prospective or new romantic partner than they do. The truth is, it’s guesswork. In some instances, what they think they know is pure fantasy!

What we don’t pay enough attention to is that more often than not, we start relationships (and want commitment) with veritable strangers. It’s as if we think that agreeing to get into a relationship means that they’re not someone that, for instance, we didn’t even know two weeks ago. Nope! They still are.

Approaching dating and relationships from a more mindful place means that even though we’ll undoubtedly be disappointed if someone isn’t who we thought they were or would like them to be, we won’t take it so personally. Instead, we’ll recognise that it’s information. From there, we can be more discerning while approaching our relationships with an open, boundaried heart because we’re not in a fantasy.

Are you ready to stop silencing and hiding yourself in an attempt to ‘please’ or protect yourself from others? My book, The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon), is out now.

The Joy of Saying No by Natalie Lue book cover. Subtitle: A simple plan to stop people pleasing, reclaim boundaries, and say yes to the life you want.
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