Here is the path to save yourself from the most harmful dating mistake of all. As you learn the specific skills I teach in this episode, you’ll find yourself becoming more wise, more available for real intimacy, and much more likely to find wonderful romance. These are the dating wisdom-lessons that heal your life as they lead you to love.
Table of Contents
- The Magic of Online Dating Is the Curse of Online Dating
- Rewiring Your Sexual and Romantic Attractions
- Escape From Harmful Online Dating by Looking in the Middle Zone
- Imagining the Love You Want Saves You From Harmful Online Dating
Episode Introduction: Harmful Online Dating
In the last episode, I talked about what might be the greatest mistake we make in using online dating to find love. In this episode, I’m going to teach you what that is, and what you can do about it to dramatically speed and ease your own search for love, and grow deeply in wisdom at the same time. So stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the book Deeper Dating. And today I’m going to be talking about tools that you can use to help protect yourself against the biggest mistake that we are trained and taught to make in online dating.
This week and every week I’m going to share the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. And if you want to know more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com.
And if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn more about how to use these tools to deepen the intimacy in all aspects of your life as well as to speed and ease your search for love. You’ll also find complete transcripts of this and every episode on that website.
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In our last podcast we talked about what I think is maybe the greatest mistake that we can make in our online dating life and it’s one that we are sculpted to make and here’s what it is.
It’s when the joy, and the excitement and the dopamine rush of finding a new, exciting someone eclipses the work of looking for that right someone and then taking the time and the space to cultivate that.
Now that has two different parts to it. The first part is that in online dating it’s very easy to keep searching or to keep swiping and to do that quickly and to do it in a way that doesn’t allow us time to notice who’s there.
Also, what we tend to do when we do that is we just look for our kind of “scratch the itch” type, the people who excite us the most, and we are less likely to look at the people with whom potentially there could be a spark.
The Magic of Online Dating Is the Curse of Online Dating
But because they’re not as immediately exciting and because it takes work and because there are risks attached we just keep swiping or searching for that closer to what we want someone and don’t take the time to cultivate those people who might be in the middle range as opposed to the most absolutely exciting range.
So, all of the circuitry that is the courting circuitry, the circuitry where you get to know someone, you take the time. And when you do that just like in the old days of courting you wouldn’t just go toward immediately meeting. There would be somebody you would meet, maybe you would meet them at friends, maybe you’d meet them at a social activity, who knows where, but you would gradually get to know them.
And when we do that, and this is such an important point, these tendrils of connectedness, these ways that we become romantically drop by drop specialized in someone, the ways in which they start to feel like home, the ways in which we start to fantasize about them or have imaginings about them, or have warm moments with them.
All of which are these necessary steps to cultivate real intimacy except in those cases where we’re wild, freaking out, immediately intensely attracted. All of those steps that cultivate intimacy are bypassed. And that’s why it’s like the next chip syndrome you just want the next chip, and the next chip, and the next chip and you don’t really even take the time to taste the chips you’re eating after a certain point.
The magic of online dating is the curse of online dating and that is the wild number of possibilities that are out there and the excitement of so easily being able to find the next new.
Going Against the Grain
So by doing the work that we’re going to be talking about in this episode, because I’m going to give you in this episode keys to be able to go cross direction from what our culture teaches us to do.
It’s like really going against the grain it’s really going up a down escalator or down an up escalator, really riding against not only a cultural tendency but a technologically fueled tendency and shaped tendency that keeps us looking for the next, the next, the next. We’re going to be going against that grain. And when you do that you will know, “I’m doing the deeper intimacy work, I can feel it. I can feel the solidity in this, I can feel the slowness in this, I can feel the humanity in this and I know I’m doing something wiser.” And you will be doing something wiser and that is a great feeling. And I’m going to be talking in this episode about specific ways that you can make that happen.
Particularly I think the swiping apps are fiercely and compulsively addictive. You just swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe and you’re swiping left, you’re swiping left, you’re swiping left and who knows who you’re missing because it’s a quick, quick process and lots to say about that. But what I want to encourage you to do is to slow down.
Marianne Williamson said that,
“People don’t realize that life in the slow lane is really pretty fast.”
And I’m encouraging everybody to just move a little bit more away from the compulsive “next” tendency which is so seductive and toward a slower kind of process.
Two Distinct Circuitries
So, let’s start at the beginning with this. When you are searching or when you’re swiping the most important thing I believe, and this is what I teach in all dimensions of dating, is that you look for inspiration and you know the signs of deprivation. Because as I talk about often, we have two distinct circuitries. One circuitry is that a little touch, a spice of deprivation is very exciting.
We have a job to do, we have a hunt, there’s a hunt feeling with that. There’s a feeling that our self-esteem wounds are going to get met by these people, and so much of this is unconscious, are going to be met by those people who don’t automatically really, really like who we are or are judgemental, or superior, or unavailable. We want to chase that, that’s human instinct.
But we have another circuitry too, where we can be attracted to goodness, to beauty of character, to presentness and availability and it’s a different circuitry and it’s one that we need to develop a taste for.
Some of us know this automatically and naturally, and the people who do know this automatically and naturally are very, very frequently in good relationships. The rest of us have to learn it and we have to learn to rewire ourselves and that is very, very doable.
This is this hugely important thing that we do not get taught that we can gradually, over time, educate and rewire our romantic attractions. And the work that I teach here will make that happen for you.
Rewiring Your Sexual and Romantic Attractions
As you do this work, even just the work that we’re going to be talking about in this episode you will be, and you’ll feel it, rewiring your sexual and romantic attractions toward wisdom, away from pain, away from unavailability and that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing and I guess it’s the most beautiful because it will truly change your future.
So when you’re searching you look for inspiration and you find that in many different ways, but ways that you won’t notice unless you slow down. You look for a warm glow in someone’s face. You look for words in their profile that show a kind of extra level of honesty, an extra level of generosity, of love of life, of truth-telling, of whatever it is, the qualities that inspire you.
You slow down and you look for that in people’s faces and in their presentation. Now, unfortunately, we are all taught to do this presentation trick of being a little extra funny, a little extra slick, a little extra sexy, a little extra cool looking and those are all masks for our authenticity. So, sometimes very wonderful people don’t show that in their profile fully because it’s just not cool, so that’s another piece that we have to get through.
And in another episode we will talk about profiles and how to create a profile that really shows and reflects the real you, but for now when you’re searching or when you’re swiping take the time to look at profiles. Take the time to get a feel for someone’s face and not just sexiness and gorgeousness but quality.
The Most Important Thing
Hara Marano, the advice columnist for Psychology Today, who I interviewed on this podcast, said it best. She said,
“There are three things you need to look for, the first is character, the second is character, and the third is character.”
And I love that and I think it’s true. The way that I teach this in my coaching, and in my intensives and in this podcast is to say, to ask yourself, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” And to have that be your primary question.
Now obviously you’re not going to know that from one quick swipe and you’re not going to know that from one quick profile but when that becomes your primary question a few amazing things happen. One, you literally begin to rewire your attractions because research shows that someone who meets the goals that you have as most important will be both more noticeable and more attractive to you.
So over time, we begin to shift our attractions. Also, we activate our sense of discrimination. When that becomes your question and you can do this in online dating, it doesn’t happen necessarily right away, but when you do this you will be activating your discrimination. You’ll be noticing those things that don’t feel right, that feel slippery in somebody, or unhealthy, or dishonest or superior acting.
When you make that your question you will notice those things. Also, you’ll notice inspiration and that’s something we really need to do is develop an eye for inspiration. You’ll be with someone and you’ll say, “I feel a sense of warmth with this person. Yeah, this is strange. I feel a sense of safety with this person. I don’t know what that’s coming from but I sense that.”
Building Wisdom in Your Search for Love
And when that’s true, let’s say somebody who is not crazy attractive to you but there’s some spark, when you notice that you’re going to get somewhat more attracted to them and that’s the work of building wisdom into your search for love and you’ll feel it too. You will feel the development of wisdom as you do this which is a great thing.
So, here is another piece on that. When you do this, when you make this your question, you dignify your authentic self. There is a way, if you picture it, even if you picture it right now in your dating life thinking, “Does my soul feel safe?” And making that your paramount question.
Think about how that would make you feel differently, how you would date differently, how you’d feel inside differently. My image of that is like a straighter spine, a comfortably straighter spine. Because there’s a dignity and there’s an honoring the core of our authenticity.
And when you do that something else is going to happen, people who appreciate that will notice you more, people in general will respect you more because you will be creating a container that dignifies your soul in your search for love and the ripple effect of that is intangible but very, very real.
So here’s another one. Someone said to me that if you have a goal that’s really important to you, you need to assume that you’re going to have to budget time, money and commitment.
Escape From Harmful Online Dating by Looking in the Middle Zone
So, what I want to say to you is that it’s very easy to swipe. It’s very easy to search, it’s very easy to grab for the next chip, to look for the new next, the new excitement, the new conquest, the new match. What’s less easy is to look in the middle zone, people who there could be a spark with, to take the time to look for inspiration in their face, in their profile, if those things are there.
And then, there’s all this work attached to it and there’s all this risk attached to it. Because first you have to interact with that person. Second, that interaction might lead to some chatting and then it leads to a phone call so you have to allow time for a phone call which these days is something that’s not nothing. You have to allow time for a phone call, maybe for two phone calls.
Then you have to set up a date and then you have to cut time out of your schedule to make that date and then who knows what that date is going to be like. It could be really boring. The person could be really attracted to you and you’re not to them which is really awkward.
You could be attracted to them and they’re not interested in you which is painful and difficult. Or it could just be plain boring. Whatever it is though it’s something that needs to be budgeted for. And then there’s making dates and getting to know the person.
The Next Syndrome Seduction
So all of these things what I’m suggesting is that you take the time to say, “I’m going to budget for that extra time because it matters. It matters hugely because this is about my happiness, this is about my future.”
Folks, this deserves your precious attention maybe almost more than anything else and the research shows that the quality of our spousal relationship affects the quality of our life more than just about anything else. So what else deserves the treasure of your time as much as that? And God knows our time is a treasure.
Here’s another thing too that’s really interesting is that so many of us think, “Yeah, well conceptually it’s important but clearing out space in our schedule that’s a harder thing to do.” So, we don’t really clear out the time in our schedule.
We see people online, we swipe and maybe we’re interested, maybe it’s a match or we see their profile and we maybe respond to them or maybe we don’t, because there’s someone who might be easier, and quicker and sexier down the road, just right around the corner.
But let’s say we do see someone who’s somewhat interesting, not like rip your heart out thrill because those people we will take the time with but someone who might be more mid-level but it feels like there’s potential. So we say, “I’ll do that later because I don’t really have time.” Because we haven’t budgeted the time for that.
“So I only have a few minutes so I’m going to keep swiping, I’m going to keep searching.” And so, what happens is because we don’t have the time we are again in a new way seduced into the “next” syndrome – next, next, next, next, next.
What Will Help You to Stay Aligned With Yourself
Because it’s exciting, it’s quick and because we don’t really have the time for more. So there you are in this strange world of online dating, this world in which there is a vast, vast, vast number of possibilities, but also people behave badly. That’s something we’ll be talking about more at a later point. But it’s a crazy, crazy world and it’s one that sucks us in in so many ways.
Again, we’re just talking about this one aspect of the speed and the “next” syndrome so we’re just talking about that for now. But what will help you to stay aligned with yourself in this hugely unaligned and compulsive and wild west kind of world of online dating? Well, I’m going to offer two more thoughts before we close.
The first is the Inner Mentor Process™ which I do every day and I encourage all of my clients and intensive members to do it as well and it’s just one of the sweetest processes I know. So we’re going to do it right now. And it’s going to be around your online dating life and it’s going to be about your next wisdom step and you’re going to generate that from your own inner wisdom.
So what I’d like you to do is picture now a you who is living in intention, a you who is dating from that place of, “Does my soul feel safe?” A you who allows for the time of deeper connection, a you who does this in a sober, wise, powerful way. This is a you who knows what matters. This is a you who is available to love, to your own heart, to your own journey, to the things that matter most to you.
Imagining the Love You Want Saves You From Harmful Online Dating
This is a you that is less distracted and you don’t have to be this you. I just want you to imagine this you. It’s like a you who’s full of wisdom, and full of love and really grounded. It’s like the you you’re meant to be. It’s like the you that you aspire to become.
So you don’t have to earn that but just imagine that you. Imagine what that person’s face looks like, and what it’s like to live inside that being – this fabulous you that you were born to be, that you were meant to be. This is a you that would handle online dating with grace, with wisdom, with strength, with clarity, with presentness, with warmth, with the things that matter the most.
So picture that you and now I just want you to jump in and imagine you ARE that you. Which in one way you don’t have to earn it it’s just an imagination but in another way you know it because that’s you, it’s you. So you step in that flow of this fabulous essence of you that you’re meant to be, and from this place you look at the you of today who is struggling with online dating.
From this fabulous place of being so connected to yourself, what’s the wisdom that you want to share? The guidance that you want to call out to the you of today? One piece of wisdom for their online dating experience that’s going to help them do this better? Take a minute.
Now this is not that you think, “Well what would that me say?” This is like you jump into that you which is a fabulous feeling, and from that place you craft the words.
Living Out Your Intentions
What do you most want to say? And see what that is. Well, whatever that is and if nothing came up now it may come up later and that is pure wisdom from your inner self.
And I encourage you to take a post it and write it on there and maybe put it on your screen or use one of those virtual post-its but, do something so that you can follow that piece of wisdom and make that your intention.
And that’s the second other tool that I want to give you is every time you jump in to online dating try to remember your intention. Maybe the intention is going to be “slow down”. Maybe it’s going to be, “Does my soul feel safe?” Maybe it’s going to be, “I’m looking for inspiration.” Maybe it’s going to be, “I’m taking the time.” Whatever it is what’s your next wisdom step? And maybe it’s what your inner mentor just told you.
When you make that your intention in your online dating life it changes things because then your goal is not just to find the right match, your goal is to grow and become the person that you want to be which changes everything and matters most of all.
So, that when you do online dating that you actually have a wisdom intention, whatever that is, whatever that wisdom intention is, and you hold that in the mark of your success in each particular time that you dip in to the world of online dating that becomes the mark of your success.
Moving Closer to Your Inner Mentor
Now, we’re not taught these beautiful things but as you do this you will feel wiser, you will like yourself more, your results will change, and that’s a really fabulous thing. And you will move closer to being that person you just imagined, your inner mentor.
So try these processes. Go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and let me know your experience with them. You can actually leave them, there’s a microphone icon under Ask Ken and you can leave them on that microphone or recording which I could either play, or not play, but get back to you in the podcast. So try these exercises.
Consider making this shift away from the way that we’re sculpted and trained and toward intimacy with ourselves and I’m telling you, you will speed the process to finding healthy, real love as you do this. That’s pretty much a promise. You will speed the process to self-love and to finding healthy love and those are good and great things.
So thank you for listening and if you like what you heard please do subscribe and leave a review. That’d be a great gift to me. It was wonderful to get to share these ideas with you and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast. Thank you.