How to date authentically - Christian Connection dating advice

How to date authentically

Authenticity is the path to a healthy romantic relationship yet sometimes our fear of not being enough or our deep hunger for love stop us from showing up authentically on dates. Perhaps we are scared we’ll be rejected if we reveal our true selves. Maybe we’re afraid our date won’t want to see us again if we’re honest about what we’re looking for in a relationship. How can we instead date authentically and show up as our authentic selves?

If you can relate to these fears, here are some suggestions to support you to date authentically.

Choose a meeting place that you’re comfortable with

Your date begins long before you head out the door or jump on a video call and it’s important to show up authentically right from the start. When you’re arranging how, when and where to meet, suggest a time, place and activity that suits you and try to catch yourself if you’re about to agree to something that doesn’t feel right. For example, if your date proposes meeting for evening drinks and you don’t drink and would prefer an afternoon walk, speak your truth and ask for what you want.

Relationships require compromise and you may find a middle ground but make sure you are not compromising yourself entirely at this early stage by agreeing to something that isn’t right for you. If you cannot meet face-to-face, you may want to suggest that you play a game together on a video call or cook together or do another activity that’s in alignment with your authentic self.

Give yourself a pre-date pep talk

How to date authentically - Christian Connection dating adviceBefore you head out the door or begin your video call, check in with yourself. Do I feel enough? Do I believe that I am attractive, loveble and worthy of a healthy relationship? Am I happy in myself? On the surface, we may answer ‘Yes’ but what if we probe deep? I have met many people who struggle with low self-worth and who do not feel enough, and I am familiar with these feelings myself.

Many of us still carry self-esteem wounds from our childhoods – wounds that are connected to our first experiences of love; wounds that lie buried in our subconscious and show up at inopportune moments, telling us that we need to try harder to be accepted or that we will be rejected if we show up as our true selves.

So, before you go dating, instead of fretting about the outside stuff – what to wear or how your hair looks – spend some time exploring your inner world and shoring yourself up. Affirmations can help – I am enough; I am lovable. Prayer is also useful – ask God how He sees you. Journaling can be beneficial too – write down how you’re feeling and explore any early wounds on paper. Or try writing a letter to yourself, or to your younger self, telling yourself what you needed to hear when you were small and what you need to hear today to feel enough.

You deserve to give yourself the best chance of success when dating so make a date with yourself first.

Share your truth with confidence

You will have heard that rejection is God’s protection but do you go dating believing that’s true or do you go dating with the intention of avoiding rejection at all costs because you know it hurts? If the former, your dating experiences will be a lot more relaxed and will form the basis of a healthy relationship.

What might this look like in practice? Here are a few examples:

How to date authentically - Christian Connection dating adviceYou aren’t afraid to discuss your faith, to say you’d like a family, to say you don’t want children or to say you’d like to live by the sea. You are able to speak freely rather than choose words you think will please the other person and make you more acceptable.

One caveat here: it’s worth weighing up how much you share about yourself and your life in the early stages of dating. Trust is earned so we want to strike the right balance between being honest and revealing too much of ourselves to someone we barely know. We also want to be wary of trying to create an intensity that doesn’t exist by over-sharing intimate details.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, every now and then as you chat with your date, whether you are censoring yourself or avoiding topics because you’re afraid of rejection or whether you’re saying things that are designed to please. This is mindful dating. It’s about being aware of our motivations and being present to our emotions.

Confidently ask your questions

Every date is an opportunity to find out if you want another date with that person so don’t be afraid to ask pertinent questions and gather the information you need. If you find yourself avoiding a question because you think your date won’t like it or you think you won’t like the answer, find the courage to ask anyway. Also, don’t be afraid to disagree with your date. Being overly nice comes at a price and that price is an inauthentic relationship.

After your date, take a moment to review the experience. Did you show up authentically or did you hide some of yourself? Did you ask your questions or did you avoid certain topics?

Remember, dating is a learning experience and we improve our authentic dating skills with practice. Ask yourself if you’d do things differently next time and celebrate your success when you do show up as your true self.

How do you try to date authentically?

Enjoyed reading ‘How to date authentically’? Read more by Katherine Baldwin here

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