Conscious dating is about being more mindful in your partner choices, and it will be this week’s topic on my show.  I see people increasingly adopting this approach to dating, and maybe this is one of the benefits of divorce having become so mainstream.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, divorce sucks and it can take a while to recover from its aftermath.  As a result, more individuals are taking the time on the front-end to figure out what’s going to be a good fit, and lots of dating websites are encouraging this approach by making you sit down and figure out your “must haves” and “can’t stands.”

Identifying your needs and non-negotiables is a great first step, but actually there is a more in depth self-analysis that one must go through if you are going to really embark in conscious dating.  You have to get rid of certain false assumptions, like the notion that anyone over 40 that’s never been married must be a commitment phobe.  You need to suspend judgments and go in with an open mind if you want to maximize your dating experiences.  Furthermore, you should look at past patterns, which are a great indication of your attachment style.  The more aware you are of your own issues, the greater your ability to change unwanted behaviors.  As my guest, Shari Pfeffer will explain in greater detail, it is about calming that inner child within us.

It is funny (not in a ha-ha way) when you get to the point where you see someone’s inner child surface and when you can start to see your own triggers.  The irony of course is that only those closest to us bring out both the best and worst in us, and that is why the true test to a viable relationship is whether you can live with that person’s good, bad and ugly.  And again just to be totally candid, there is a lot of ugly out there, so what you need to ask yourself is how much can you tolerate?

We all have baggage, so the key is finding someone with compatible baggage. The only real way to find out if you will be a good fit with another is over time, and by being totally honest.  Guys are usually quite open about where they are in a situation– most of my male friends have no problem telling someone that they just got divorced or broke off a long-term relationship and don’t want anything serious.  Plenty will tell you that they have a real issue with scheduling, and they prefer spontaneous get togethers.  All the ones I know that don’t want marriage or more kids are excellent about saying that upfront.  So what is the problem?  Most girls just don’t listen– either they only hear what they want to hear or they are deluding themselves into thinking they will change the guy.  That never works.

In the end, conscious dating is about being real.  Of course, to do that, you first have to be honest with yourself, and many have a hard time just with that, which explains why there is so much confusion out there in the dating game.  Cutting through all the layers of crap is not always easy, but if you can find your own center you will find it so much easier to take the rest in stride.  Try to stay true to yourself, and the rest will all work out just fine.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.