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I don’t care how good you are, how honest, or how noble. The real problem is that you’re postponing, sacrificing the date that’s happening now on the altar of potential future partnership. Everything frustrating, discouraging, and disappointing about dating comes from this future-orientation. You don’t need to organize your dates around a possible future. As a result, they can feel what’s beautiful about you. Creating intimacy is a skill you can get better and better at. Something about the way they move through the world, or something they can see that you can’t. And you’re never going to squeeze magic out of a checklist. You’re really dating for the magic, but you’ve learned to play games to get yourself a partner, and every bit of game playing shuts the magic tap off a little tighter. You start off by letting yourself be taken by their unique beauty. In turn, you do your best to let the other person see you. You didn’t postpone anything in service of some potential future. Deep Dating is the art of creating intimacy right now, today, on this date.The “only date” rule is the spiritual foundation of Deep Dating. The more you can thwart the normal process of building expectations about the future, the more present you can be. Instead of grasping to reach a goal, you’re surrendering to the process. We are ashamed of our struggles, our limitations, and our imperfections, and we fear that if people knew what we were really like on the inside, they wouldn’t want us. We think we have to stop being our real selves to get people to like us. Do they light up, contract slightly, take a deep breath, turn slightly to the side?You have to trust that somehow you’ll get what you need, that you won’t be alone, that you’ll be fulfilled. But the future was never under your control anyway. Figure out what they seem to want, and give it to them. Act like the person you think they want to be close with, and keep acting. Sometimes your fears come true, and someone, in fact, doesn’t want you. Sometimes, however, you show someone everything, and they still think you’re groovy. If you’re paying attention, you know whether to warmly embrace them in response, or to jettison the hug in favor of a hand briefly clasping their shoulder. Then you even respond to how they respond to your response.
That’s the basic pattern of how most of us move from dating to partnership. You can Deep Date someone over time, but when you treat each date as a self-contained experience, as if your entire relationship is happening here and now in this one date, you move through a different progression. Any time you reveal your motivations, you’re choosing realness over performance. Realness, however, is only half of the intimacy equation.They expect the date to go somewhere you don’t want to go, and you don’t want to lead them on.