Healthy Dating

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    I’m in my early 30’s, I was in a relationship for about 8 years, and I’ve been single now for two. Over the past two years, I’ve been dating fairly regularly taking some breaks here and there and doing a lot of personal soul searching, practicing mindfulness, becoming more self-aware, and laying down a more solid emotional and psychological foundation on which to build a relationship. When meeting new people, I’m learning the importance of being vulnerable, open, and honest about all aspects of myself.

    Dating is still a fairly foreign concept for me, but I’m good at it and enjoy it. I’ve been successful in meeting women and the resulting relationships usually last anywhere from about 1 to 3 months.

    My goal in dating is that I’m looking for a long term partner with whom I can start a family. So far I’ll either start a relationship with a woman to test the waters and see if any more profound feelings develop or sometimes I’ll be driven into a relationship by my hormones. Especially in cases of the latter, it feels like I’m completely blinded by a woman’s sexual energy and despite the fact that there are red flares that this is not a long term partner, my brain goes to mush and I’ll ignore those instincts in favor of more primitive ones. Naturally, both of these types of relationships end with pain, regret, longing, and sadness on my part, the woman’s, or both.

    Is this what dating is like for everyone? Is there a better and healthier way?


    Judgement is a tricky thing. Judging others and judging self, judging dreams and judging the moment.

    The item to meditate on is the red flags. Are these flags such as spending habits, eating habits, rudeness, lack of kindness, too talky with out listening or too much silence without sharing… these are flags that one really gets pretty quick as in first to third date. Once you set in with a person are you both approaching building friendship and adventures or bonding and connection through intellectual endeavors? The trick is that I am finding in my dance of similar kind is that so far of the host of dates I have been on in the last six months I could tell right away if this was even friend material interaction. Those are clear. The hard one was where we both really connected and a week later she said with authenticity ‘you look too much like my ex-husband.’ BOOM. Dang.

    At this juncture I have had one marriage and one long term relationship that was like marriage without the paper document and now at this point with my one child twenty-five percent through high school… I am not looking for the one or any thing other than authentic moments.

    If the authentic moments with consenting joyful woman translate into one partner for the next fifty years I will be very content. I also will be content with no relationship or content with a few short or mid duration relationships as long as they are authentic. This is the key. To live in the moment without judgement and authentically be you and present your hopes and dreams and address fears with courage and be willing to compromise and set boundaries and self care and nurture… that is all you can hope for.

    Try not to judge or to say I want to find the one. That is like saying I am meditating and am now enlightened. As soon as we judge the now we fall of the enlightenment horse or as soon as we say well … you are not THE ONE… our judgements get in the way of allowing.

    It is a conundrum. Indeed.

    It is said that no one is perfect so ask yourself if the flaws of the other person are ok enough that you can work with knowing that she is working with your flaws as well and if you both are authentically being a team … whether the relationship lasts months years or decades is…. well really … don’t worry about what if… just be happy be authentic be non judgmental and be compassionate.

    If we are so blessed we will find a person who shares similar hopes and dreams and lifestyle mores and is willing to make authentic commitment to being real as a team for as long as it lasts.

    If one or both individuals change to a point of just not working… the ability to part as friends with respect is right there…

    I will let you know how this works out for me… call me in forty years…. ( I am 46)



    Thanks Justin for your great response.

    Am I judging myself to harshly? Is the pain I may inflict on others and others inflict on me simply the realities of dating? I like you, you don’t like me, you like me, I don’t like you and on and on it goes? What a roller coaster and how do I get off? 😛

    Not to be striving for a long term relationship and being content with a few short or mid-duration relationships is a very foreign concept since I would like to get married and have kids someday.

    Que sera, sera is a very tough pill to swallow.


    I believe Justin has figured it out when he says be authentic, look for authenticity in those you connect with.
    If you are fortunate to have authentic connections, you are much more likely to fins your happily ever after.


    Thanks Maddy.

    I’ve been very luck in that the relationships I have had thus far have been very authentic. At least on my end, there’s always been striving towards making a soulful connection by being open, honest, and vulnerable. With that however, comes pain and sadness, when for emotional, psychological, physical, intellectual, and sometimes even practical reasons a long term connection isn’t there.

    To Justin’s point, I think I may also being dealing with issues of self-judgement, guilt, and shame as to the pleasure I get from these relationships without feeling the need to commit to a long term relationship or marriage right away. I honestly do try and be open to the possibility, put the time and effort into it, and search for the feelings within myself to tell me, yes, this is the one. But if they’re not there, they’re not there, and I simply have to walk away. That doesn’t make me a bad person, does it? See! Once again, feelings of guilt and shame. Where is this nagging voice coming from? I’m going to journal about this one and see where it goes.


    There are times John when less thinking is a good healing process. Less monkey mind. Less worry about recording thoughts or others judging if you are good or bad or you judging your own good or bad or if you should walk away or … or….

    Allowing the moment to just be does take practice.

    My favorite practice place for this kind of space is to sit on a sand bar in a small brook or a small boulder in a river… the gurgling sound and the idea the visual the reminder to let go and visualize everything just wash away down to the ocean to evaporate into the cloud to fall on the mountain to run down the stream past me again and the circle of everything found in the moment of nothing.

    Namaste and thank you for reminding me that I could use a good sit on a boulder in a river time myself.


    Thank you both for helping me nip this in the bud. Looking back at my original post and this conversation have been a fantastic reminder of how my monkey mind continues to pull me into the weeds of things through judgements about myself and making comparisons to others, to the past, and to the future. I know deep down inside I’m a good person and I would never ever try to hurt anyone intentionally, but the mind continues to throw slings and arrows at me. Not sure why it does it and I don’t think I’ll ever figure it out, but through mindfulness and meditation, I can at least recognize when this negative self-talk, guilt, and shame come up.

    Your comment about monkey mind reminded me about my favourite scene from Kung Fu Panda. Like Po, I tend to experience a lot of self-doubt, making comparisons, self-judgement, and negative self-talk when it comes to dating and relationships. But we can all learn a lot from Master Ooguay. 😉


    John, I think it’s part of relationships and dating. There are a few things that have helped me. Waiting several dates before getting physical( kissing, making out, etc) This helps me tell if there is a genuine friendship basis before I get my hormones all stirred up, and attach to someone I dont really want get involved with long term. Just basically taking it slow and using my head. On the other hand, if you want to fool around, not commit, just be honest about what you want and what you are willing to do, or not do. Then you have NOTHING to feel guilty for! I dont know how old you are, but it’s perfectly normal to explore relationships and all the while be looking for the ONE to marry and start a family with. It’s a process, enjoy yourself 🙂


    Thanks Lily. I think you’re bang on; everything that I’m experiencing right now in the dating world, the emotional ups and downs, the hormones, etc. it’s normal, it’s unavoidable, and so I just have to get used to it. It is a roller coaster, but getting off of it would simply mean I’d have to stop living all together.

    I do my best to postpone physical intimacy since I know myself and I know that I get attached when it happens. Sometimes, yes, I would just like to fool around, but at the same time, there has to be a romantic and intellectual connection in order for me to want to breach that barrier, which, once again, means that there’s going to be some sort of attachment. At this point in life, I know myself pretty well and so I don’t think that’s ever going to to change. 😉

    These posts have been tremendously helpful and I appreciate all of your input. Thank you.

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