If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how to get comfortable with uncertainty (or be anxious 24/7). Yet we are hardwired to resist the unknown, especially when it comes to dating. In this blog, we’ll learn how to use uncertainty to stop serial-dating and find lasting love.
Something I often hear from coaching clients is the need to know for sure they’ve chosen the right person before they can commit. Rather than face living with uncertainty, many people shut down the chance of finding love completely – which is a tragedy!
We worry, “Is this person going to be good for me?”, and “Am I ‘good enough’ for them to love me?”
Our need for certainty is understandable and a highly developed survival mechanism. Of course we want to protect our hearts, but uncertainty is actually where we can find more joy and happiness in our relationships.
How do we learn how to surrender control to trust and faith? What’s the best way to deal with uncertainty in our love lives?
Learn how to use uncertainty to find lasting love
- Question your assumptions
Many people project their fears into the future, which by definition is unknown. Notice what you habitually fill in that space with – doubts, fear, anxieties?
The truth is, there are no guarantees in life. Yet in dating, a lot of people want exactly that.
I hear versions of the same things from my clients, such as:
- “I need to know they’re ‘the one’ before I invest myself emotionally.”
- “I need assurances they’re not going to be like my ex.”
- “What if my soulmate is out there and I miss them because I chose the wrong person?”
- “What if I fall for them and then I get my heart broken?”
- “I can’t cope if this relationship ends up in divorce like my parents did”
Recognise that you really don’t know what will happen in the future.
A simple but profound way to practice quieting your anxiety is to add “but I really I don’t know” to every prediction of the future.
The phrase “But I really don’t know” challenges the seeming truth behind the anxiety and allows us to question tightly-held ideas.
Practice saying “but I really don’t know” and instead focus on the present moment – are you having a great time dating this person? That’s really all you need to know.
- Focus on what you can control
Anxieties and fears are us projecting into some unknown future. Yet, when you shift your focus to what you can control, you start to regain your power.
Things you can control when you’re dating include:
- How much you share about yourself and when (too much, too soon can progress things too quickly)
- How quickly you become sexually intimate
- How much time you spend thinking about the person (dwelling on fears and expectations can rob your objectivity)
- Keeping up with your own life, hobbies, friends so you don’t lose yourself
Slowing down has so many benefits in dating, not least so you don’t feel like you’re on a runaway train. Take control of what you can, then leave the rest so the magic can happen.
- Give instead of get
Uncertainty is actually a predictable stage of dating and one that doesn’t mean that you haven’t found the right person yet.
Even though you’re dating someone great, you might start to question whether you want to pursue the relationship. You might worry that they’re not, “The One” and find yourself looking at other people, projecting fantasies onto them to make them more appealing than the real, beautiful human in front of you.
Rather than looking outwards to where the grass seems to be greener, uncertainty means we need to look within.
Instead of questioning if this person is right for you, ask instead:
Could I be the right person for them?
Do I care for this person?
Do I want to make them happy?
Does their happiness make me happy?
Do I miss them when we are apart?
Without accepting that uncertainty is predictable, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of serial relationships when you reach this stage. Move through uncertainty by flipping your focus to see the best in the person you’re dating instead of looking for ways it could go wrong.
Remember, the past is gone, the future is an illusion and the only thing we can really control is ourselves in this moment: our actions, reactions and choices we make today.