What does it mean to you to be in a relationship?
Being comfortable with someone. Growing together. Having company during the quiet times.
Feeling adored no matter what. Having a buddy to figure out life with. Knowing that someone’s got your back.
The ideal relationship is different for everyone.
I remember when I first started dating, I wanted to be like my friends that had been together for ages.
I wanted that ease of being and deep love and respect.
What I didn’t realise back then, was that those type of relationships, those comfort levels, don’t just happen magically.
They’re not handed to you on a plate in some sort of relationship lotto.
There’s a lot of behind closed doors work that we don’t see in the fairy tales or the Hollywood films.
Like anything worth having, good relationships take hard work, dedication, copious amounts of communication, patience and time.
When you’re single, it’s easy to day dream about the end game and want to skip the hard part.
But like most things in life, that’s not possible.
If you want a degree, you’ve got to start showing up at uni and do years of study.
If you want to run a marathon, you’ve got to start doing laps and keep building your stamina.
If you want a successful business, you’ve got to build it from the ground up.
If you want to grow old with someone, you’ve got to date for a little while, and go through some tough times.
In fact, even before you start dating, you’ve got to get a few things sorted.
Start with YOU!
Before you even think about dating, you need to figure out the sort of relationship you want.
This alone can be tough.
It takes self reflection, trial and error and enough self esteem to trust that you deserve to get what you want.
Only once you've figured out what it is you want, can the fun part start.
That's right, I said it....
Dating is the fun part!
Meeting new people. Getting to know them. Doing activities. Flirting with them. Wondering if it’s going to go somewhere...
Getting all the butterflies! - I could go on!
But, I’d be doing you a dis-service if I didn’t warn you about what comes next.
The falling in love part.
Falling in love is scary.
To fall in love you have to let your guard down.
You have to trust someone with your secrets.
You have to be patient with them while they figure out where you fit in their lives.
You have to endure having your feelings hurt when things don’t go to plan.
To be honest, falling in love can be a bit of a drag.
In fact, I can see why so many women stay on the dating scene. It's way more appealing!
It takes bravery to sit in the discomfort of a new relationship.
It’s nowhere near as fun as dating, but if a relationship is what you’re after, you can’t skip it.
You need to learn how to relax around another person, and learn how to provide a safe space for them to relax around you.
You need to take a risk and see what happens when you stop putting your best foot forward.
You need to learn about another person’s cracks and decide if they’re endearing or deal breakers.
You need to continue to communicate your standards and expectations.
Sometimes it can feel like two steps forward and one step backwards.
But it's totally worth it.
You can build the relationship of your dreams, and it will be everything you've hoped for.
But, settling into that comfortable place where you know how to intuitively be together can take years.
Now, I don’t want to scare you, or take the fun out of your day dreams.
I just want to remind you that this dating phase you’re in right now:
So you should enjoy it, and make the most of it.
By getting better at dating, screening and flirting, you’re laying good foundations for the falling in love part.
Foundations are just that though, it’s only the ground work.
At some point, you will need to be brave and choose to move into the next uncomfortable phase where you risk getting hurt.
Are you brave enough to let yourself fall in love?
P.S. If you’re in dire need of a new perspective on dating. Hit pause for a minute and download our Dating Detox Guide.
It might just help get your head in the game. Download it here.