In the last Berkshires Best issue I talked about Brief AKA Speed Dating. I discussed, as you may remember, possible things to talk about and ways to proceed, and promised to follow up with further thoughts about this popular dating phenomenon.
I will begin with an article that my husband emailed me from the Washington Post. Written Sept. 6, 2009 by Ellen McCarthy, the story is called: “It Hadn’t Been in my Realm of Possibility.”
“It was always among the first things Dan Powell wrote in e-mails to prospective dates -- that he was in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down.” (Powell became a paraplegic at 16 after breaking his neck in a football game.)
“’It's one of those things that shouldn't matter, but does," he explained. Just out of a ten-year relationship, Powell proceeded to have many first dates thanks to his on-line profile before he met Lori Coates online.
You can read this inspirational story yourself if you want to restore your faith in human nature. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/03/AR2009090304276.html?sub=AR) But I will give away the happy ending. About a year after meeting, Lori Coates, 36, married Dan Powell, 34.
It wasn't about what they looked like or what they could do, it was about who they were, down to their souls, says Coates's friend, Parker. For Coates, her husband’s disability was never a deal-breaker. She loves to laugh and he makes her laugh, says Parker. And he brought out this huge heart in her. It's been great to watch.
This leads me to an e-mail I received the other day from one of my clients. Don’t worry, I will get to Brief Dating. You ought to know, by now, that women often love to see connections.
I wanted to let you know that I think BLANK has swept me off my feet. Rather unexpected but each date just kept getting better and better. I have to thank you too because had I not followed your advice -- go on a few dates, not just one, and see how it goes-- I'm not sure this would have happened. And thank you for pushing me ever so slightly to consider someone a little older. It's amazing how well he communicates and he anticipates my questions before I even ask them.
And here is the last connection…I bumped into a woman in a store who thanked me too. But not because I had found her the right one. Instead because I had encouraged her to open her mind and heart and try to get rid of the some of the parameters I thought she had re her perspective mate which to me made no sense . She is now happily engaged to someone she would have otherwise ruled out.
These are among my favorite kind of thanks yous: being thanked for mind-opening experiences. So how does this all relate to Brief Dating or dating in general?
If you approach speed/brief dating with your head, this can indeed be a wonderful way to meet folks who have taken the trouble to show up somewhere.
But if you are focused on height, age or any other irrelevant particulars which seem all too important to people, then you might be at best sabotaging yourself and at worst either missing the boat entirely or ending up with a failed relationship.
William L. Wallace, Ph.D., a psychologist in Santa Monica, CA, who’s been counseling couples for the past 35 years, says:
“If you’re going to establish an enduring relationship, once the novelty and the infatuation wears off, then you must have a foundation of common value, common understanding, common goals, and common etiquette in a relationship.
Compatibility is key. If you don’t agree on at least 50% of issues like communication, personality, conflict resolution, time management, how you use your free time, financial management, and sexuality, Wallace says, you may be in for a rocky road.
“One of the problems is if you are basically functioning on passion, infatuation, and falling in love, then there’s not a lot of rationality going on and it’s like you’re on a roller coaster ride. As a general rule, the more compatible you are, the more likely you will have a successful relationship. One of the problems with couples is that they are often attracted and intrigued by opposites. Unfortunately, the opposite that was attractive to you from the onset becomes very grating later on in the relationship. ‘Opposites attract’ is not a good idea -- garbage attracts flies, that’s not a good connection.”
So try Brief Dating, for sure. Rule out the negative, angry, sad, boring folks and keep Lori Coates’ words close to your heart and mind:
“ It hadn’t been in my realm of possibility.”
Then maybe you too will thank your friendly matchmaker.
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