Dating Advice: The 5 P's Chemistry / May 24th 2019  at 08:01PM   /   0

I was recently asked to do an interview about a "back to basics" approach to dating. Important stuff to be sure, just not exactly what my dating coaching is about (which is less for how to get a date than what to do once you're on one). In composing my talking points I ended up with this list of big picture principles and advice I frequently give out and firmly believe in. And since I don't think it's what the show wants or will use in our interview, I've turned my notes into a blog post for you.

I'll probably tweak this down the road if I ever find time. Number 2 alone is complex enough to deserve its own post (and really, a 2-3 volume set of books). Number 3 is actually integral to my current coaching practice, albeit one piece of a multidimensional puzzle. And #4 is so important it's the main theme of my next book, which I'd started writing earlier this year before getting sidetracked with 2 other time-consuming creative projects. 

Anyway, the 5 P's are Perception, Polarity, Participate, Polish, and Presence. I summarize the first 4 below (the 5th is self-explanatory). 

  1. Change your perception of what dating is / is for
  2. Understand "polarity" as the spark/fuel for attraction, chemistry, passion
  3. Participate in the process through self-awareness & communication
  4. allow the dating process to polish you into a better version of yourself
  5. Be present, enjoy your date for who they are (not the role you're trying to fit them in)

1. Change your perception of what dating is / is for 
Most people approach dating like a treasure hunt, searching for someone to make them complete or fill a hole in their life. In fact, dating is best viewed as an inner archeological dig...a process of self-discovery more than a life-mate search. Certainly dating will increase the odds of meeting "the one" but the real magic of dating is what we learn about ourselves through it:

  • what works for us and what doesn't, personality types, preferred activities, level of commitment, etc.
  • what we really want & need (versus what we thought we did or were told we should)
  • what are our own strengths and weaknesses, what do we bring to the table and (more importantly) what traits or flaws should we be working on 

2. Understand "polarity"
Think of attraction between people like the attraction of magnets. The charges must complement each other, but instead of the positive/negative pull of magnets, with couples it's all about masculine/feminine energy, which is not the same as male/female or man/woman. It's a yin/yang thing. 

Masculine energy is assertive, strong, outwardly-focused, and achievement oriented. Feminine energy is receptive, nurturing, heart-centered, and romantic. To have polarity means to have a inversely proportionate ratios. Like if one person is roughly 80% yang (masculine) and his (or her) partner is 80% yin (feminine) that can create a strong spark and intensely passionate connection. Problems arise (meaning no attraction is felt) when those energies are imbalanced (they both express 80% masculine energy, for example). Then the charge is lost and there's no heat in the relationship (no passion, no sexual chemistry). 

Men these days are learning to be more sensitive to women's needs, attuned and empathetic, even nurturing. It's great that men are embracing their yin energy. Here's the problem: women who are mostly/primarily in their feminine energy need to see some solidly complementary masculine energy in their date, or they won't be strongly attracted. I always tell my male clients to tap into their masculine energy when first courting a woman. In time, as the relationship builds, their yin energy can come out more, but in the beginning he must express more of his assertive, proactive, confident, achievement oriented self. Women want empathetic, romantic, nurturing men, but she needs to be turned on first by his masculine side so she knows it's really there.

Here's the flip-side. Women these days are finally finding their empowerment. They're stepping into their yang energy more (which again, is great!) However, when they fail to attract the men they want, they say those men are "threatened" by strong women and that's not at all the problem. The real problem is that women have stepped so far into their yang energy they've lost touch with their yin. They need to know they can be fierce in their careers and personal conflicts, while also being heart-centered, attentive, attuned, and authentically vulnerable in relationship...especially when first dating! Now, there are yin-centric men who love fierce strong women, but those men are in the minority and most women aren't "into"  them anyway (though they should be, because yin centric men are romantic, tender, and attuned in relationship, but often wildly assertive/passionate/yang-centric in bed.)

3. Participate in the process
This is the most vital advice I have:  Dating is not a right, it's a privilege for mature adults who've done the work and know their wants, needs, and deal-breakers, as well as how to communicate them. If you're incapable of speaking up and saying "not yet," "let's slow down," "Can we talk about how I'm feeling," "I'm nervous/scared/confused/ambivalent and need to step back for a minute," you're not ready to date yet. Until you are, it's unfair to make someone else responsible for your decisions and behavior. Besides, there's no shame in waiting to date until you've had some therapy or coaching.

If you do know your wants and needs, you should also know what you don't know, meaning where are you flexible and open to possibilities. For example:

  • Are you willing to date a single parent? What if you start to feel stingy about their time and neglected when they're with their kids?
  • How important to you is monogamy? Have you told yourself you want to play the field but deep down you crave commitment?
  • Do you have specific desires you're uncomfortable asking for? What if your partner does? How open are you to something new? 

4. Get polished into a better version of yourself
Dating is like a practice field where we learn to take risks and become more open. We practice speaking from our hearts, being authentic, communicating our needs, getting rejected, and finding courage to do it all over again. In that process we'll get triggered. Our shortcomings will come out, which is exactly what dating is supposed to do! Because when they come out we have the chance to work on them and improve ourselves. For example:

  • When your date is chronically late and your childhood abandonment issues are triggered, do you hold grudges or lash out? Can you practice diplomacy? Set boundaries without emasculation? 
  • Are you wildly romantic at first, only to lose interest once the chase is won? Might that indicate attachment issues that a therapist could help you work out? 
  • Have you been called thoughtless in the past, and is it happening again? Can you practice empathy in those moments? Can you even ask your date to help you understand them better?
  • Can you sit with the discomfort of letting someone really see you to your core? If not, are you willing to throw yourself into the dating scene in order to practice, practice, practice!

When we really pay attention, and learn and grow from every connection, we come closer and closer to being the best possible partner we can be. With luck (and coaching) it happens before we stumble upon our ideal mate in line at the post office someday.

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