Following the excitement of the UK Dating Awards, which showcased a number of the experts and matchmakers working in the UK Dating Industry, Meet the Expert is returning to 30 Dates, with regular guest posts from some of dating’s brightest and newest characters.
First up – dating coach and psychologist Madeleine Mason of Passionsmiths, with a dating education!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
Dating Careers Advice: The advice you never had
So you did your A-levels, and had a long hard think about what you wanted to be when you grew up, what kind of life you would like. What you never really did though was think about what kind of romantic life you wanted. You probably barely gave it a thought. It was given: you would meet someone, fall in love, get married and have kids. Just like in the movies. Easy.
Wrong. It is not given that you are simply meant to meet someone, fall in love etc. Although this sometimes happens, it’s more an exception to the rule. Similar to a careers advisor telling you that not everyone is cut out for uni life, I’m here to remind you that traditional married life is not for everybody.
Furthermore, it’s an illusion. Falling in love is not as easy as it is in fairy tales and the movies. Let’s look at those points in more detail.
The “traditional married life ‘career path’ is not for everyone”.
As a dating coach I often see people who strongly believe there is something wrong with them because they, for some reason or another, do not aspire to the traditional western model of romantic relationships. Some people don’t want marriage, others don’t want children, others want neither and so on. In fact in one of my seminars (Leaving Single Valley) one person in their forties was struggling to even get excited about settling down, yet felt they should. I asked them where they would rate themselves on a scale from 1- 10, where 10 is “you are ready to meet and marry someone tomorrow” and 1 is the opposite. The reply was 5. So, not really ready then.
It turned out that the idea of a committed relationship which involved living together, ’being joined at the hip’ and having kids was terrifying to them. So I asked what a 10 would look like. It was something akin to Helena Bonham-Carter and Tim Burton, married-but-living-in-separate-houses style. So we worked on that idea – What if you were to pursue that? What if you looked for someone with similar values?
A penny dropped. A face lit up. “Now THAT excites me” was the response.
My point is, we spend very little time thinking about what kind of relationship we want, and therefore don’t actively date to fit our genuine needs. We create dating obstacles for ourselves and beat ourselves up about not doing it the ‘Hollywood movie’ way. Our energy is wasted. We become miserable. And for those of us who do want the traditional relationship, we rarely consider how we go about achieving it. Not many people sit down and consider, in the same degree as you would your career, how to go about achieving what you want.
So what should you do?
Step into the Dating Careers Advisors office, and I will tell you!
- Write down all the significant relationships you’ve had in the past. Romantic and otherwise.
- List all the positive attributes about these people and the things that your enjoyed about each relationship.
- Highlight the themes that seem to trend.
- Create a new list picking out the highlighted themes.
- Make it more accurate by running the list past a friend.
- Tweek this list if necessary
Your new list will consist of attributes and values that are important to you. You have now created a compass for what you are looking for. This is your first step to being authentic in the ‘dating game’, and if you stick to it, you will find your dates become more meaningful and find yourself getting the type of relationship you really want.
It’s not too late. Take time out. Have a think about what you REALLY want, and why. You might be pleasantly surprised!
Madeleine Mason is a dating psychologist and director of PassionSmiths – a dating and relationship expert company. She is also Psychologies Magazine in-house dating expert on their blogging platform LifeLabs . She was shortlisted Dating Expert of the Year at the UK Dating Awards 2014 and is a member of the British Psychological Society.