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Keeping a Realistic Attitude While Dating

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

It is also helpful to develop a realistic attitude about what you can expect from any given person you might date. Any given date is like a seed. A seed has potential to grow into a mature plant, but until that growth takes place, it is still a seed which may or may not germinate. A date is a fledgling relationship which may or may not grow into something reliable and trustworthy. Some people go into every date wanting it to quickly become a fully fledged, mature intimate relationship and end up getting their hopes dashed when most dates don't turn into anything special. The trick is to appreciate each date for what it is (a nice night out with someone who might become a friend and partner or might not) and not what it could or should be.

Experience suggests that the the average person you'll date will probably be perfectly nice, but will just not be right for you for one reason or another. Some dates will be painful and you'll want to leave early. Only a minority of dates will really work out well, and of those, only some of them will really have a future. Statistics on how many dates one must go on before they meet someone who works for them are hard to come by, but a figure of 1 in 20 or 30 might serve as a reasonable estimate. It is important to keep in mind that dating is a numbers game. You may get lucky and find a good match quickly, but then again, you might have to date for a while before that happens. You can realistically expect to strike out a number of times before you find what you are looking for. Knowing this can help you to relax and enjoy the process of striking out. Be practical as well as romantic. Roll with the crazy process of dating and don't let it get you down when things don't work out. Keep at it and keep positive and your chances of finding a compatible partner will improve.

The prospect of having to meet and date many different people before finding a workable relationship is exciting to some, and seems like a lot of work to others. Particularly when people view dating as a means of finding a committed relationship, dating can become a project requiring significant commitments of time and energy. It's helpful to understand this can be true at the beginning of the process so that you can decide whether it makes sense for you to be dating at this time in your life. If you are going through large life changes (loss of a job, family death, etc.) you may not have the time or energy necessary to properly focus on dating and might do well to postponing dating until things calm down.